The name Moolmanshoek originated from the first owner of the Moolmanshoek valley. His name was Mr Petrus Lafras Moolman. The Moolman surname is derived from the Meuleman last name. In 1743 Pieter Meuleman arrived in South Africa as a soldier in the service of the Oost Indishce Compagne. He later became a “burger” of Stellenbosch, marrying a local girl by the name of Catharine Elisabeth Swart on 17 November, 1748.
The Moolmans from Graaf Reinett moved to Moolmanshoek in 1829. The Moolmans had discovered the valley on hunting trips made earlier on route from their temporary home in the South Eastern Free State. The original Moolman farm covered almost the whole valley, approximately 6800 hectares. The farm was later divided between the four sons. In June 1869 the first maps of the farm were drawn by KJ de Kok. The owners at that time were:
- AJ Moolman (Andries Johannes)
- JL Moolman
- CL Moolman (Christaan Lodewikus) † Ficksburg Married – Maria Amerentia Cronje
- PL Moolman (Petrus Lafras) Married to Isabella Elsie Georgina Moolman
The sons who later inherited the top part of the valley, known today as Moolmanshoek, put it up for sale when their father passed away in 1904. A Mr Thomas Mitchell, well known businessman and farmer of the area, bought Moolmanshoek for his 17 year old son Ernst on 11 June 1905. Ernst later married Dora Musgrave. The two of them built the main sandstone house during 1928-1933 at the cost of £8 000.
Ernst Mitchell died in 1956. For the next five years Moolmanshoek was leased to a Mr Muller before it was put on auction by a bank in Ficksburg. Mr Hendrik Erasmus (married to Hester du Plessis) from Hofmeyer was the highest bidder. Since the offer was too low, an agreement was made whereby Mr Erasmus could rent the farm (for a maximum of ten years) with the option to buy the land. After renting the farm for seven years, he bought Moolmanshoek in 1968.
Hendrik and Hester had only one child, a daughter named Miemie. She married Willie Nel from Smithfield in March 1972. The couple moved to Moolmanshoek in January 1973. In 1980, Willie bought Moolmanshoek from his father-in-law, in doing so becoming the fourth owner of Moolmanshoek. It was under Willie and Miemie’s stewardship that Moolmanshoek was transformed to the piece of paradise it is today. The adjacent farms, Langesnek (where the Leadership centre is situated) and Waterkloof were also later purchased and added to Moolmanshoek. Willie and Miemie have three children, Hester, Isabel and Wiesman. Today Moolmanshoek is managed as a family business.