Kimberley is the capital of the Northern Cape Province. It is situated about 110 km east of the confluence of the Orange and Vaal Rivers, and has considerable historical significance due to its diamond wealth and the siege that took place there during the Second Boer War.
Cecil John Rhodes and Barney Barnato made their fortunes in Kimberley, and it was here that the world-famous De Beers Consolidated Mining Company started. As a tourist destination, Kimberley is a true gem. Here are but a few activities for you to explore while you are in town.
The Big Hole
You can’t visit Kimberley without a trip to The Big Hole. Learn about the history around the first diamond found in 1866 South Africa. Find out how a featureless, flat-topped hill became the largest hand-dug excavation site in the world. Tours are conducted, and a memorable activity is a visit to the Old Town, next to the big hole. Step back in time and discover how our ancestors struck the big time!
The William Humphreys Art Gallery
One of South Africa’s most prestigious art museums, this gallery opened its doors in 1952. The Gallery’s namesake, William Humphreys, donated his personal collection of 16th and 17th centurion Dutch and Flemish Old Masters, British and French paintings, antique furniture and other valuable art pieces.
Anglo-Boer War Memorials
History enthusiasts love Kimberley and surrounds for the ample war stories of days gone by. One of the most impressive memorials is the Celtic Cross, erected in memory of the Highland Brigade fatalities at Magersfontein. Both British and Boer losses are commemorated at Magersfontein. The Honoured Dead Memorial was designed by the famous architect, Sir Herbert Baker, designer of the Union Buildings in Pretoria. It is situated at the highest point in Kimberley and is considered among the finest memorials in South Africa.
Relish the glorious architecture of a bygone era with a visit to the Kimberley City Hall, designed by Fergus Carstairs Rogers and build in 1899 just prior to the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War. It served as a rations distribution point during the Siege of Kimberley.
Freddie Tait Golf Museum
South Africa’s first museum dedicated to golfing is situated at the Kimberley Golf Club. Golf artefacts and trophies are on display here. The museum’s namesake was an amateur British golf champion in 1896 and 1898. He died during an Anglo-Boer War skirmish near Kimberley in 1900.
The McGregor Museum
This museum features dazzling displays of natural history and the environment, and is the principal research institution in the Northern Cape. Well worth a visit.
Star of the West
Toast the past in Kimberley’s oldest pub, and consider doing the official ‘pub crawl’ of historic pubs in town.