- North West
Lichtenburg is not just a convenient stopover en-route to the Mmabatho Casino but is a pretty little town worth of a visit for its quaint tranquillity, sense of history and calm that the little town offers visitors. Full of rich history, Lichtenburg is a town which would excite all history enthusiasts. The Ampie Bosman Museum exhibits cover the founding and development of the town, discovery of the local diamond fields, the siege of Lichtenburg during the Anglo-Boer War (899-1902) and much more. In the spacious central square stands a superb equestrian statue of Gen Jacobus de la Rey on his horse “Bokkie”, the Anglo-Boer War leader.
There are a few outdoor activities for the adventure seekers, the Lichtenburg Game Breeding Centre outside town provides a good viewing of animals and the hide at the vulture restaurant allows visitors to view these magnificent birds at close quarters. The Molemane Eye Nature Reserve is a great weekend getaway venue, the centre of the reserve is a natural well with half of the water filtering into a dam and the rest turning a water wheel which keeps and old mill working. The Mill is a great place to visit and is also a national monument.
Lichtenburg has a number of B&B’s and Guesthouse which offer comfortable overnight accommodation for visitors.
Things to do and see
- De La Rey Statue
- Dutch Reformed Church
- Old Plantation House
- De La Rey Grave
- Lichtenburg Game Breeding Farm
- Ampie Bosman Cultural Museum
Lichtenburg receives approximately 601 mm of rain annually with most rainfall occurring during the Summer months.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 13˚C and 29˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 1˚C and 21˚C.
There are daily domestic and international flights into Johannesburg’s, O R Tambo International Airport approximately 260 km away via the N12 and N14 as well as Lanseria Airport approximately 220 km’s away via the R509 and R52. Car rental companies are available at the airports.
The town was established on the farms Middelbosch and Doornfontein which were presented for this purpose to the Transvaal Republic by Commandant Hendrik Greeff in 1866.
When President Thomas Burgers named Lichtenburg (town of light) in 1873 he said he hoped that it would be a beacon of progress, whose light would shine over the area, not just for its hospitality and prosperity, but also in respect of religion. More progress than he had dreamed of hit this remote, rural community 33 years later when it became the scene of the greatest diamond rush of all.
It all started on 13 March 1926 when Jacobus Voorendyk, son of the postmaster of Lichtenburg, found a single diamond while digging fence holes on the family farm Elandsputte. The diamonds of Lichtenburg were excellent gem stones and the biggest pure red diamond ("pigeon blood red") in the world was found here.
Within 12 months there were 108 000 fortune-hunters on the scene, and it became the biggest diamond rush of all. By 1935 the rush was over after 7 million carats of diamonds were discovered.
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