Uniondale and the Boer War.

History of Uniondale

Province: Western Cape
Garden Route
Coordinates:33°39′33″S 23°7′26″E
Area:18.90 km2
Municipality; George

Karoo town

Uniondale is a small town in the Little Karoo. It traces its roots back to 1765 when Matthuys Zondagh was granted a loan farm called Rietvlei.  In 1856 new owners established a village and called it Hopedale.  Four years later a neighbouring farm did a similar thing and called it Lyon. In 1865 the two towns of Hopedale and Lyons were joined and called Uniondale. A church was built between the two villages. The town thrived over a century ago when it was a stopover for supplies coming from the coast to the inland areas. Wood was brought over the mountains to Uniondale where it was cured.  Wagon-making was an important industry here and so was ostrich farming. Currently, the town is the centre of a district where various types of farming are done, such as sheep, tobacco, and deciduous fruit.

Anglo-Boer war shenanigans

During the Anglo-Boer War, Uniondale residents felt that the war was far away, even when they heard that commandos had reached the Cape Colony. At the time the British authorities did not feel it necessary to alert towns such as Uniondale and Willowmore in order to check their defenses. Willowmore was attacked by a commando under General Scheepers in January 1901. Willowmore residents both white and coloured put up resistance and the attack moved to Uniondale. Those who could evacuate did, but It was too late to make arrangements to repel the attackers and on the 20th of January the commando of about 50 men rode into town.
The commando was met by the town magistrate. Scheepers demanded the keys to the courthouse and jail, and they seized all the available horses. The next day the Boers freed all the “white” prisoners and incarcerated the magistrate, the jailer, and the English Church Minister.
That evening the Boers drank coffee and enjoyed the company of the local girls and had breakfast the next day at the hotel, but a messenger arrived with the news that a relief force was on the way so the Boers left post haste. The British force had to release the prisoners and shortly thereafter a town commandant was appointed. Several fortresses from the time can be found in the area.

Local ghost story

The town is however famous for the “hitchhiker ghost.” In 1968 there was a terrible car accident where a young woman was killed. Many travelers in the area tell of a female hitchhiker who after being picked up in a car or on a motorbike disappears after a few kilometres.

The license plate prefix for Uniondale is CCO and the postcode is 6460 (Streets and Boxes)


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Things to see and do in Uniondale

  • Uniondale often plays host to vintage and veteran car clubs, who pass through on their way to rallies.
  • There are 4 Anglo-Boer War forts in the area
    1) co-ordinates S33° 39.6’ E23°08.0’.
    2) co-ordinates S33° 39.7’ E23° 08.0’.
    3)co-ordinates S33° 38.9’ E23° 08.5’
    4) co-ordinates S33° 38.6’ E23° 07.5’
  • Gouritz Biosphere
  • There are seven national monuments in the town
  • Prince Alfred’s pass
  • Uniondale heights
  • Uniondale Poort
  • Uniondale has a number of resident artists including glass, mosaic, pottery and sculpture artists.,
  • There are so many good dirt roads around Uniondale, which create wonderful opportunities for mountain and offroad biking
  • Market every last Saturday of the month 9.00 am 044 752 1076
  • The water mill was built in 1852 and was used for over a century.


Useful Numbers in Uniondale

  • Municipality (Uniondale): 044 752 1024
  • Police: 044 752 6600
  • Traffic department: Municipal: 044 801 6300-Provincial: 044 805 5071
  • Fire: George 044 801 6300
  • Water:
  • Electricity:
  • Ambulance: 10177
  • Post office; 044 752 1020
  • Library:044 752 1024
  • Closest hospital;044 752 1068
  • Clinic;044 752 1138
  • Pharmacy; Spar – 044 752 1238SPCA: Garden Route -044 878 1990/1993, Mobile: 082 3787384,
  • Schools: Uniondale High School-044 752 1033
    Dirk Boshoff Primary School-044 752 1096
  • Tourism-044 752 1076                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           [/vc_column_text]

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