Hanover, a small town in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. Much of the farming in the area is with Merino sheep.
Hanover is part of the Emthanjeni Local Municipality which is a Category B municipality situated within the Pixley Ka Seme District in the Northern Cape Province. It is one of the eight municipalities that make up the district. It is located approximately 300km south-west of Kimberley, 440km south-east of Upington, 300km north-east of Beaufort West and 300km south-west of Bloemfontein.
The municipality is the seat of the district. Emthanjeni, especially De Aar, is renowned for its central location on the main railway line between Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Namibia.
Area: 13 472km²
Cities/Towns: Britstown, Burgerville, De Aar, Griesenkraal, Hanover
Once part of the Graaff-Reinet district and known as Bo-Zeekoeirivier. As the farming community grew, a community centre was needed and, in 1854, the 8 656ha farm, Petrusvallei, was bought for 33 333 Rixdollars (R5 000). The former owner asked that the proposed town be called Hanover as his ancestors came from the German city. Walk through town and discover old furrows and historic buildings.
The attractive and historic little town on the N1 one lies more or less half way between Cape Town, Gauteng and Kwazulu-Natal. It was established in 1854 at the base of some rocky hills on the farm Petrusvallei, which was bought from Gert Gous. Gous requested that the town be called Hanover, after his great grandfather’s town in Germany.
When declared magisterial district in 1876, the town was very fortunate to be appointed with a far seeing magistrate, Richard Beere. He insisted that trees be planted so that residents’ descendants would have shade. Due to the increase in water consumption caused by the increase in residents, the spring that Hanover was built around, dried up, and the number of trees seen in the town today is far less than 100 years ago. Beere loved the Karoo and spent a lot of time on the summit of Trappieskop, where a stone pyramid honouring his contribution to the town was erected when he died.
The older houses were all built right on the road edge – as per authority’s instructions at the time – and when, in later years, home owners built on verandas, they had to pay a one shilling tax for this privelege. Today, they are still paying this tax, which is now R 17.00. Hanover was home to Olive Schreiner – well known South African author – who lived in Hanover from 1900 to 1906 and refered to it as “The prettiest little village I have ever seen”. Her husband, Cron, was an agent in town and today his offices are used a small guesthouse. Like many small Karoo towns, most of the streets are not tarred and the residential areas are very quiet. However, behind garden walls and front doors, there is plenty of activity going on as the industrious residents carry out their daily business.
The town is home to a variety of artists and craftspeople, as well as having several restaurants, delightful bookshop, coffee shop and a museum. There is interesting Karoo architecture to be seen and many gardens have a wind pump standing sentinel in one corner. Surrounding farms are principally Merino sheep, with many of the country’s best breeders operating in the Hanover district.
Lesser Kestrels, from Europe and Central Asia, come to nest in trees around town, and can be seen gliding in the dawn and dusk sky from late October to the end of summer.