The History of Limestone in the Western Cape:
Lime was used as cement to build and plaster buildings. There was a lack of cement in the Cape and at that time it had to be shipped from Belgium. The first lime kilns in South Africa were built in the middle 1700’s on Robben Island, just off the coast of Cape Town, and in Saldanha, on the West Coast. At a later stage another kiln was built in Yzerfontein also on the West Coast, which is still there today. These early kilns were constructed and operated differently to the kiln on Burgersdrift as they used mussel shells for lime production as opposed to the limestone that was burned at Die Kalkoonde.
Die Kalkoonde, as it has always been known to anyone in my family, is 11 hectares of land tucked away in a valley on our family farm, Burgersdrift. On this piece of land there is an old limestone mine and factory building (approximately 200 years old). We do not have the entire history, but we have the stories that have been passed down from generation to generation. Some information has also been obtained from the internet with regards limestone mining and production in the Western Cape.
The ovens at Die Kalkoonde, which were used to burn the limestone, consists of vertical cylindrical structures built of firebricks into which alternate layers of limestone and fuel were charged. The burnt limestone was drawn from the bottom of the shaft at regular intervals and additional stone and fuel were added at the top.
There are five ovens at Die Kalkoonde. Two of the ovens in the one building were operational until 1945 when my great grandfather closed the mine due to flooding. The building containing the other three ovens were discovered later, buried underground. It is unknown to anyone in my family why or how this occurred. This building and its three ovens was also never mentioned in any of the stories passed down through the family. It is where the burnt lime was crushed and screened. The final product was then packaged and transported to the surrounding towns.
We do not have the exact age of the building, but we estimate it is between 150 and 200 years old.
In 2006 my father and I slowly started restoring the building when we had time and money. It has always been my father’s dream to develop this wonderfully interesting building.
Today, after many years of time and effort spent on developing the buildings and the surrounding area we are proud to present our two unique venues to accommodate couples looking for that very special place to get married, a peaceful, inspirational place for a conference, or the perfect place to celebrate that special event.
We plan to add a restaurant in the next year for the locals that is far from town, the tourist searching for something new to experience or interested people looking for a meal and/or refreshments while enjoying the beautiful natural surroundings - a place truly unlike any other in the area.
Contact us today to make an appointment for a viewing. We look forward to meeting you and working with you to make your event unique, special and memorable.