Gateway to the Great Karoo

Laingsburg is a small and modern Karoo town just off the N1 highway, about 280 km from Cape Town. It is a warm and friendly town with a proud tradition of old fashioned hospitality.

Laingsburg is probably most well-known for the freak flood that devastated the small town in January 1981. The whole town was under water within a couple of minutes after the abnormal rainfall in the catchments of both the Buffels and Baviaans Rivers that come together in the town. The flood claimed 104 lives and left only 21 buildings standing. Today, as a reminder, water marks can be seen high on lampposts as well as the Dutch Reformed Church, one of the buildings that was left standing. The local library has a collection of newspaper cuttings and photographs covering the events of the disaster.

The area is popular with outdoor enthusiasts as there are a number of hiking trails in the area with one even specially designed for bird lovers at the Kraankop farm. The Geelbeksbrug farm just north of Laingsburg has an interesting geological walk where hikers can learn about some of the fascinating rock formations in the area. There are also day horse trails and several easy mountain bike trails to choose from.

Laingsburg offers accommodation in the form of self-catering units on farms as well as guest homes, private lodges and a small caravan park. The small town is the perfect destination for visitors to relax and enjoy the Karoo cuisine.

Places to Visit

Things to do and see

  • Anglo-Boer War Blockhouse
  • Laingsburg Flood Museum
  • Laingsburg Flood Route
  • Monthly Farmers Market
  • Seven Weeks Poort Pass
  • Matjiesfontein Village
  • Laingsburg Golf Course
  • Gemsbok 4x4 Trail
  • Anysberg Nature Reserve
  • The Blockhouse Route

Climate

The area receives approximately 61 mm of rainfall per annum, with March seeing the highest levels and December the lowest levels of rainfall.

Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 14˚C and 31˚C.

Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 1˚C and 17˚C.

Transport

There are daily flights from Johannesburg and Durban into Cape Town International Airport. Car rental companies are located at the Airport.

Laingsburg can also be reached along the N1 from Cape Town, approximately 280 km away.

Festivals

April – Mad Mountain Marathon: A three day stage mountain bike race that takes riders through the Karoo, mountains and coastal areas.

May – Karoo Outdoor Festival: Held each year at the Vale Farm just outside Beaufort West, which includes Veld Shooting competitions for both Seniors and Juniors. Locals offer traditional stalls, food and a tea garden, plus an evening spitbraai and dance.

October – Newton Karoo Marathon: An annual ultra-marathon where runners can choose to run either a 5 km; 10 km; 21.1 km or 80 km race.

History

Stefanus Greeff acquired the Zoute Vlakte farm in about 1862 and later in 1879 he acquired the “Vischuil aan de Buffelsrivier” with the sole purpose of starting a settlement. In April 1880 the first plots began to sell. The first settlement that grew from this settlement was called Buffalo, but with the arrival of the railway the name was changed to Nassau so that it would not be confused with East London’s Buffalo River.

As the centre of the sheep and wheat districts of the Buffalo River region, it was later named after John Laing, a senior civil servant in the Lands Department of the Cape, and was laid out in 1881.

Where the main railway and road to the north crosses the Buffalo River, the town of Laingsburg grew from its origins as a trading post.

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