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History and Culture  

How Botrivier got its name

Before the Dutch settlers arrived the area was home to the pastoral Khoi-khoi people. It is said that they named the river “Couga” which loosely translated means “rich in fat”. Some accounts suggest the Dutch settlers produced butter, which they traded with the Khoi-khoi at a crossing point on the river. Dutch for butter is “botter” hence the shortened form of the word “bot”.

Compagnes Drift Farm

Compagnes Drift, now Beaumont Wines, is an historic farm in Botrivier. In the 18th century it became an outpost for the Dutch East India Trading Company. At the same time, soldiers were stationed at the Drift to monitor and protect the Cape Frontier.

Historic Mill

Beaumont Wines is also the site at which you can see one of the Overberg’s oldest mills. Thought to have been built in or around 1800, evidence suggests it was more than a simple farm mill. Apparently, in its prime, it was used to grind flour for farms across the region. In fact, the historic mill house contains three different mill machines. One of these is the Vitruvian, which is driven by a wooden wheel and powered by natural steam.

Audio clips

Botrivier Historic Mill, Andy Selfe (Mill Restorator). Enthusiasts can contact Andy at the Cape Vintage Engine and Machine Society on 021 859 2430.

  • [Bot River Mill 1 – 1:05”]

  • [Bot River Mill 2 – 0:48”]

  • [Bot River Mill 3 – 1:46”]

  • [Bot River Mill 4 – 1:48”]

  • [Bot River Mill 5 – 0:46”]

  • A School Teacher Remembers, Andrew Karelse. First-hand account of farm school teaching in apartheid South Africa.

    An Artist’s Eye, Jane Beaumont. Tips for visitors on what to look for in the Overberg landscape.


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