Elim in the Western Cape

Elim in the Western Cape

Our Cape holiday :  Oct/Nov 2017

While visiting our friend Ray in Hartenbos, he invited friends for a braai/barbeque on the Sunday.   We discussed our route down to Hermanus the following day, and it was suggested we take the road from Swellendam to Bredasdorp, thereafter take the road through Elim and Gaansbaai, (missing out a stop at Cape Agulhas which we have visited a number of years ago).  Apparently the road from Bredasdorp used to be gravel.   It’s now a fabulous tarred road with very little traffic, according to Ray’s friends, who are all bikers 🙂  .. and they suggested stopping at Elim to take photos of old fishermen’s cottages

So .. that’s what we did.

Whizzing through canola and wheat fields in the Swellendam/Bredasdorp area (pics taken through closed window and windscreen)

We could have done better with our choice of restaurants for a bite to eat in Bredasdorp.  Stopping at the first place one comes across isn’t the best idea!

Food not great but I should have bought a jar or two of homemade jams and preserves …  

I googled Elim on the way to find out more about it, but the info I read wasn’t in depth.  I have since read more and found it rather interesting.  The entire village of Elim is a National Heritage Site.

It is the 3rd Moravian Mission station in the Cape, the first being Genadendal in 1737 and which we happen to also come across on our way to Greyton a few days later.

Biblically, Elim is the ‘place the Israelites rested after crossing the Red Sea. It was a place of cooling waters and palm trees.  Exodus 15:27.’   It was founded in 1824 by German missionaries who valued the ‘isolated location for it’s peaceful atmosphere and lack of worldly distractions’.    The location was also ideal for setting up a mission station due to the abundance of water and the terrain was suitable for planting vines so that wine for communion could be produced !   Makes sense 😉

We passed four wine estates, Black Oystercatcher, the Berrio,  Zoetendal and First Sighting.  The latter is a wine I have bought from time to time.

Elim is well-known for it’s export of fynbos as well as it’s neat rows of white-washed cottages, most date back to the 19th century, made of mud brick, plastered with lime plaster made from sea shells and thatched with restio grass (Cape reed).  The more modern cottages have brightly painted walls and corrugated iron roofs.

I felt I was intruding on their lives by taking photographs, making sure I didn’t capture the people standing or sitting outside their houses

We had to smile at the satellite dishes 🙂

We drove up a few side roads, taking pics from the car …

A 235 year old clock still keeping the exact time, is on the white-washed gabled church.  And what a pity I hadn’t read about a well preserved water mill built in 1833, renovated in 1990, and is the ‘largest wooden wheel in South Africa and still serves to ground wheat.’  It’s probably located on the other side of the church where there is a river beyond a row of houses.   There was a tour bus in parking dedicated to buses and I wondered where the tourists were ….  no doubt at the water mill !!   Never mind, I shall make a point of finding it next time !!

In 1854 the population of 1241 consisted mainly of farm labourers of Khoikhoi descent and freed slaves.  South Africa’s first slave monument was built here in 1938, a century after emancipation, in homage to the ‘ people who had become the majority of the Elim community.’

What a pity I hadn’t read about the well preserved watermill built in 1833, renovated in 1990, and is the ‘largest wooden wheel in South Africa and still serves to ground wheat.’  It’s probably located on the other side of the church where there is a river beyond a row of houses.   There was a tour bus in parking dedicated to buses and I wondered where the tourists were ….  no doubt at the watermill !!   Never mind, I shall make a point of finding it next time we travel this road !!

 

 

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