city in the Northern Cape, South Africa
Africa > Southern Africa > South Africa > Northern Cape > Diamond Fields > Kimberley (Northern Cape)

Kimberley is the capital of the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. Amongst other things, it is famous for its Big Hole, the world's largest hand-dug excavation that was created when thousands of people searched for diamonds at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. By 14 August 1914, 22.7 billion kg of rock had been excavated, yielding 2722 kg of diamonds.

The Big Hole.

Get in edit

By car edit

The N12 links Kimberley with Johannesburg (about 500 km to the north-east) and Cape Town (about 1000km to the south-west).

The N8 links Kimberley with Bloemfontein (about 160 km to the east) and Upington (about 400km to the west).

Distances edit

By bus edit

Bus services are available to and from most parts of the country with numerous companies. Intercape has one of the largest networks.

By plane edit

By train edit

Shosholoza Meyl[dead link] operates inter-city trains to Cape Town, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Pietermaritzburg and Durban. Departures are generally 2-3 times per week. You can also get to Port Elizabeth, Grahamstown and East London by changing trains in Bloemfontein.

  • 2 Kimberley railway station, Goodwin St (Just east of city centre, off Quinn St).    

Get around edit

Map of Kimberley (Northern Cape)

See edit

Old time pub exhibit in the Open Mine Museum.

Kimberley and its environs have a very wide variety of tourist attractions and museums from which the visitor can choose. A selection of these can be seen at Kimberley's unofficial website.

  • 1 Big Hole and Open Mine Museum. At the western side of the Big Hole is the Open Mine Museum. Consisting of original and carefully reconstructed buildings this museum has preserved a great deal of the city's past. The Eureka, the first recorded diamond discovered in South Africa, can be viewed at the museum. Have some fun sifting through diamond bearing gravel, looking for your own diamond. Experience a diamond mining operation - complete with blastings! Play skittles in the old bowling alley, or stroll through the old buildings which have been reconstructed here at the museum. The Occidental Bar & Restaurant is on site. Entrance 120 rand (2019).    

Other museums edit

  • 2 McGregor Museum, 7-11 Atlas St, +27 53 839 2700. Constructed in 1897 by De Beers as a sanatorium, the building has served as a luxury hotel (Hotel Belgrave) and later as a convent school. The museum provides research and advice to a wide range of community projects throughout the Northern Cape.    
  • 3 Kimberley History Museum, 18 Chapel St, +27 53 839 2700. Also known as the Alexander Mcgregor Memorial Museum. The museum will cover the history of the city.
  • 4 William Humphreys Art Gallery, 1 Cullinan Cres, Civic Centre, +27 53 831 1724. M-F 09:30-15:30. One of the most important galleries in the country, the WHAG houses a collection of traditional and contemporary South African graphics, sculptures and paintings. It hosts many special exhibitions from time to time.
  • Magersfontein Battlefield and Museum (About 30 km south of Kimberley, drive via the Airport Road, or N12 and turn into Modder River). On the site is an small office and restaurant as well as restrooms. Scattered around is look-out sites and information signs, guiding the visitor. The whole area is fenced in and there is an small fee to enter the compound. You need a car, sunscreen and plenty of water - distances can be long, and you will need to walk to some of the monuments. For some of the smaller roads in the area an 4x4 vehicle can be helpful.
  • 5 Duggan-Cronin Gallery, 17 Egerton Rd. Exhibits indigenous cultures and lifestyles in some 8000 photographs taken by Irishman AM Duggan Cronin between 1919 and 1939 are just some of the invaluable ethnographic collection.    

Buildings and memorials edit

  • 6 Honoured Dead Memorial. This memorial commemorates those who lost their lives defending Kimberley during the 124 day siege of Kimberley at the start of the 1899 - 1902 Anglo Boer War. "Long Cecil", the gun named after Rhodes and built in the De Beers Workshops during the siege, stands on the stylobate of the monument.    
  • Diggers' Memorial. erected in honour of diggers past and present. This fountain you will find in the Ernest Oppenheimer Gardens. The gardens are a memorial to the late Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, a mining magnate. He was the first mayor of Kimberley when Beaconsfield and Kimberley were combined into a city in 1912.
  • Memorial to the Pioneers of Aviation. Established in 1912/13. The birthplace of the South African Air Force. It is a reconstruction of the hangar, with a replica of the Compton Paterson bi-plane used in flight training. Just past the airport on the way to Magersfontein.
  • Rudd House. Formerly the lavish home of HP Rudd, a mining magnate. It was restored to its full grandeur by the McGregor Museum. It was declared a national monument in 1990. This house can be viewed by appointment with the McGregor Museum.
  • Dunluce. An elegant home built in 1897 for Gustav Bonas. It was John Orr's family home from 1902 to 1975. It was declared a national monument in 1990. This home may be viewed by appointment with the McGregor Museum.
  • Kimberley City Hall. The City Hall was built in 1899. It was completed just before the start of the Anglo- Boer War.
  • The Kimberley Club. Established in 1881, and a national monument since 1984. Some of its more famous members were Cecil John Rhodes, Barney Barnato, Sir Ernest Oppenheimer and Harry Oppenheimer. Renovated and upgraded to 4/5 star standards in 2005, it is now also a boutique hotel.
  • Harry Oppenheimer House, 8 Tiffany Cres, Civic Centre. Diamonds from all over South Africa are sorted daily inside this building. Since diamonds are best sorted by gentle natural light, the building has windows only on the south side to prevent direct sunlight from entering. The building is not open to the public.
  • The Halfway House Inn, half way between Kimberley city centre and Beaconsfield. "The Half" was, and still is, a drive-in pub (believed to be the only one remaining in the world). Legend has it that the original "driver" was Cecil Rhodes on his horse, en route between his mining interests in Kimberley and Beaconsfield. Another legend has it that when instructed by the municipality to erect a 6ft [2m] wall around the front of the premises, the then owners of "The Half" dug a 6ft deep trench and erected the wall in the bottom of that. (Apparently these both fall into the category of "urban legends" - but they make good yarns to tell visitors!)

Do edit

  • 1 Mokala National Park.    
  • Flamingo Island. Birdwatchers will be interested to know that this new bird breeding facility has been built at Kamfers Dam (7 km north of the city). The island is home to the Lesser Flamingo and is one of only four places in the whole of Africa (and the only locality in South Africa) where they breed. Kamfers Dam supports the largest permanent population of Lesser Flamingos in southern Africa, with at times up to an estimated 60,000 individuals (comprising more than 50% of the southern African population).

Buy edit

Eat edit

Kimberley has a very wide variety of restaurants from which the visitor can choose.

Drink edit

Kimberley has a very wide variety of pubs from which the visitor can choose.

  • 1 Star of the West Bar and Restaurant, 2 N Circular Rd, +27 87 527 0255. One of the country's oldest pubs, "The Star" still operates near the Kimberley Mine Museum. It was built in the early 1870s from wood and iron and granted its first liquor licence in 1873. The Kimberley tram stops on request outside the pub for those who wish to take a closer look, or to partake of a little light refreshment. This pub was declared a national monument in 1990.

Sleep edit

Kimberley has a very wide variety of hotels, backpacker hostels, lodges, guest houses and bed & breakfast establishments from which the visitor can choose.

Go next edit

Get to know the Northern Cape Karoo around Kimberley.

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