Laingsburg, Western Cape

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Laingsburg
A view of Laingsburg
A view of Laingsburg
Laingsburg is located in South Africa
Laingsburg
Laingsburg
 Laingsburg shown within South Africa
Coordinates: 33°11′42″S 20°51′33″E / 33.19500°S 20.85917°E / -33.19500; 20.85917Coordinates: 33°11′42″S 20°51′33″E / 33.19500°S 20.85917°E / -33.19500; 20.85917
Country South Africa
Province Western Cape
District Central Karoo
Municipality Laingsburg
Established 1879
Area[1]
 • Total 723.72 km2 (279.43 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 5,667
 • Density 7.8/km2 (20/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[1]
 • Black African 8.2%
 • Coloured 82.3%
 • Indian/Asian 0.3%
 • White 8.5%
 • Other 0.7%
First languages (2011)[1]
 • Afrikaans 93.6%
 • English 1.7%
 • Xhosa 1.6%
 • Other 3.1%
Postal code (street) 6900
PO box 6900
Area code 023

Laingsburg is a town located in the Western Cape province in South Africa.

History[edit]

Karoo P1030687.JPG
Flowering Karoo near Laingsburg

The area where the town stands was initially a farm named Vischkuil-aan-de-Buffelsrivier (fishing pond on the Buffalo River).

In the 1870s, the government of Prime Minister John Molteno oversaw a massive expansion of the Cape Colony's railway system.[2] The route (chosen by the Prime Minister with a map, pen and ruler) ran past the farm,[3] which a man called Stephanus Greeff bought for the purpose of development. The line was completed in 1878 and a small siding named Buffelsrivier was built at the farm.

With railway access, a town soon began developing. It was initially renamed Nassau to avoid confusion with Buffalo River in East London, and finally changed to the name Laingsburg, after John Laing[disambiguation needed] who was Commissioner of Crown Lands at the time.

The town was laid out in 1881 and became a municipality in 1904. The Laingsburg Local Municipality has since been expanded to include Bergsig, Goldnerville and Matjiesfontein.

Geography[edit]

Laingsburg is situated along the N1 route, at Lat: -33.20, Long: 20.85, in the Western Cape province of South Africa.

The town is situated in the Great Karoo, a semi-desert region of South-Africa. The town's total rainfall is about 150mm per year. The main water supply is the Buffels River. Summers are extremely hot and dry, with temperatures usually exceeding 30°C. Winters are crisp to sometimes very cold, with snow occasionally occurring in the surrounding region.

Flash flood[edit]

On 25 January 1981, in Laingsburg's centennial year, the largest part of the town was swept away within minutes by one of the strongest floods ever experienced in the Great Karoo. After a cloud burst to the north-eastern hinterland, south of the Komsberg, a massive wall of water rushed down the Buffels River and swept away everything it encountered in its way. Animals, humans and their possessions were swept along and later dumped under meters of silt. Archaeologists estimate that such a freak flood can only occur once every 100 years.

Before the flood, rain initially started with a light drizzle that was welcomed by farmers in the area, since it didn't rain often. But, the soil of the area is of such a nature that it can't absorb much rainwater. The consequence is that water drains directly into the rivers. Water built up in both the Baviaans and Buffels Rivers and their confluence at the little town. The rivers quickly grew from normally small streams to a roaring wall of water almost 6 m high. Within hours the whole town was under water and residents had to fight for their lives.

Economy[edit]

Laingsburg's economy is mainly based on farming of goats, sheep, lucerne (Alfalfa), fruit and vegetables.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Main Place Laingsburg". Census 2011. 
  2. ^ Burman, Jose (1984). Early Railways at the Cape. Cape Town. Human & Rousseau, p.58. ISBN 0-7981-1760-5
  3. ^ Royal Colonial Society: Proceedings of the Royal Colonial Institute. Northumberland Avenue, London. 1898. p.26. "The Railway System of South Africa".

External links[edit]