South Africa’s largest wooden watermill ….

.. in Elim hasn’t been used for quite a while.

Two years ago it was working nicely after a long restoration period and there were big plans for its use (grinding flour, etc.) but it seems that (local?) politics caused non-activity. Pity.

Tomorrow …

This is the last week Emile Richter shows tourists around the restored watermill in 19th century village Elim. The village land is owned by the Moravian church and only villagers are allowed to build a house on a designated plot. Emile is one of the driving forces behind the restoration of the village including upgrade of the roads in and to/from. The watermill however is his favourite and he was deeply involved in the recent restoration of this monumental living piece of old-fashioned craftsmanship. Emile had this plan to grain locally harvested wheat and sell it locally and to tourists. The funding was already taken care for 3 years ago but as in everything the ‘mother church’ in Germany (‘Herrnhuters‘ ; English: Moravian Church) has to give permission first and that can take a long time Richter experienced. “In the church I always learned to tell the truth and nothing else but the truth. Now I’ve told them the truth they dismissed me as guide on a very short notice”.

Tomorrow is Emile Richter’s last day as host at the watermill.

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Elim; The old Watermill and more

(See also previous posting)

It took Emile Richter the past years a lot of work and passion to restore the old watermill and he is clearly proud of it. His wish is it to use the mill again for milling wheat grains into flour as it was originally designated for.

Roofs in the main road are re-tatched, there is a very affordable B&B, roads to, from and in Elim are upgraded, a restaurant opened and there is even a kind of internet cafe plus a wine cellar. But the watermill, the original heart of this small town, is the attraction for the history minded visitor.

Sunset in Elim. Anno 1824

Elim was founded and grounded as a missionary station in 1824. Wikipedia mentions that the thatchers from this village are ‘renowned’. That is a bit of an understatement as they in fact belong to the best thatchers in the world knowing that many of them are travelling around the globe engaged in prestigious thatching for the ‘bold and the beautiful’ wether it is in Australia, Dubai or somewhere in the Americas. Anyway I was there to picture a sunset and arrived  at the right day and at the right time but only has a time frame of 5 minutes to shoot all the desired pictures. Some of the images were made outside that time frame but you will see.

There is  a guest house in this village, the people have a natural hospitality, there is this old watermill but for petrol (gasoline, diesel) you will have to drive 20 odd kilometres. Excellent destination for people from where ever who are sick and bored of the ordinary tourist traps. Elim is about 20 km from a stunning non-touristic sand beach, 35 km from the Southernmost point of the African Continent and 50 km from where I live. There is a little supermarket and crime is unheard of.