Kimberley, Northern Cape, South Africa

Kimberley, Northern Cape.

Kimberley has a fascinating and interesting history. It started when the first diamond was found in South Africa in 1867. A farm boy discovered a beautiful glittering stone and took it home to show his family. His parents had it evaluated and identified it as a diamond.

The famous Kimberley 'Diamond Rush' only occurred 3 years later, when a handful of diamonds was discovered on the Zandfontein farm of Nicholaas de Beers. Over 30 000 people arrived in search of these precious stones, and the de Beers happily sold their farm for 6 300 pounds.

The best diamond discoveries were found on Colesberg Koppie, the site of the Kimberley mine. A shaft was drilled into the earth of the hill, eventually becoming the deepest hole ever dug by man, The Big Hole of Kimberley, and the town's biggest attraction.

The Kimberley Mine Museum is a reconstructed mining town built around the 'Big Hole'. It is a huge monument demonstrating the lengths and depths a human will go to discover these priceless gems.

It was only due to the existence of the giant diamond pipe that the town ever developed. Interestingly enough, the rock that diamonds are found in is called kimberlite.

The town also plays host to a fascinating rock art site. These rock engravings depict a strange array of abstract shapes and designs.

Kimberley is an interesting and worthwhile town to visit, but is also a great stopover en route to Cape Town and Johannesburg on the N2. Kimberley houses a small airport, but the slightly busier airport is located in Bloemfontein, just 200 kilometres (120 miles) away along the N8.

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