- Northern Cape
More than just a 'Big Hole'!
Kimberley is the capital of the Northern Cape and is famous for its diamonds. It not only has a history immersed in diamonds, but also its’ main attraction, the “Big Hole”. The huge circular pit is right in the middle of town, a huge crater dug almost entirely with picks and shovels in an effort to reach the valuable stones. Today it remains the biggest attraction and has been cleverly converted into an open air museum.
The city has considerable historical significance due to its diamond mining past and siege during the Second Boer War. Notable personalities such as Cecil John Rhodes made his fortune here and the roots of the De Beers Corporation can also be traced to the early days of this mining town. Kimberley and the surrounding area boasts a wide selection of tourist attractions such as Monuments, Art Galleries, Museums and even a ghost trail that takes visitors to all the haunted corners of the city – and there are plenty! Visitors can take a walk through the historical City Centre and visit old Victorian homes or take a guided underground tour at the De Beers Diamond Mine.
Kimberley has all types of accommodation in and around the city which includes lodges, hotels, guesthouses, B&B’s and backpackers. The city is a popular alternative route stopover for tourists travelling between Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Today Kimberley is a modern city with comfortable Hotels, attractive gardens, busy shopping centres and broad tree-lined streets, but the adventure and drama of its past is ever present and it is easy to picture the old shanty town once home to diggers, gamblers and “ladies” of ill repute.
Places to Visit
Things to do and see
- The Big Hole & Mine Museum
- Kimberley Vintage Tram
- McGregor Museum
- Sol Plaatje Museum
- Kimberley Station & Fountains
- Honoured Dead Memorial
- Flamingo Casino
- Kamfers Dam
- Old Kimberley Club
- Rudd House
- Magersfontein Anglo Boer War Battlefield
- William Humphrey’s Art Gallery
- Mokala National Park
- Kimberley Golf Course
- Oppenheimers Gardens & Diggers Memorial
- Kimberley Ghost Trail
Kimberley experiences rainfall mainly in the summer months with the highest occurring in February and March.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 17˚C and 32˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 0˚C and 17˚C.
August – Gariep Arts Festival: Four days of Productions and artists performing in over 4 venues and on open air stages, art and food markets and fun faire.
Some cities grow up on the banks of mighty rivers, others in fertile valleys. Some sprawl around natural harbours. Kimberley is the city that grew up around a great big hole in the ground.
Diamond rushes in South Africa are like tropical storms that strike unpredictably and are ruthless in their effect on the surroundings. The first rush into the Kimberly area was in 1869 when diamonds were found in the walls of the farmhouse on Bultfontein. Enthusiastic diggers eventually pulled the house down, and pegged out the area of the homestead. But that was not the Big Hole.
Some 22 months after the Bultfontein finds, diamonds were discovered on a nearby hillock subsequently named Colesberg Koppie. There was a frantic rush and soon the entire hillock had vanished to be replaced by a hole which rapidly reached colossal proportions. Around the verges of this vast hole buildings sprang up. The mushrooming town was named after the Earl of Kimberley, the secretary of state for colonies.
The twin town of Beaconsfield grew up as a centre for the diggings of Bultfontein and Dutoitspan and later Wesselton. Kimberley and Beaconsfield eventually combined in 1913 and became a city.
From our gallery
Beaconsfield is the name of a suburb of Kimberley, South Africa. It was formerly known as Du Toit's Pan. Du Toit's Pan was one of the earliest diamond mining camps. Du Toit's Pan is also the name of the main road extending southwards from the…More
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