History of Stonehaven and the Hemel en Aarde Valley
Insight into the history of the Hemel en Aarde Valley:
Over the last couple of decades, the Hemel en Aarde Valley has become most famous for its wines. But from 1817 to 1846 it was home to a Leper colony. The farm was then called Attakwaskloof and belonged to a widow, Susan Niemand who also suffered from Leprosy. Attaquaskloof was the home of the Attaqua Koi Tribe. The settlement started in 1817 and then eventually a hospital was built for 120 Lepers by the English government.
None of the patients were there voluntarily but were forced to be there because of their illness. About 400 Lepers are said to be buried in the valley and in 1846 the remaining patients were moved to Robben Island.
Today there is no trace of the Leper Colony buildings. It has been said that the farmers of Vrede, where the colony was based, feared that leprosy was still contagious and destroyed all the buildings. Only a heap of stones show the spot where the colony used to be.
To reach the Hemel en Aarde Valley you take the N2 from Cape Town before joining the R44 at Gordon’s Bay. This coastal route is definitely one of the most scenic and beautiful drives in the world, passing by coastal villages and driving through the Hottentots-Holland mountains and protected fynbos. When visiting the Hemel en Aarde Valley, why not break up your trip with a delicious meal from one of our favorite restaurants nearby!