Cultivating a sweeter side to life in a forgotten valley

 
 
 

A forgotten valley lies just beyond the hills of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. Hidden between vast peaks, Bossiesveld is the Western Cape’s best-kept secret. Horses and cows graze on rolling pastures. The scent of blossoms and apple orchards fills the air as fruit ripen. Life is a little sweeter this side of the world. It’s why Max Schumacher returned after years abroad.

Having lived a dynamic life on film sets around the world, he reached a point where he’d had enough of the industry. The simple days of his youth called him home. Schumacher remembered his childhood in Bossiesveld, where he spent his time cycling and hiking, immersing himself in the natural surrounds. “Me, my brothers and my dad would go in an old pick up to the dam and fish and swim,” Schumacher says. It was pure bliss. So he returned to the place he loved, and committed himself to cultivating the valley. He has since grown Pendennis Farm from the ground up, sharing the unadulterated countryside with others. Here, visitors can experience the secluded and captivating landscape.

No day is the same in the valley, located just outside of Villiersdorp. The farmland presents Schumacher with his own challenges, from water shortages to environmental change. He relishes being there nonetheless. “Every time I leave the city to come here, I instantly relax,” Schumacher says. As he walks through the fields, taking his dogs Bella, Franky, and Mellie for a quick dip in the dam, the present is all that matters. When we venture off the beaten track, we can find places that connect us to a more fulfilling life.