Elim was founded by Moravian missionaries in 1824 and is largely inhabited by members of the Moravian Church. Elim is named after the Biblical place where the Israelites rested after crossing the Red Sea (Exodus 15:27), because of the fountains in the area.
It is a quaint little town filled with whitewashed cottages, fruit trees and fynbos. All the roads in the village lead to the thatch roofed church. Visitors are welcome to attend services at the church, particularly at Easter and Christmas. A brass band plays at the sevices on a Sunday.
The church has a clock that dates back 235 years and still keeps good time. It was acquired for Elim in 1914 but has been working since 1764 when it was built in Germany for a church in Herrenhut.
A memorial thanking God for the emancipation of slaves in 1838 stands near the church and the village's restored corn mill was built in 1828. The mill has the largest wooden wheel in the country and visitors can enjoy tea and coffee here or lunch, by prior arrangement.The community, still mainly Moravian, consists of farmers, farm workers and artisans. The Elim thatchers are particularly renowned for their craftsmanship and the area is becoming renowned for the cultivation of vineyards and the export of fynbos.
The entire village of Elim has been declared a National Monument.
Die Dam is a nearby resort popular with anglers and campers and there is the Bosluis Hiking Trail on Waterford Farm which is ideal for novice hikers. The Geelkop Nature Reserve is a private reserve that has a variety of fynbos and the Protea Pudens which is unique to Geelkop. A most varied fynbos environment can be seen along the road between Elim and Wolvengat.
Wolwengat is a tiny hamlet south of Elim. It was once known as Viljoenshof but has reverted back to its original name of Wolvengat in honour of the brown hyenas of 'strandwolwe' that allegedly still roam Pearly Beach and Buffeljagsbaai to this day. There is a small shop full of interesting memorabilia and stories as well as useful goods such as hot pies and cold cooldrinks.
Elim is a pioneering wine region that has completely captured the minds of winemakers, and wine connoisseurs throughout the world. Wines produced in this area go under the Agulhas district and Elim ward.
Perpetual winds off the sea on this peninsula, cool laterite, sandstone and broken shale soils, cool temperatures during the ripening stage, and high light intensity, engraves in the berries flavours such as nettle, capsicum, gooseberry, figs and passion fruit. The wines have a full palate, are crisp and minerally, have lots of concentrated fruit with an excellent finish.