Choose your country and language:

Africa

  • Global
  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • DRC
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Americas

  • USA
  • Argentina
  • Brazil

Asia Pacific

  • China
  • India
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Australia

Europe

  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • United Kingdom
Back

IIt was a wild and crazy time. People from all over the world descended on diamond-rush Kimberley in the hope of making a fast fortune from the glittering gems. It was the first town in Africa to have electrical streetlights and the Kimberley tram made its first journey in 1887.

The vintage Kimberley tram dates back to a time when the town was the “bright lights, big city” of Africa. Prospectors from the far corners of the world made their way to diamond-rush Kimberley and transformed a hill where diamonds were discovered in 1871 into the historic Big Hole.

Did You Know?
TThe Big Hole is 214m deep and has a perimeter of 1.6km.

RRetailers, drinking spots, houses, gambling joints and dance halls sprang up around the Big Hole and Kimberley became a magnet for adventurers, swindlers, rogues and ladies of the night. By 1887, when the tram first started transporting people to the ever-expanding Big Hole, the town was flourishing.

NNow you can take the 20-minute ride on the vintage tram around the Big Hole. The tram is painted orange, as it has always been, and has been well maintained with its original wooden seats and steering on both sides.

Tickets are sold on the tram, which starts at the Kimberley Mine Museum situated in original and meticulously reconstructed buildings. Here you can experience what it was like for the original diamond miners to go down a mineshaft in a lift or “cage”. Simulated dynamite explosions add to the realism.

Kimberley’s vintage trams, Northern Cape

Food
When to visit
How to get here

TThe Kimberley Mine Museum is home to the Eureka, the first diamond discovered in the region and arguably the single most important gem in South Africa’s mining history.

The tram heads from the museum past historical features such as the original mining shaft and the authentic West End bar. The tram journeys round the Big Hole to the viewing deck where visitors have a visceral view into it, before making its way back again.

Who to contact
How to get here
Around the area
What will it cost
Length of stay
Where to stay

Related articles

The Upper Karoo Route: meander through Northern Cape from Victoria West to Calvinia

The Upper Karoo Route: meander through Northern Cape from Victoria West to Calvinia

The Upper Karoo Route from Victoria West to Calvinia via Carnarvon offers the beautiful landscape of Northern Cape (strewn with daisies in spring), rare wildlife and a thriving, hospitable culture.

Weddings in Northern Cape: lush riverside farms and dramatic desert landscapes

Weddings in Northern Cape: lush riverside farms and dramatic desert landscapes

Northern Cape is a vast arid province bisected by the Orange River – a superb wedding destination, whether among lush vineyard greenery, spring wildflowers, or the stark dry beauty of the Kalahari.

Northern Cape: wide-open spaces filled with wildflowers, diamonds and wildlife

Northern Cape: wide-open spaces filled with wildflowers, diamonds and wildlife

Northern Cape is South Africa’s driest province, where the arid Karoo merges with the true desert of the Kalahari – but it offers wildlife aplenty, a mighty life-giving river and spectacular scenery.

The Wild Flower Route through Northern Cape: feast your eyes and soul on the pride of Namaqualand

The Wild Flower Route through Northern Cape: feast your eyes and soul on the pride of Namaqualand

The Wild Flower Route through Northern Cape province is a wonderland in spring, featuring legendary Namaqualand daisies and thousands more species, and again in autumn when the amaryllis bloom.

The Diamond Coast, Northern Cape: shipwrecks, diamonds and romance await

The Diamond Coast, Northern Cape: shipwrecks, diamonds and romance await

Northern Cape’s Diamond Coast – from Port Nolloth to Alexander Bay – is perfect for romantic getaways featuring shipwrecks, glorious scenery and spring flowers… and sparkly gems!

Riemvasmaak Community Conservancy, Northern Cape: canyons and hot springs amid otherworldly desert silence

Riemvasmaak Community Conservancy, Northern Cape: canyons and hot springs amid otherworldly desert silence

The Riemvasmaak Community Conservancy in Northern Cape: hike, drive or bike silent Kalahari Desert splendour amid canyons and hot springs, hosted by survivors of apartheid’s forced removals.

The Richtersveld World Heritage Site: conserving a botanical treasure in Northern Cape

The Richtersveld World Heritage Site: conserving a botanical treasure in Northern Cape

The Richtersveld Community Conservancy – since 2007 a World Heritage Site – has a brilliant array of hardy plants adapted to the arid climate, and an ancient tradition of nomadic seasonal herding.

South Africa’s planetariums: a journey into the universe

South Africa’s planetariums: a journey into the universe

South Africa has 2 planetariums – Iziko Planetarium in Cape Town and Wits Planetarium in Johannesburg – and both are centrally located… and ready to blow your mind with the wonders of the universe.

South Africa on social media

Copyright © 2020 South African Tourism
|Terms and conditions|Disclaimer|Privacy policy