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Colesberg and Horse and Mill history

Bell Street

Horse and MillBell St is on the original erf deeds of 1834. 
Named after Charles Davidson Bell - surveyor and artist.

Bell was in Colesberg in 1834 when he must have surveyed the newly established town - it was customary in the past to name a street after the surveyor of a town. 

He also painted what he saw, e.g.  "Colesberg Nachtmaal" 1834 showing an almost empty town - 6 haphazardly placed Cape Dutch style houses, no streets and a large number of wagons out spanned in a wide area around the D R Church. 

Bell designed the sought after Cape triangular postage stamp -first issued 1-9-1853. The top half of Bell St was named Fontein St because of the spring at the end of this street - this was changed to Bell St in 1972.

Old Horse Mill (National monument)

Horse and Mill

Horse and Mill Old English Pub and Restaurant. In the Northern Cape, one could find a horse mill on almost every farm. Karoo farmers, who often had a lack of water or wind, constructed a simple horse mill in their barns. Then the draft animals on the farm were put to work grinding their grains.

Once a working horse mill of the farm, Sewefontein in the Colesberg district, the mill has been recreated in the old coach house by Mr. T Vorster. A large upright wooden axle was placed in the center of the room with a large wooden wheel about 3.5 to 4 meters in diameter; in the newer models, a cogged wheel was affixed to the top section.

A leather thong known as a 'riempie' was used with the older versions to rotate the small pulley that looked like a spindle and which drove the millstones located directly above this pulley wheel. About 60cm to 65cm above the ground, a horizontal draft pole was inserted through the central axle to which the draft animals were harnessed to do their work.

Hores and Mill as a tourism attraction history

Horse and Mill started as a tourism attraction by a New Zealander Rhys Mowat (worked for Gary Player at that stage) together with his wife from Colesberg Eileen in 1985 during the Rugby World cup.

The current owners Jock and Jackie Ramsay bought Horse and Mill from Dave and Thelma Weideman on the 1st of March 2005.

Colesberg History

Fossil evidence reveals that the history of the Colesberg district dates back over 250 million years to prehistoric times when vast numbers of mammals and reptiles, inhabited this area.

In the late 18th and early 19th century European explorers, hunters and traders passing through the district, created a trek path past the spring under the towering mountain known today as Coleskop. Before it was called the Tooverberg (Mountain of Wizard). The reason being, that it was visible from a long way away, yet as travelers moved toward it, it mysteriously seemed to recede rather than get closer.

In 1788 Governor Van Plettenberg erected a beacon, on the present day farm of Quaggasfontein in the Colesberg district, to mark the northernmost point in the Cape Colony.

In 1814 Erasmus Smit established a mission station for Bushmen under the mountain. Ten years later, when Tooverberg (Colesberg) was part of the Dutch Reformed Church district of Graaff-Reinet, Ds Andrew Murray began to hold regular services in the veldt under the mountain.

In 1829 the Governor of the Cape, Sir Lowry Cole, granted the Dutch Reformed Church 18,138 morgen to erect a church. The small settlement that grew up around this “Strooidak Kerk” was named Colesberg in his honour.

At first the little town struggled to survive – hailstorms, droughts and locusts hampered the settlers and when the trekkers began to move through the area in 1838, many Colesbergers’s joined them. Those who stayed worked hard and soon there was a thriving community in the district. Colesberg became a municipality in 1840. It was one of the earliest towns in the Cape Colony to do so.

For 10 weeks in the early stages of the Anglo-Boer War (Nov, Dec, Jan and Feb 1900), the Boers held Colesberg and were strongly entrenched in the ridges south-east of Colesberg. The British force in the area, at this stage under General French, were not strong enough to dislodge the Boers, but managed to check their descent into the southern parts of the Cape. It was extremely important to obtain information of the movements of the enemy and the summit of Colesberg from which they could see for miles around, was used as a look out point.

On the 11th of January 1900, 90 men of B-Company Essex Regiment under the command of Mayor Butcher, hauled two 15-pound field-guns weighing a ton and a quarter to the top of Colesberg. Ropes were attached to the guns and with 30 men to each rope; they pulled the guns up the mountain. The scar can still be seen on the western slope. The remains of one of the 15-pounders can be seen in the backyard of the Colesberg Museum. The field-gun was kept in action until the last moments of a Boer attack and finally pushed off the edge to save it from capture.

Accommodation at de Stijl Gariep Hotel

Guest house

Horse and Mill guest house offers accommodation in Colesberg.

Restaurant at de Stijl Gariep Hotel

Restaurant nearby

The old English pub is inside the mill and creates a historic atmosphere taking you back to the pass.



Enjoy the photo gallery of Horse and Mill in Colesberg.

Area information

Places of interests.

  • Colesberg has several national monuments, including the Colesberg (Kemper) Museum, which displays fascinating relics of Colesberg’s rich and varied history.
  • Mountain bike Cycle route had newly been built along the koppies.
  • Walking tours of the town are conducted on request
  • The Karoo Nomad photographic exhibition compiled by UNISA ‘s Dr De Jongh is permantly housed at the Museum
  • Doornkloof Nature Reserve
  • Exploring the koppies in the area reveal all sorts of fascinating Karoo Fauna and Flora, Stone-age artifacts and other interesting fragments of the past
  • Many of the countries top quality Merino Sheep and leading race horses are bred in this area and visits to several of these studs can be arranged.
  • Game Biltong, Karoo Lamb and fresh farm produce can be purchased in town.
  • Tours of the Gariep Nature Reserve and Gariep Dam Wall can also be taken, it is only 50 km from Colesberg
  • Sea Cow Valley Meander along the Sea Cow River to Hanover, Philipstown of Nieu-Bethesda

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