Botrivier History

History of Botrivier

Botrivier is strategically located at the foot of the Houw Hoek Mountain Range and is perfectly situated between the area’s major hubs like Hermanus. It was originally inhabited by the Khoi-Khoi tribes of the area, who were prosperous herders who pastured their livestock in the agriculturally rich areas surrounding what was then known as the “Couga River”. This particular location offered up a source of fresh water, which was savoured by the tribes in the often water-scarce Cape. Once the Dutch East India Company settlers arrived it became a spot for bartering butter - a popular produce for farmers in the area. This is why the river and the area was eventually termed Botrivier, after the Afrikaans word for butter: “botter”. 


The Botrivier Hotel is one of the oldest buildings in the town – and even in the Overberg area in general – having being built in the 1890s. The village is also host to one of the oldest wine cellars in the region. This history goes as far back as the 1700s with the establishment of Compagnes Drift. This farm was later bought in 1974 by Jayne and Raoul Beaumont and was revitalised as the Beaumont Wine Estate with the release of their very first vintage of Beaumont Pinotage. This was incredibly well received and one of the Cape’s most well respected wine estates emerged. Today you can visit this establishment and even see one of the oldest working water-mills in the area. To build on this prestigious heritage, Botrivier is still one of the only areas in the whole world that has a Wine Route established within a protected biodiversity zone


One of the most notable events in the town’s history is certainly the arrival of the railway line from Cape Town to Caledon in 1902. This was a great engineering feat as the Cape tracks were forged through the Hottentots Holland Mountain Range and really sparked an increase in commerce for the residents of Botrivier, who could trade with the City of Cape Town far faster than ever before. 

An entire generation of South Africans were introduced to the town of Botrivier through the television series that premiered in 1979 called “Nommer Asseblief” (Number Please). The village was the setting for this favourite show and for many years tourists and locals alike would visit while insisting on seeing the actual telephone exchange from the show, as well as meeting the actors who portrayed the well-loved characters from this local soap opera.