Mostert Mill: Cape Town

Despite driving past the Mostert Mill at least a thousand times over the last 20 years, today was the first time I actually sought out the directions to get there, and paid the entrance fee. While you can see the mill clearly from the M3, and you see it as you pass on your way to or from the CBD, it is located in Rosebank/Observatory, which means you can’t access actually access it directly from the freeway.

I have taken to using Facebook events as inspiration to find new things for us to discover on the weekends and, I happened to stumble across the fact that today (11 January), was a milling day. This is the only working mill in South Africa, and they open the mill for locals to see it in action every 28 days. Tour groups are welcome to visit, as long as they book in advance, and this spot is perfect for school tours and clubs who are looking to do something a little different, throughout the year.

At this working mill, you can see flour being ground (weather dependant), taste bread made from that flour and, if you are very lucky, purchase a bag of stone-ground flour for just R20/kilo (price correct at time of publishing). All this for an annual family membership of just R50! Individuals pay R40. This is unheard of anywhere, let alone in Cape Town!

Since they can only grind flour when the wind is blowing and, given that they are only open from 10 am to 2 pm on the first Saturday of most months, you basically need all the planets to align to get access to proper flour. According to what we learned today, this flour has all the components still present (endosperm, germ and bran), which makes it perfect for people who usually struggle with a gluten intolerance. There is something about having all the parts still in the mix, that makes it easier to digest.

Even though I didn’t realise you could climb up inside a grain mill, I was glad to have chosen comfy shoes and shorts for the day. The stairs were as nerve wracking as the ladders in the Cape Agulhas lighthouse, and the memory of climbing those steps in a floor length Summer dress still turns my knees to jelly.

At the top of these stairs, was a volunteer guide to tell you more about the history of the mill and how the parts worked together. The Mostert Mill is 224 years old this year and it was fascinating to find out how the wood, that makes up most of the inside, was harvested from shipwrecks that had met their untimely end at The Cape of Storms. These components have really stood the test of time, and the most recent repair took place on the wooden brake wheel, which was replaced in 1995.

Aside from the mill, which is based on the old Welgelegen Farm, your entry gives you access to the garden, where you are welcome to take along a picnic and enjoy the fresh air under some trees. Granted, it isn’t very quiet with the cars speeding past on the M3, but it is pet friendly so, feel free to take the (well-behaved) pooch along.

Aside from the mill, which is based on the old Welgelegen Farm, your entry gives you access to the garden, where you are welcome to take along a picnic and enjoy the fresh air under some trees. Granted, it isn’t very quiet with the cars speeding past on the M3, but it is pet friendly so, feel free to take the (well-behaved) pooch along.

There is very limited parking in the little cul-de-sac so, you may need to park and walk up the hill a bit, but the area is very safe since the UCT security team patrols the area.

Have you visited a working mill before? I’d love to hear about your favourite experience in the comments below.

About TazzDiscovers 128 Articles
We are a family of four with a passion for South Africa. Exploring Cape Town, and anywhere else we can get to in our VW Polo, is our favourite way to spend time together. The kids are almost 12 and 15 respectively, and have had access to the most amazing opportunities through this little blog. This is something we are incredibly grateful for. It has matured them and allowed them to grow into little connoisseurs of all things wonderful, in South Africa. If you would like a family perspective on your business or location, we would love to work with you. Feel free to reach out via email: tazzdiscovers@gmail.com

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