History of Laingsburg

Province: Western Cape
Central Karoo
Coordinates:33°11′42″S 20°51′33″E
Area:723.72 km2
Municipality: Laingsburg

The area where Laingsberg was established close to the banks of the Buffels River has long been at the mercy of the flooding rivers. As far back as 1776 Dutch settlers recorded flooding in the area.
When the railway reached here in 1879 Stephanus Greeff bought the farm Zoute Vlakte or Salt Flats, and later also the farm Vischkuil-aan-de-Buffelsriver, or Fishpool on the Buffalo River with the plan to establish a settlement. This was known as Buffelsrivier, later changed to Nassau. A further change brought the name Laings Town which then changed to Laingsburg after John Laing the Commissioner of Crown Lands in the Cape Colony. The town grew slowly, there was also constant conflict with the indigenous San and Bushmen people who naturally resented the influx of settlers on their land, A new group of settlers arrived in 1881 and Laingsberg became a municipality in 1904.
Laingsberg was the site of some action during the Anglo-Boer war. Three blockhouses were built by the British to defend against the Boer commandos which infiltrated the British Cape colony Several skirmishes occurred in the area and. Gideon Scheepers, the renowned Boer commandant, was captured. He was later executed by the British in Graaff Reinet.


In 1981 after 3 days of heavy rain, the rivers in the area which are usually dry became flooded which caused the collapse of the Floriskraal dam wall. A wall of water swept down towards Laingsberg. The water level was 10 metres above normal. Houses, people vehicles, and animals were swept away. The town was a scene of destruction where two-thirds of the infrastructure was ruined. The flood was so large and powerful that some bodies and debris were found in Mossel Bay some 200 km away. There were further floods in 2008 and again in 2014 but there was a lot less damage. There is, however, a constant threat of a repeat of the tragedy

The license plate prefix for Laingsberg CBM and the postcode is 6900

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Useful Numbers

  • Police: 023 551 8200
  • Traffic department: 023 551 1021
  • Municipality; 023 551 1019
  • Fire: 023 55 1019
  • Water:023 551 1019
  • Electricity: 023 551 1019
  • Ambulance:10177
  • Post office; 023 551 1073
  • Library: 023 551 1019
  • Closest hospital; 023 551 1237
  • Pharmacy; 38 voortrekker st laingsberg
  • SPCA: Diere in nood 0827305597/071 419 5977/0840750241
  • Schools: Accacia primary 023 551 1191
    Laingsberg high school 023 551 1029
  • Tourism 023 551 1868
  • Museum; 023 551 1868

 

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