District Municipality: Karoo District Municipality

Info Hanover Tourism Bureau

Queen Str

Phone number: 053-643-0053
Fax number: 053-643-0236

Hanover is named after a town in Germany


Also see the neighbouring towns

Hanover is the most "central" town in South Africa with respect to cities, about the same distance from Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Upington - obviously not in the middle of the country.

Photo: courtesy of Wynand Theron

Photos: courtesy of Babs Wienand

Hanover is in the Great Karoo on the N1 between Colesberg and Richmond , and on the N10 between De Aar and Middelburg . Noupoort is east on the R389 , and Hanover Road (which is the railway station of Hanover) is about 20Km north on the R389 toward Philipstown .

The Seekoei River lies to the east of town, and flows northward into the Gariep (Orange) River near Philippolis. The Kilowen Dam is just north of Hanover Road, and the Kriegerspoort Dam southeast.

There is a powerful spring in town, releasing about 200'000l of water per day, which was used for irrigation. The furrows (leivore) used for irrigation in the 1800s are still in use today.

A furrow
Photo: courtesy of Babs Wienand


Many buildings in Hanover date from the late 1800s, when Hanover was a bustling town.

The library
Photo: courtesy of Babs Wienand

Photo: courtesy of Babs Wienand

The first Dutch Reformed Church was built in 1859, but replaced by a larger building in 1907.

The Dutch Reformed Church
Photo: courtesy of Babs Wienand

Photo: courtesy of Babs Wienand

Photo courtesy Ben de Klerk.

An Anglican Church was built in 1895.

The mission church
Photo: courtesy of Babs Wienand

San rock art

San rock art can be seen in the area.

Hanover museum

The Hanover museum exhibits the cultural history of the town. It is housed in the original farmstead. The museum is run on a volunteer basis by the community, and most artefacts donated by the people of Hanover.

The museum
Photo: courtesy of Babs Wienand


A footpath leads up to Trappieskop which offers panoramic views of the area.

Photo: courtesy of Babs Wienand

In the 1800s there was an observatory on Trappieskop, which was later moved to Sutherland.


Bird watching can be done at the Stuurmanskuil dam, which is off the N10 to De Aar.

Hippo's have been reintroduced into the area in the Seekoei River (Hippo River) at New Holme.

People of Hanover

TF Burgers

TF Burgers (1834 - 1881) was the first Dutch Reformed minister of Hanover. Burgers was liberal for his time, disbelieving the literal truth of the Christian Bible, which did not go well in a conservative farming community. In 1862 he was accused of heresy, found guilty and suspended in 1864. He appealed to the Supreme Court, and the judgement was overturned. In 1865 he was reinstated as minister.

He wrote short stories on life in Hanover, which were published after his death to provide an income for his family.

Burgers was president of the Transvaal Republiek (1871-1877). When the Birtish annexed the Transvaal in 1877, he retired to Hanover, farming with ostriches first on the farm De Dammen and later on Schanskraal.

TF Burgers (1834 - 1881)

Olive Schreiner

The author and women's rights champion Olive Schreiner lived in Hanover. In 1894 she married a farmer, Samuel Cronwright. At the start of the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), Olive and her husband lived in a cottage on the corner of New and Grace Street, and from 1900 to 1907 at 11 Grace Street.

The Schreiner house
Photo: courtesy of Babs Wienand

Olive Schreiner (1855-1920)

Cronwright's office can be seen in Loop Street.

Cronwright's office
Photo: courtesy of Babs Wienand

Avril Malan

[This could not be verified]

Avril Malan (1937-) was a Springbok rugby player and grew up in Hanover, in Villa Malan on the corner of Darling and Rhyneveld Streets. He was the youngest Springbok rugby captain at age 23 in the 1960-1961 tour of 34 games, winning all four of the big tests.

Zwelinzima Vavi

Zwelinzima Vavi was born on a farm in the Hanover district, but he does not know his birth date. His father worked on the mines, and he has 4 brothers and 7 sisters. Before he also went to work on the mines, he worked as a child labourer on farms in the area.

He is general secretary of Cosatu, a trade union.


The farm Petrusvallei was started in 1841. Hanover was established in 1854 on this farm, then owned by Gert (Gert Johannes Wilhelm) Gous. His great grandfather came to the Cape of Good Hope from Hanover in Germany, and the town was named after that city.

The first erven were sold only about 20 years later in 1876. A curious requirement, stemming from medieval Germany and other countries, was that houses had to be built facing the street, and on the front border. Gardens were cultivated behind the houses. The South African sun required a verandah (stoep) to cool off, and these were built right onto the pavement. A stoep tax was introduced, which is still payable today.

A typical stoep...

The first Dutch Reformed minister was TF Burgers, who later became a president of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek.

Hanover had its own race course which was used until 1889.

During the late 1800s Hanover was a stop-over for stage coaches on the way to the Diamond Fields. The post cart between Cape Town and the interior Free State also stopped here.

When the railway opened in 1884, bypassing Hanover by about 20Km, the town's developement stopped.

Anglo-Boer War

Taaibosch derailing

During the Anglo-Boer War a train was derailed and plundered at Taaibosch, 20km from town. Sarel Nienaber, J P Nienaber and J A Nieuwoudt, were found sleeping in the outbuildings on a nearby farm, and accused by the British Army. They were found guilty by the court in De Aar, and executed. They maintained their innocence right until the end.

A pyramid of stone marks their grave on the outskirts of Hanover.

In the memoirs ofhe Boer general Wynand Malan, he claims responsibility for this act. He and Olive Schreiner campaigned on behalf of the three young men, and eventually they were cleared and their families compensated.


Farming: Merino sheep

Thanks to Babs Wienand for some additional information.


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