Tesselaarsdal (Teslaarsdal) loop eBiking Route

If you search for Tesselaarsdal (or Teslaarsdal) on Google you’ll have to dig deep to find anything relevant about this tiny village, set amongst the Overberg wheat and canola fields. In reality it’s not really a village - more a collections of houses and small holdings, a store or two and De Poskantoor Restaurant. It’s situated north east of Stanford, over the Kleinrivier Mountains that run along the coast in this part of the world.

There are some spectacular views on the ride - those are the Riviersonderend Mountains in the distance.

There are some spectacular views on the ride - those are the Riviersonderend Mountains in the distance.

The area around Tesselaarsdal is very beautiful, being a kind of offshoot of the Hemel en Aarde Valley so famous for its scenery and superb wines. (Think Hamilton Russel, Bouchard Finlayson, Domaine des Dieux and Creation Wines to name just a few awesome vineyards). As you ride along the wide gravel roads the views to the north across the straw coloured fields towards the Riviersonderend Mountains in the far distance are just wonderful. To the south, right there, are the fynbos covered Kleinrivier Mountains.

Tesselaarsdal’s history is full of intrigue, property deals (some that have gone bad), childless couples, slaves, freed slaves and wrecked ships - enough to make any soap opera riveting. Originally known as Hartebeesrivier it seems that the farm (and one nearby called Steenboksrivier) were, in 1781, given to one, Johannes Jacobus Tesselaar, a captain in the Cape Calvary as “payment”. What the payment was for is not clear. A few years earlier in 1775 he had married Alida van der Heyde, but they were unfortunately unable to have children. He died in 1810 and Alida (by this stage quite wealthy) continued farming until her death in 1832, when she bequeathed Hartebeesrivier to 9 servants and their offspring. There is very little proof of this - just verbal accounts passed down through the generations. (Update: It seems that much research has been done on the subject and a book called Tesselaarsdal - A bend in the Road has been published by Annalize Mouton. Available at De Postkantoor Cafe or directly from Annalize). Ownership disputes continue to this day and at some stage the name was changed to Teslaarsdal by the Post Office to avoid confusion with a Hartebeesrivier elsewhere.

Lots of wide smooth gravel and few cars make for nice easy riding.

Lots of wide smooth gravel and few cars make for nice easy riding.

But, what’s the riding like? Actually very good. We parked at Shabach Farm (home of Naomi Müller, horse breeder, trainer and endurance rider) some 10km to the west of the town. She does have accommodation available, which makes a pretty convenient base. Having spent much time on Tracks4Africa maps and Google Earth, we had decided on a short 27km ride initially. After leaving Shabach we turned right onto the main road and soon right again onto the minor road that takes you to Tesselaarsdal. There’s a bit of a climb but the road is good and it winds through vineyards and olive groves and some lovely scenery.

Shabach Farm - home to endurance horse riding.

Shabach Farm - home to endurance horse riding.

We followed a figure eight route that took us past De Postkantoor Cafe (worth a stop to stock up the energy reserves) and then out past the wheat and canola fields, now brown and dry. It may very well be worth scheduling a ride in early August when the canola is flowering - would be just awesome. There are a bunch of other rides in the area (including 3 routes that take you up into the mountains) and we’ll document these as we ride them.

Alas, De Postkantoor Cafe was closed on the day we rode (it was Christmas Day) but it's understood that they serve fine fare.

Alas, De Postkantoor Cafe was closed on the day we rode (it was Christmas Day) but it's understood that they serve fine fare.

Route Distance: 27km

Route conditions: Wonderful country gravel roads with a few minor climbs. Occasionally some loose gravel that needs a little caution but nothing to worry about.

Accommodation:

Mitzvah Pet Friendly Cottage

Facebook: 

https://web.facebook.com/mitzvahselfcateringcottage

Phone +27 (64) 065 7638 or +27 (71) 991 2137

Shabach Farm:

Web site: http://www.shabachstud.co.za

Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/febtGm65dAuVCS498

GPS: -34° 21.009'S 19° 29.963'E

Heilfontein Country Escape

Web Site: https://heilfontein.co.za

Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/T8m16Fq829999LS36

Download the GPS track for the Tesselaarsdal Loop ride here.

Check out the Strava Route here.

The route we followed around Tesselaarsdal. (Courtesy of Tracks4Africa Maps)

The route we followed around Tesselaarsdal. (Courtesy of Tracks4Africa Maps)