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What began as a discovery of a small shiny stone on the Orange River in 1866 culminated in an enormous diamond rush to the Kimberley area 5 years later, and eventually resulted in a town now firmly associated with diamonds. Kimberley is the capital of the Northern Cape Province in South Africa and takes its name from the Earl of Kimberley who annexed the diamond mines for Britain in 1873.
Kimberley’s most striking feature is the Big Hole, a gigantic hole created by miners seeking instant wealth. This massive manmade hole conceals the suffering and sacrifice made to source the jewels during the diamond boom that lasted for 43 years.
It was diamonds that contributed to the wealth of the city too, with the De Beers mining company and other corporates responsible for the architectural gems found in the town centre.
When viewed from high above, the roads radiating out in all directions appear as the legs of a spider with Kimberley at the centre, an oasis in a semi-arid land.
Top 8 reasons to visit Kimberley
1. Walk the streets to appreciate the charming Herbert Baker-designed buildings and the memorials, busts and decorative fountains scattered throughout the town. Kimberley is a town of Southern Hemisphere firsts: first with electric street lighting, first to host a world exhibition and the first flying school established here.
2. A tour of the Big Hole is an absolute must to gain an appreciation of the effort undertaken by miners to dig this vast hole. Climb the ramp to the viewing deck, join an underground tour then explore the old town. Several eateries are onsite and the venue hosts an annual international skateboarding event.
3. A visit to the last remaining drive-in pub at the historic Halfway Hotel is worth a drink! The hotel was granted a drive-in liquor licence in the 1870s to serve... Show more