Elim Moravian mission town
Did you know?
Elim is surrounded by an extraordinary diversity of rare fynbos plants, many of them medicinal.
Elim Moravian Mission Town looks like a village of gingerbread cottages, set on a flowered plain.
The town was founded in 1824. That was when a farm in the Agulhas area, close to the southernmost point in Africa, was bought by the German-based Moravian Church.
It was settled by former farm labourers and freed slaves from the area, who built a church-protected community blessed with the sweet waters of the Nuwejaars River.
To this very day, Elim, as it came to be known, is one of the few church-run towns in South Africa. Locals are proud of Elim's conservation efforts - the surrounding area is full of unique fynbos plants.
The Elim community welcomes visitors, who stay in an old restored building with metre-thick walls, part of the historic church complex. Overhead, a weathervane in the shape of an angel with a trumpet and quill turns in the wind, and the old clock that was made in 1764 for a village in Germany keeps perfect time.
There is a working water mill - the baked products made from its ground wheat are delicious - and a museum has been created in the old Mission store. Interestingly enough, Elim Moravian Mission town has the only memorial celebrating the abolition of slavery in South Africa.
You'll notice that many of the whitewashed houses, and even the church, are beautifully thatched. In fact, thatching is Elim's main trade. These master craftsmen travel all over the world, creating beautiful, watertight reed-roofed houses. The tradition started centuries ago, and is still being passed down from father to son.
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Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0) 74 544 7733
Tel: +27 (0) 482 1715