What’s in a Name
Stories vary about how the Hex River Valley got its name, one that it comes from the
Exe River. The other explanation is spooky, as ‘hex’ means ‘witch’ or ‘spell’ and involves a tale woven around the bewitchingly beautiful Eliza Meiring who lived on a farm at Buffelskraal in the Hex River Valley.
In order to rid herself of the attentions of suitors, she challenged them to pick her a scarlet disa bloom (Disa uniflora) from its habitat on the Matroosberg mountain which, at 2 249m, is the highest peak in the Western Cape. Sad to say, her favourite swain fell to his death in his attempt to pluck the flower as a surprise for her.
Eliza was so traumatised that she went mad and was shut away by her family in an attic on the farm, and fell to her death in 1768 while attempting to escape. The young women of the valley – jealous of her beauty, branded Eliza a witch and she was said to haunt the place.
Recently a medium claimed to have made contact with Eliza’s spirit, who explained she could not rest in her grave as the real truth was that her father had pushed her from the attic window. The fact remains that the valley’s original name was Exe, and has never been changed officially, but the word ‘Hex’ continues to haunt it.