Western Cape DestinationsMamre, Cape West Coast
The 'great tree of Mamre' is where Abraham is said to have pitched his tent. Whilst he never owned the land on which his tent rested, he did later buy a piece of land very close to it where he buried his wife, Sarah.
And indeed, it is Abraham's final resting ground too – the only land in Israel Abraham ever owned. A place in which he found rest, perhaps.
Whether or not this story or reference has anything to do with the town of Mamre, which lies between Darling and Atlantis on the R307, about an hour outside of Cape Town via the R27 or N7, is debatable. It is, however, the site of a Moravian mission station, established by two Moravian missionaries known as Kohrhammer and Schmitt, in 1808.
It was only in 1967 that the pretty double-ended church and adjacent parsonage became national monuments. The mission station village still stands, the church still used for services, and the church on any given Sunday is packed to capacity.
In the village there is a former bakery, a shop, the church offices, a couple of more modern buildings, and a little lower down, the former mill next to what would have been a stream but today is a trickle. There are also a few 'hartbeeshuisies' or reed houses, all of them white-washed with thatched roofs. The streets, aside from Main Road which brings you into the village, are sand and you can wander around the village at will.
Mamre is one of nine mission stations which later grew into towns and villages on the West Coast. Others are Wupperthal, Rietpoort, Papendorp-Ebenhaezer, Vanrhynsdorp, Wittewater, Goedverwacht, Elandskloof and Vergenoeg.
Follow a visit of Mamre with a drive through to the gorgeous town of Darling, where you can stop for lunch, visit numerous gardens, peruse Evita's se Perron, and sample wines on a series of wine farms.
For more info about Mamre see our articles on the SA Travel News Blog:
• Mamre - if you're ever in the neighbourhood