From one of South Africa’s oldest churches to the delight of wine tasting and delightful Cape cuisine, sample the best of everything on this heritage drive.
A mere 50 minutes from Cape Town, just off the R27 West Coast Road, lies the small town of Mamre. Not only does this unassuming settlement have a rich and colourful history, it is also home to South Africa’s fifth oldest church in the remarkable Moravian Mission Station.
Originally established in the late 1600’s by Cape Governor, Simon van Der Stel, as a military and cattle post to protect settlers and their cattle from the local KhoiKhoi, it later became a Dutch East India Company cattle farm, which it remained until the end of the 1700’s.
Then in 1808 the governor of the Cape, Lord Caledon, welcomed the establishment of a mission by Kohrhammer and Schmitt, two Moravian missionaries from Germany. The missionaries took over abandoned military buildings and built a church, a school and a watermill, dated 1844, and laid out the picturesque settlement of white-walled, black-thatched cottages which still stands today. Originally known as Groenekloof (“Green Valley”), the town was named Mamre in 1854. The name means “an altar to the Lord”.
The original church and parsonage retain their charm and were listed as national monuments in 1967. The watermill has been lovingly restored and the church is still used for services and packed to capacity on any given Sunday.
Despite its religious past, wine has for long been part of the area’s history and economy and the Darling Wine Cellar on Mamreweg has the best of the region’s popular wines in stock.
Distance from Cape Town: 59km
Where: Off R27, via the R307 between Atlantis and Darling
Coordinates: 23.5292400 S and 30.0866400 E
Interesting things to do and see in Mamre:
Tori Oso Geselshuis Coffee Shop
Tori Oso ‘gesels huisie’ is one of a kind in South Africa situated in Mamre on the ‘Werf’ in the historical Ou winkel. Established for young and old to just relax or enjoy in own unique way.
Open Fri – Sun 10:00 to 19:00 and on Tues – Sun 10:00 – 18:00
Where: Church Street, Mamre
Contact: + 27 72 972 3539 | +27 73 378 8801
Download the self guided Mamre Heritage Walk Map