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Yzerfontein - Lime Kilns - National Monuments

Lime Kilns near Yzerfontein
Lime Kilns near Yzerfontein Credits: Holiday-Homes-SA.com

Lime Kilns similar to the ones near Yzerfontein were first used for converting mussel shells into lime in South Africa within 18 months of Jan van Riebeeck landing at the Cape. Up until then the VOC (east India Company) personnel had been living in wood and mud structures which offered little shelter against the Cape winter.

Lime was needed as cement and as mussel shells were plentiful they were used in these lime kilns. The only two remaining lime kilns are to be seen on the R315 toward Yzerfontein on the West Coast.

Lime Kilns were filled with a mixture of mussel shells and wood or coke (several sources refer to coke and several to wood) in a ratio of roughly 5 to 1.

A fire was lit in the lower compartment of the kiln and air blown in by way of bellows to build up enough heat. The entire load of shells turned into lime in a day! The following day the entire process was repeated.

The two lime kilns on the way to Yzerfontein were only built in the 1940's by a builder from the Milnerton area based on the drawings of the original kilns used by van Riebeeck's men. They were declared national monuments in 1980. One is on the left hand side of the road and the other a little further down on the right. You can't miss them. 

 

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