15 February 2013 by Chris Marais

Hanover cure

From stylish churches to sheepy bars, Hanover on the N1 is a surprisingly enticing little stopover.

Sunflower blooms at the Hanover Mother Church

Hanover is a small village in the Karoo that markets itself as an oasis for N1 travellers on the Jo’burg-Cape Town run.

I went there recently to photograph some lesser kestrels, as this is where thousands of those little Kazakh raptors like to stay when they’re visiting South Africa.

One of the best views in the Karoo is from the top of Trappieskoppie (Hill of Stairs) overlooking Hanover and the vastness beyond, framed by rows of conical hills.

Another lesser-known view – and one I was privileged to discover – is from the inside of the bell tower of the Mother Church.

There’s no doubt that Hanover has a wonderful Mother Church. It looks like a Gothic space ship in pre-launch mode. They told me they used to power the chandeliers inside the church with methane trapped from the emissions of the many thousands of local sheep. Believe it or not, I say.

So that’s how I found myself traipsing up three nearly vertical flights of stairs, to be Quasimodo for a minute or two before the church service began and the massive ringing bell could burst my eardrums. I took the picture of the Burmester bell clock at ten to nine and scuttled out of there, not even bothering to yell ‘Sanctuary!’

Regular church-goers looked on in amazement as I disappeared down the road, covered in many decades of pigeon droppings.

Regular church-goers looked on in amazement as I disappeared down the road, covered in many decades of pigeon droppings.

Minutes later I was in the Hanover Lodge, calming my shattered nerves with a Sheep-a-Chino (you could also order a Ram-a-Chino or a Lamb-a-Chino) in the Baa. You see, this particular ‘baa’ is packed to the rafters with sheeparobilia – or is that sheepmentoes? I can never tell.

The local farmers inundated owners Beryl and Eddie Larkman with all their sheep stuff when they heard there was going to be a bar-museum in honour of Hanover’s most famous product. Come for the lesser kestrels and drink to the sheep...

Category: Attractions


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