Elim is a picturesque unique historical village, situated halfway on the dirt-road from Gansbaai to Bredasdorp. It was founded as a Moravian
mission station in 1824 on the site of an existing farm called Vogelstruiskraal. As the third Moravian mission station in the Cape, it was dedicated
to establishing a self-supporting church of indigenous people.
With few expectations, Elim is inhabited mostly by members of the Moravian Church. The entire village of thatched roof, whitewashed and brightly trimmed
cottages, the majority of which date back to the 19th century, historically significant Church Square and watermill has been declared a national monument.
The thatch-roof church is the heart of the village. Though Swellendam, Tulbagh and Genadendal Moravian Misson villages may be slightly older, neither of
those better known destinations has been so well conserved in its original historical and social tissue.
Nowadays some of the cottages are even painted in bright colours and many have corrugated steel roofs, expressive of changing times and harmonising surprisingly
well with the historical setting and architecture. The village is also well known for its everlastings and there are 102 species of fynbos that you won't
find anywhere else. Geelkop (private nature reserve) is about 450 ha in size. It derives its name from the mass of yellow flowering plants, particularly
Leucadendrons, which cover the hills during spring. The Geelkop private reserve offers a half-day hiking trail and a circular drive with splendid views.
The charming Church Square itself is a collection of communal buildings with a central function. Elim church boasts the oldest working clock in South Africa
(it was built in Germany in 1764 and it's still working) and it's unusual in that it has faces on both ends of the church - a long axle runs the length of
the building, connecting the clocks on each gable. The working water mill, which used to grind the flour for the local bakery, has been restored to its original
historical state and will soon be providing its produce again. The local museum, with a collection of historical handicraft shows the history of the village
with a large collection of historical photos. The original school building, a dark-red plastered building, now houses the municipal library, in front of it, as
far as we know, the only monument celebrating the abolition of slavery (in 1835) in South Africa. There is a perfect little guesthouse on the Church Square,
which enables visitors to enjoy Elim even more at leisure.