In 1657 the VOC granted land on the slopes of Table Mountain to a number of free burghers under the leadership of Steven Bothma. The farm Welgelegen was established by Bothma. After his death the farm changed hands a number of times until 1756, when it became the property of Jacob van Reenen. It is generally assumed that his son, Dirk, built the mill in 1796. Dirk's daughter inherited the property and subsequently married a Mostert, the great-grandson of the Cape's first miller, and the mill came into the ownership of the Mostert family. The machinery is of a type commonly known as an overshot wheat mill, and is the last surviving example of a number of private mills that used to work at that time in the vicinity of Cape Town. It was restored in 1936 by the Union Government in collaboration with the government of the Netherlands, and was declared a National Monument under old NMC legislation on 15 March 1940.
Mostert’s Mill is the only working windmill South of the Sahara. It is a Cape truncated-cone tower mill, and is characterised by its thatch roof, which stands out as cars whizz by on the busy motorway known De Waal Drive on the M3. It was built according to new standards that would help it to survive the strong winds for which the Mother City is notorious. It is, no doubt, this quality that has helped in the windmill’s survival over the centuries, and it stands tall as a testimony to the constructive history of South Africa.
The thatched roof revolves to allow the sails to be turned to the optimal angle so that they can catch the wind and allow the windmill to work best. Next to the windmill are a threshing floor and a home that is likely to have belonged to the miller.
Mostert’s Mill is a popular tourist spot for young and old, those who love the history of South Africa, as well as those just looking for something a little different to do during their time in Cape Town. Other attractions that are situated within a short drive from the mill include the V&A Waterfront, Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens and the historical University of Cape Town. The history and heritage of Cape Town is a very special part of this city’s appeal, both to locals and to the visitors that frequent it from around the world. The historic monuments and remnants of yesteryear give it a unique character and nostalgia that is quite irresistible.
-33° 57' 7.2", 18° 27' 57.6"