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City Kimberley

Kimberly is the capital of the province of Northern Cape and has historically and economically been a place of great importance for South Africa. In 1866, Erasmus Jacobs found a glittering stone on the banks of the Orange River in the land where his father was a farmer. The stone turned out to be a 21.25 carat diamond and is known as the "Eureka". In 1869 "Star of South Africa" found an even bigger diamond in the same area. This diamond called and was sold for £ 25,000 in England. Then in 1971 again it was at Colesburg Koppie a larger diamond was found (83.50 carats, 16.7 grams) and then the diamond fever really broke loose. Thousands of miners came to the area which was renamed New Rush and the hill where the diamonds were discovered has been changed over the years with tilts and pickaxes in a huge hole. On July 5, 1873 New Rush was named Kimberley, after the English Lord Kimberley who ruled the area.

The Kimberley Mine was always called The Big Hole or in Afrikaans "Die Groot Gat". The mine was in business from July 1871 to 1914 and in total, no less than 2722 kilograms of unearthed diamonds. The Big Hole has an area of ​​17 hectares and is 463 meters wide. The mine was dug up to 240 meters, but underground passages went to almost 1100 meters. The hole was partially backfilled after the closure of ground which caused that the depth was reduced to 215 meters. Today, there is water in this vast man-dug hole and you can see about 175 meters in depth. This is still a very impressive picture partly because of the enormous size of the former mine. In 2005 (much smaller) the surrounding three mines were closed.

A visit to the Kimberley Mine Museum and The Big Hole is well worth it when traveling through this area. This open air museum shows how life was in the days of the diamond rush in Kimberley. Some of the shiny stones are exhibited there. The museum is open daily.

In addition to the mining museum you can also take a historical walk through the suburb of Belgravia. Here is the typical architecture from the time of the Diamond Rush. Belgravia Historic Walk is a short walk of about 2 kilometers.

For art lovers, there is the McGregor Museum, which opened in 1907 and the William Humphreys Art Gallery with a fine collection of paintings ranging from Old Dutch and Belgian masters to South African artists.

To the north of Kimberley, you can find the 400 hectares Camphor Dam. The dam is an artificial island constructed and it is now a very popular breeding ground for flamingos. Between 20 000 and 50 000 flamingos can be seen there.

The luxury trains of Rovos Rail and the Blue Train stop at Kimberley on their route between Pretoria and Cape Town. Want to know more about the luxury train tours that stop at The Big Hole? Look at the following options: 2 day luxury train journey by Blue Train or 3 day luxury train journey by Rovos Rail.

Your holiday begins at South Africa Specialist!