Kimberley, the capital of the Northern Cape province, is known as the Diamond City. Being the diamond capital of the world, Kimberley is well-known for its exquisite, individually crafted jewellery.
The main attraction in Kimberley is the Big Hole – a hand-dug hole the size of eight football fields. Adjacent to the Big Hole is the Kimberley Mine Museum, which brings to life the way the city was during the frenetic days of the diamond rush. Many of the buildings here are originals that have been moved over the years to this spot.
A few kilometres from the city centre lies Kimberley’s oldest residential suburb, Belgravia, which dates back to the 1870s. These homes were built at the peak of diamond trade. This is where South Africa’s mining dynasty’s patriarch, Harry Oppenheimer, was born.
Art lovers are also in for a treat. The Wildebeest Kuil Rock Art Centre showcases San art, both ancient rock art and contemporary creations. Not far away is the William Humphreys Art Gallery, specialising in South African artists but also offering a fine collection of 16th and 17th century Flemish, Dutch, English and French masters.
If you’re a battlefields buff, you’re in for a treat. The Boers besieged Kimberley for several months during the Anglo-Boer War and many battles were fought in the vicinity. Visit the evocative Magersfontein battlefield, dating to 1899, and museum about 30 kilometres from Kimberley.
- BEST TIME TO VISIT
The cooler months in spring (August, September) and autumn (March, April) are recommended. Kimberley can get very hot in summer (December to March) and very cold in winter (May, June and July).
- AROUND THE AREA
Grab a taste of Southern Africa’s pastoral life at the world famous Duggan-Cronin Gallery, displaying a collection of 8 000 priceless ethnographic photographs taken on expeditions into rural Southern Africa between 1919 and 1939.
- TOURS TO DO
Visit the Big Hole, the Magersfontein battlefield and the Wildebeest Kuil Rock Art Centre. There is loads to do in Kimberley, though, so you could spend several days here.
- GET AROUND
Kimberley is the only South African city with an operational tram system, dating back to the time of the diamond rush.