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Kimberley, thanks to the fevered diamond rush of the 1870s, has a glittering past. If you’re a history buff, then you’ll know that South Africa has its past rooted in the ground and this historic little town, the capital of the Northern Cape province is lovingly known as the Diamond City.
Immerse yourself as you take a guided tour of a once-operational diamond mine and descend a staggering 840m underground. When you return to the surface and the need blue skies above you, visit the city's choice of jewellery stores.
SStart your exploration of the city at its main attraction: the Big Hole. Imagine a hand-dug hole the size of eight football fields and you have some idea of the labour that went into creating the Big Hole. In fact, the Big Hole is one of the world’s largest holes excavated by hand.
Right next to the Big Hole is the Kimberley Mine Museum, which brings to life the way the city was during the bustling days of the diamond rush. Many of the buildings here are originals that have been moved over the years to this spot.
AA 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 the diamond trade. This is where South Africa's mining dynasty's patriarch, Harry Oppenheimer, was born. It's said that there was once more millionaires in this area than anywhere else in the world.
Art lovers are also in for a treat at the Wildebeest Kuil Rock Art Centre which 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.
Kimberley, Northern Cape
FFor the military history buff discover more about when the Boers besieged Kimberley for several months during the South African War (also called the Anglo-Boer War), the many key battles waged. You may also want to visit the Magersfontein Battlefield, dating back to 1899, with its museum which is about 30km from Kimberley to catch a glimpse into this conflict of the past.
Being the diamond capital of the world, Kimberley is well-known for its exquisite, individually crafted jewellery. When you visit, be sure to get yourself a precious personalised memento of your trip to Kimberley, the Diamond City.