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Northern Cape

Hanover – An Oasis in a Semi-Desert

The small town of Hanover, located in the Karoo region of the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, rightfully lays claim to being South Africa’s most central place, as it lies half-way between Johannesburg and Cape Town, as well as being positioned between Durban and Cape Town, and Upington and Port Elizabeth.

Places of interest in Hanover include the house, now a national monument, where author and champion of women’s rights, Olive Schreiner, lived with her husband between 1900 and 1907. In 1876 the magistrate of the town, Charles Richard Beere, initiated the planting of trees by Hanover residents for future generations to enjoy. He also had a stepped path built to the summit of a nearby hill, now known as Trappieskop. Visitors to Hanover will appreciate the awesome views of the Karoo from this vantage point, which is also a great place to watch a sunrise, a sunset, or to do some night-time star-gazing in the clear Karoo sky. Interestingly, since 1870 down to today, the town has been receiving its water from a powerful, seemingly inexhaustible, underground spring, known as the “Eye” which pumps out around 205,000 liters of water a day.

Back in the 18th century it seemed as if all roads converged in Hanover, with the little town serving as a stage coach stop for travelers, many of whom were would-be prospectors heading for the diamond fields. With the advent of the railway in 1884, the once busy town lost much of its through traffic and the pace slowed down. Today the N1 route through the Karoo cuts a path between Hanover and its cemetery, but the picturesque town nevertheless serves as a welcome stop-off point for travelers heading to their various destinations, and those who take some time to explore it, find that Hanover is an oasis in this semi-desert region of South Africa.