Heks (or hex) is Afrikaans for Witch.
The Hex River Valley is surrounded by high mountains, the highest peak of which is the Matroosberg. Locals have said for years that the ghost of one Eliza Meiring can be seen wandering in a white nightgown on the lower crags of the Matroosberg, wailing. Needless to say, Elize has been dead for many years. She is known locally as the 'heks of Hex River Valley'.
The story goes that that Elize, a young and beautiful woman who lived with her parents on a farmstead in the valley, sent her suitor to prove his love by bringing her a red disa (flower) that grew high in the mountains. She did this, they say, as she was rather vain and enjoyed the power she held over the many men who wanted to marry her. This chap, who may or may not have been called Frans (history is a little murky on that detail) made it up the mountain but fell to his death, clutching the disa.
On hearing this, Eliza became mentally unstable in her grief and her parents were forced to lock her up to prevent her doing herself any harm. During this time she carved her name and the year in the wooden window ledge of the room where she was locked - "Eliza 1868."
One night she managed to escape however and went along the same path as her beloved where she too fell to her death - and this is where her ghost can now be seen on nights when the moon is high and bright, still wearing her white nightdress and roaming about the cliffs in eternal mourning and regret.
A few decades ago the old farmstead was demolished but until that time, Eliza's name and the date could still be seen on that window ledge...
|Rainy day in the Hex River Valley - Steve Crane. CC Licence|
About the Hex River Mountains and Valley
The Hex River Mountains make up the second highest mountain range in the Western Cape province of South Africa and are located 120km north-east of Cape Town. They are mostly composed of Table Mountain sandstone and most peaks reach 2000m in height or more. The highest mountain is Matroosberg at 2249 m, making it the second tallest peak in the province after Seweweekspoort Peak in the Swartberg Mountain Range.