Monday, June 23, 2008

Discover the Northern Cape, South Africa

Discover the Northern Cape for real adventure

Adventure can be different things to different people. The dictionary states that it is the encountering of risks, hazards and enterprise a bold undertaking in Which hazards are to be encountere; a daring feat; a remarkable occurrence; a striking event; a stirring incident; as in the adventures of one’s life.

The Northern Cape’s vastness san everlasting challenge to eco-adventurers who are keen to explore. Climatic and topographic extremes dominate a vast land of stark arid varying contrasts. From its endless, flower-carpeted flatlands and scrub-covered plains to the jagged edges and convoluted folds of molten mountains, it is a land of haunting natural beauty. After scaling dizzying heights in searing temperatures with sweat-burned eyes, you feel mystery and wonder imbuing your every sense while gazing down on the broad, cooling waters snaking their (way through the seemingly impregnable mountain moonscape.

Visitors are rewarded with experiences that press on their minds. The open, often unpopulated spaces of the Northern Cape call them back again and again to hike its rugged trails, shoot its turbulent rapids, fish its living rivers ail its sapphire skies explore its many back-roads, view its splendid game, revel in its unusual flora and explore the brooding chambers of its worked-out mines.

This information is in no way complete but it should give you the taste to explore for more!

4x4 Trails and Challenges

Take rugged mountains, endless flatlands and undulating dunes. Add to this diverse scenery, stunning plant life and plentiful game and you have a recipe that will please all 4x4 eco-adventurers. Here are a few of the trails you can undertake:

  • Egerton Trail Travel vast open plains and absorb the unique rugged beauty of the Northern Cape by exploring 50km of sand, rocky hills and dongas. Tel 053 831 2659 / 082 493 4756. Nossob.

  • 4x4 Route (Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park), a circular 200km long trail in the Park offering exhilarating dune driving and scenic views, Tel: 012428 9111.
  • Witsand Two routes over dunes and mountains. Tel: 053 3131061/2.
  • Namaqua Trail. Probably the longest 4x4 trail in Africa. Tel: 027 718 29861.
  • Richtersveld Route. (Ai-Ai & Richtersveld Transfrontier Park). Breathtakingly beautiful with a new scene meeting the eye at every turn. Tel: 012428911.
  • Riemvasmaak Trails. Three routes covering approximately 160km of deep sand to steep and very rough tracks, deep dongas and rocky plateaus Tel:084 431 0945.
  • Augrabies Park Takes trailists through surrealistic moonscapes. Tel 054 452 9200.
  • Khamkirri Has trails of varying difficulty. Tel 054 451 0325 / 082 926 0055.
  • Banksgate Trail. Offers 6 trails varying in distance between 10km and 66km. Tel 02062 ask for 1930.


    North of Kimberley, (24km off the N12) part of the yea/harts Valley

    On the banks of the Vaal River, the town started out as Hebron, a mission station. Diamonds were discovered in the river and prospectors flooded the village. The missionaries were sent packing and the town of Windsorton took root in the diggers’ camp, named after PF Windsor, owner of the land on which it developed. Diamonds are still found in the area.

    TOURIST INFORMATION NOCCI Tel/Fax 053 474 0432

    61km north of Kimberley on the /V12

    In 1880 a syndicate bought the western portion of the farm Grasbult on the Vaal River to irrigate the fertile land and produce vegetables for those working the diamond fields. Named after Sir Charles Warren, diamonds were discovered here in 1868 and mining still continues.

    TOURIST INFORMATION NOCCI Tel/Fax 053 474 0432

    Semiprecious Stone Factory Open to the public.
    Jan Kempdorp
    North of Kimberley 21km from Warrenton (turn off the N12 onto the R49), part of the Vaalharts Valley. An idyllic town serving the southern section of the Vaalharts Irrigation Scheme.

    TOURIST INFORMATION NOCCI Tel/Fax 053 474 0432 Email

    Burial Sites The grave sites of German and other soldiers from the Second World War can be found at Jan Kempdorp. Poplar Lane The 38 kilometre poplar lane along the road to Hartswater, was planted in 1937 and has often been considered the longest lane of its kind in the world.

    North of Kimberley 16km from Jan Kempdorp on the R49

    Laid out in 1934 as a town servihg the northern section of the Vaalharts Irrigation Scheme, Hartswater’s growth has been nurtured by its irrigation canals and is surrounded by trees and tracts of fertile ground.

    NOCCI Tel/Fax 053 474 0432
    Email noccihw©

    Burial Sites The burial site of Tswana Chief Galeshewe is near Hartswater.
    Taung Skull On the border of the Northern Cape and the North West Province.
    Vaalharts Irrigation Scheme Covering 36 9SOha, the Scheme, which is one of the largest irrigation schemes in the world, is managed by Vaalharts Water, watering 1 250 farms of some 25ha each in the lush Valley.
    Wine Cooperative Enjoy wine tastingand buy local wines, bottled under the Hinterland and Elements labels.

    This beautiful yet little known valley is only one hour’s drive north of Kimberley. The surrounds are like a breath of fresh air with the lush green farmlands. Highlighted from the usual yellows and browns of the nearby countryside. Two mighty rivers, the Vaal and the Harts, feed an intricate irrigation scheme that supports more than 1 250 high production agricultural farms. The development of an Agri-Tourism Route is currently taking place, which will allow the tourist to experience all the activities surrounding the harvesting and production of popular local farming products, such as olives, pecan nuts, peanuts, citrus, wine cotton and stone-fruit. Wheat, mealies and Lucerne are also grown. Although agriculture is the mainstay of the valley there is plenty more to do and see. You can cool off in our canals (or even ride down them); explore the region on a 4x4 trip; enjoy a breathtaking view of the valley in a microlight; take a peaceful morning horseriding; watching the waterbirds on a shallow lake during late afternoon or reminisce about the one that got away on the banks of the Harts River. Hartswater and an Kempdorp are the two main centres in the irrigation area and have golf clubs, bowling greens, restaurants and accommodation to suit most tastes.

    The Karoo

    With the first rains, the seemingly arid soil of the Karoo bursts into abundant life,

    its hardy succulents complementing the sweet grasses on which the region’s merino and fat-tailed sheep graze. The ever present windmills testify to the countless streams flowing between fissures underlying the dry but fertile soil. Small, isolated but welcoming villages, a distinct Karoo architecture and imposing churches rest in valleys between desolate, flat-topped koppies. Take a short trip from Colesberg, an essential stopover for all travelers and a sheep-farming centre, to Hopetown, the scene of South Africa’s first recorded diamond find. Return, via Orania, a self-proclaimed Afrikaner volkstaat, before making your way to Vanderkloof and the Rolfontein Nature Reserve on the shores of the great Vanderkloof Dam. Indulge in water sports or relax on its secluded banks which stretch 100km to the Doornkloof Nature Reserve on the man-made lake’s southern shores. Throughout this wonderful part of the great Karoo, you can visit, hunt or hike on game farms and nature reserves teeming with every species of antelope. And, like the country they live in, the hardy inhabitants of the Karoo make you feel immediately at home in their beloved countryside.

    For more information

    Emthanjeni Municipality
    45 Voortrekker Street, De Aar
    P0 Box 42, De Aar 7000
    Tel:’ +27 53 632 9100 or +2753 631 4176
    Fax: +27 53 631 0105


Personalities of note

Kimberley has been fortunate to have produced a number of personalities who were legends in their time. So let’s introduce you to a few of these sons and daughters who made their mark locally or further afield...

Sol Plaatje

He wrote a novel entitled Mhudi and so became the first Black South African to publish a novel in English. He translated many of Shakespeare’s works into Setswana, a local African Language. Plaatje had a prolific career in journalism-and served as editor of numerous newspapers. He authored a number of important documentary books, in particular Native Life in South Africa. He sang the first ever sound recording of Nkosi Sikelele i Afrika. Plaatje was a founder member of the African National Congress (ANC). He died in 1932 and was buried in the West End Cemetery. His house in Angel Street - today a museum -is a Provincial Heritage Site.

Jan Bloem

Born in 1775, the son of a German renegade by .a Korana mother, Jan Bloem junior succeeded his father as chief of the Springbok Korana. Under his leadership, this Korana group exploited the trading and raiding opportunities of the late eight­eenth and early nineteenth century frontier here. A much feared frontiersman, Bloem subsequently allowed the Berlin Missionaries to settle at Pniel in 1845. Bloem died at Pniel in about 1858.

Cecil John Rhodes

CJR, as he was affably referred to, came to the diamond dig­gings at the youthful age of eighteen. Blessed with enormous persuasive power, he had an extraordinary ability ‘to get inside the other man’s head’ and achieve virtually anything he wanted. Rhodes was a brilliant strategist and took great risks in his business dealings. By the age of 38, he was already Prime Minister of the Cape Colony and Chairperson both of De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd and Consolidated Goldfields. As an Empire builder, Rhodes was a founder of Rhodesia, known as Zimbabwe today. Buried in the Matopo Hills in Zimbabwe, Rhodes was the only white man to receive from the Matabele people the Royal salute, "Bayete!" at his funeral.

Kgosi (Chief) Galeshewe

He was a Tlhaping ‘Kgosi’ (chief) after whom the Kimberley ‘township’ of Galeshewe was named. Galeshewe was cap­tured in 1878 following the attack on Cornforth Hill near Taung and sentenced to twelve years imprisonment. In 1897, during the rinderpest outbreak, he again clashed with police and the military at Phokwane (Hartswater). He was sub­sequently imprisoned for his part in the uprising known as the Langeberg Rebellion. He died at Magagaaphiri, north of Hartswater, in 1927.A memorial was placed at his grave in 2007.

Marie Bocciaretti

She became the first South African woman to be trained as a pilot at the Kimberley Flying School in 1913,

Henrietta Stockdale

A member of the Anglican Nursing Order of St Michael and All Angels, she was the founder of professional nurs­ing in South Africa, Sister Henrietta first worked in Kimberley in 1876, returning as Matron of the Carnarvon Hospital here in 1879. The first state registration of nurs­es in the world by Act of Parliament in 1891 resulted from her efforts here to establish profes­sional standards for the training of nurses.



  • Africana Library Du Toitspan Rd. Containing missionary Robert Moffat’s personal copy of his Setswana translation of the Bible, the library is a rich repository of books, manuscripts and photographs portraying life in the Northern Cape. Tel 053 830 6247. (08:00-12:45; 13:30-16:30)
  • Alexander McGregor Memorial Museum Chapel Str The original Museum was built in 1907 in memory of Alexander McGregor, a former mayor. Today, as a satellite of the McGregor Museum, it houses new displays on Kimberley’s Malay Camp and urban history. Tel 053 839 2700
  • Art Gallery. Located In the Kimberley Mine Museum. It contains a set of De Beers-commissioned watercolors depicting Victorian life in Kimberley.
    Battlefields Route. The many battlefields of the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) can be explored on the well marked Ni 2 route.
  • Belgravia Historical Walk The oldest, exclusively residential suburb originating in the 1870s. A self-guided walk starts at the McGregor Museum.
  • Big Hole and Kimberley Mine Museum Tucker Str Recently reopened after the whole complex has undergone a R52-million revamp.
  • Burgher Monument, The Magersfontein. The gravesite of Boers killed in the Anglo-Boer War’s western campaign (1899-1 902). Tel 053 839 2700.
  • Cathedral Church of St Cyprian Du Toitspan Rd. The elegant building, consecrated in 1908, has the longest nave in the country. Tel 053 833 3437.
  • The William Humphrey's Art Gallery. One of the few 5 star art galleries in the country
  • Kimberley Archaeology Route
    Introducing a province with a dynamic past

    In a long history stretching back thousands of year's different groups of people have come into interaction in the Northern Cape. Through the colonial frontier period considerable complexity was added to the mix. But partly because of environmental extremes between arid and better watered areas, the different lifestyles such as hunting and gathering, herding, and farming, practiced by people of different cultural background, have persisted alongside one another into the recent past. Many people in the Northern Cape can trace their roots back to a broadly Khoe-San past. In remote northern and western parts of the province there are a few old people still speaking the nearly extinct San language N/u, while a larger number of people speak the Khoekhoe [pronounced as you would say Khoikhoi] language, Nama. In the north eastern regions of the province SeTswana cultural influences have predominated for perhaps a millennium, while groups of Xhosa lived and traded in the Karoo frontier and along the I Garib (Gariep or Orange River) from the late eighteenth century. The history of the Northern Cape Griqua is part of the same frontier story, when forgotten frontiersmen!? including Bastaard’ and white Trekboer herders moved inland from the Cape and established new territorial claims across these wide pastures. The Griqua included elements from an original Khoekhoe group at the Cape, but attracted a following of other people (including San) of, or displaced in, the frontier. Missionaries and traders came and were party to the interactions -and conflicts - between these various groupings. The discovery of mineral wealth changed forever the way people envisaged what is now the Northern Cape. The copper mines in Namaqualand, and then, on a far bigger and epoch-changing scale, the diamond diggings of the Kimberley region, attracted huge influxes of fortune seekers and migrant workers. The Archaeology Route takes you back to a past predating all of this. But much of its contemporary appreciation acquires added significance in relation to the recent past and present concems.

    The McGregor Museum’s Ancestors and Frontier Galleries — a good place to start — show the long sweep of human history here from handaxe times more than a million years ago, to the emergence of modem humans in Africa and of cultural behaviours that include art, to the coming of farmers and state formation in the last 2000 years. It concludes with challenging look at our frontier history — out of which different scenarios was possible before the finding of diamonds and gold.

    While at the McGregor, you may wish to visit the Duggan-Cronin Gallery. Early in the twentieth century, photographer Alfred Duggan-Cronin was inspired by the cultural mix that was Kimberley to venture into its sub-continental hinterland recording the rural tribal life that was linked into this area through this history. us photographs are a unique snap-shot of a period poised between what was old and what was new.

    Mokala National Park
    South Africa’s newest National Park, Mokala, is very conveniently situated 80km south of Kimberley, just off the N12 to Cape Town.

    The grassy plains studded with Camel thorn trees are the new home to endangered species that were translocated from the old Vaalbos National Park. Temperamental black rhino as well as white rhino, elusive roan antelope, and Cape buffalo are amongst the many mammals that roam the rocky hills and plains. There are also San rock engravings and Anglo-Boer War battlefields to be explored in the area.

    The Park includes three Lodges - 1~1osu, Mofele and Lilydate. Mosu and Mofete are in relative close proximity to each other and between the two of them can host 60 guests. Both lodges have restaurant, pub and con­ference facilities with Mofele specialising in teambuilding. A new camping area, about 10km from the main lodge, has been established around a waterhole. Lilydale has a mix of catering and seLf catering chalets, a pub and restaurant. The main Lodge at Lilydale consists of a fully-equipped conference centre which can accommodate up to 80 people and is very popular for wedding receptions. Here, 12 luxurious chalets overlook the river and are air-conditioned, each with its own sundeck and braai area. The Riet River is famous for its fly fishing with large quantities of small mouth and Largemouth yellow fish.

    Kamfers dam

    Kamfers Dam is a perennial wetland Located 2km north of Kimberley. It supports the largest permanent population of Lesser Flamingos in southern Africa. At times in excess of 35 000 Lesser Flamingos are present at Kamfers Dam, about 60% of this species’ southern African population. The flamingos are attracted to this 400ha wetland by its size, perennial nature, and abundance of food (as a result of enrichment from sewerage water inflow).
    Both Greater and Lesser Flamingos had previously attempted to breed at Kamfers Dam without success due to receding water levels which expose the nests to disturbance and predation by dogs and humans. In September 2006 Ekapa Mining constructed an island off the northern shoreline using 26 500 tons of material. Since then it has been reported that up to one thousand eggs have hatched at the man-made breeding island and many more are expected. This is first time they have bred on South African soil.
    The wetland also supports numerous other bird species, both water birds and terrestrial species; more than 200 species have been recorded during the past 10 years. Kamfers Dam is accredited both as a Natural Heritage Site and an Important Bird Area, and some years ago a submission was made for the wetland to be declared a Ramsar site.

    Under Green Pastures
    A stone’s throw from Kimberley is three resorts - Riverton, Langleg and Rekaofela. These three resorts offer family fun and activities second to none in the Northern Cape.

    Riverton & Langleg Resort
    27km from Kimberley on the N12 to Kimberley
    These two green-lawned municipal resorts are next to each other on the banks of the Vaal River. Facilities include filly equipped self-catering accommodation, a caravan park, 24 hour security, a walk-in bird park, power boat jetty and other recreational facilities such as putt-putt, volley-ball, swimming in large sparkling pools, a water worm, angling canoeing and water skiing.

    Rekaofeta Resort
    5km beyond Barkly West, on the banks of the Vaal River Rekaofela is the Setswana word for "Place of gathering" This resort is home to the Rekaofela Adventure Centre and is situated only five kilometers from the town of Barkly West on the banks of the Vaal River. It radiates an atmosphere of paece and tranquility. It has accommodation for 104 people as well as recreational facilities such as canoeing, boating, climbing, hiking and orientation and leadership development, team and problem solving

    Haunted Corners
    Death on the diamond diggings and later during the Anglo-Boer War gave Kimberley many haunted corners. So too did failed romance and other gory deaths, like a huge fire in the old De Beers Mine in which hundreds of miners perished.

    Today the shivering facts and fallacies about these ghostly visitations are packed in a fun and entertaining guided ghost trail. Your professional tourist guide will lead you to some of the sites where the ghosts are reputed to be seen. Some stops on the tour include the spot where a former librarian of the Kimberley Public Library. now the Africana Library, committed suicide - his ghost is blamed for unex­plained rearrangements of books and files in the library; the Kimberley Club; Rudd House; Kimberley Regiment’s Drill Hall; McGregor Museum; Gladstone Cemetery where some interesting graves such as the one of the first British officer to die during the Anglo-Boer War are found. Your tour Magersfontein battlefield where, it is said, you may hear the lone Scottish piper piping a lament or even lay an eye on the legendary saddled but riderless horse.

    The Kimberley Ghost Trail is for people with an appetite for history, old buildings, a good ghost story, thrilling fun and an alternative kind of night-time entertainment. The trail is certainly for people with only a gentle interest in the supernatural and all that goes with it.

    Will anybody actually spot the apparitions? Well, no-one can really say, but going on the trail will definitely render you a spine-chilling opportunity to stumble on a phantom still searching for the buried treasure or tying to wrap up unfinished business.

    The Romantic Belgravia Walk
    Savour Kimberley’s magnificent and romantic past by spending a few hours on a historical walk in the most beautiful and historical suburb of Belgravia. This circular walk covers a distance of some two kilometers and leads the visitor to 33 of the City’s most historical sites. During the walk, old Kimberley’s opulent lifestyle and its characteristic architecture will be revealed and famous monuments will be visited.
    The McGregor Museum in Atlas Street sells a Belgravia Historical Guide Book.

    The Great Kimberley North Walk
    Another great historical walk covering the city centre and the area to the north of the city centre. More than forty enchanting and notable historic sites and streets, including the Executioners Yard and Stockdale Street, are encountered on the route. The walk starts and ends at one of Kimberley’s oldest hotels, the Savoy, and covers a distance of just under four kilometers.
    The McGregor Museum sells a Great Kimberley North Walk Guide Book

    The Historic City
    Steeped in exciting history, Kimberley boasts many traces of the past in its architectural heritag~, ) historic sites, museums, heritage sites, and an incredible number of monuments, The following

    is an alphabetical listing of the most important and imposing of these historic attractions,

    Alexander McGregor Memorial Museum
    This elegant building in Chapel Street was a gift to the citizens of Kimberley from Margaret McGregor in memory of her late husband Alexander, an early Mayor of Kimberley. The museum opened in 1907 was restored for its centenary in 2007.

    In its heyday, this imposing building was regarded as one of South Africa’s top three hotels. It began, however, as a modest hotel situated on the old Cape Town road. It was occupied by Boer forces during the Siege of Kimberley. A new luxury hotel was built on the site and opened on 1 January 1903.The new hotel became renowned as a venue for fabulous weekend picnics and dances for welt-to-do Kimberley residents, travelling there by electric tramcar. Today the building serves as the Jack Hindon Officers’ Club for the South African Army.

    Anglo-Boer War Memorials
    These are spread out over local battlefields. One of the most impressive is the Celtic cross in memory of the Highland Brigade losses at Magersfontein. Also at Magersfontein are the Scandinavian memorials, a monument to the Black Watch Regiment and stones commemorating both Boer and British losses. Close to the Magersfontein battlefield is the hugely impressive Burgher Monument Further afield are poignant memorials to men who died in action or of disease, at Modder River, Graspan and Belmont.

    Barkly West Museum
    Situated 35 kilometers from Kimberley. Displays in this quaint museum feature archaeological and geological specimens of Canteen Kopje, an early river diamond digging, Klipdrift Diggers’ Republic, and many richly illustrated aspects of life on the early Diamond Fields. Much of the collection was assembled by Mining Commissioner, Gideon Retief, in the 1940s.

    Big Hole (The)
    Kimberley’s most famous landmark and ‘must see tourist attraction’ has a new exhibition centre, viewing platform and revamped Old Town.

    Canteen Kopje, Barkly West
    An Earlier Stone Age archaeological site with open air displays and an historical walk on the geology, archaeology and diamond diggings of the area. Two of the world’s largest hand-axes were found here.

    Cape Corps Memorial
    At the time of the Great War, 1914-1918, the headquarters of this famous military unit was in Kimberley. Brilliant success at the Battle of Square Hill, Palestine, 18-19 September 1918- where the German field gun, now the centerpiece of this memorial, was captured from the Turks - was clouded on 20 September at the Battle of Kh jibeit where 51 men made the supreme sacrifice, and a hundred were wounded. The memorial was unveiled by General Smuts in 1934 and has recently been relocated to a position next to the Cenotaph.

    Cape Police Memorial
    On the Belgravia Historical Walk, a statue of a uniformed trooper of the Cape Police commemorates their losses during the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902. Kimberley was the headquarters of the Griqualand West Division of the Cape Police, also called ‘CPU’. One section of the ‘CPU’ even had a field artillery. The Cape Police served in the defense of Kimberley during the Siege. The Boer gun forming part of the memorial was captured during a skirmish at Dronfield, north of Kimberley.

    Designed by the famous local architect and painter, William Timlin, it was erected to commemorate 400 Kimberley men who fell in World War I. It is unusual in that it gives the dates 1914-1919 (hostilities ceased 1918; Peace treaty in 1919). Plaques bearing the names of Kimberley men who died during World War 11(1939-1945) were added later.

    City Hall
    A City centre Landmark! This imposing building was designed by Fergus Carstairs Rogers in Roman Corinthian style. It was built in 1899 just before the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War and served as a distribution point for rations during the Siege of Kimberley.

    Clyde N Terry Hall Of Militaria Situated At The Kimberley MOTH Centre
    World War II veteran, Clyde Terry, built up his amazing collection over a time span of more than a decade. It comprises, as son Clyde Junior’s puts it, ‘anything military’. Displays include international military badges, uniforms, medals and other relics. The collection is housed in a building constructed by Clyde Junior and a team of helpers.

    De Beers Head Office
    This building was the original headquarters of Barney Barnato’s Kimberley Central Diamond Mining Company. Today it is the seat of the internationally renowned and influential diamond mining company, De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd.

    The Kimberley Tramways Company
    Although the Kimberley Tramways Company was formed in 1880, it took until 1885 for the Gibson Brothers to set up the Victoria Tramways Company and construction on the first tramways started in 1887. It was a 36” gauge tramway linking Kimberley and the then separate Borough of Beaconsfield. These first tram cars were pulled by mules.

    In 1905 an electrified tramway was opened by De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd linking Kimberley with the posh Alexandersfontein Hotel while the Beaconsfield route was electrified in 1905. Buses began to replace trams in Kimberley in 1939 but the Kenilworth trams ran until 1947 while the last trams were used in the mining area until as recently as 1954, after which virtually all tramway infrastructure was demolished.

    It was decided to reintroduce a tramway between the historic City Hall and the Big Hole as a tourist attraction and the first rails were laid in june 1985. However, the restoration of the present tram, which was donated by De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd, had already commenced in 1983. This tram, identified as Car Number 3, was first used by De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd.

    It was also known as the ‘tower car’, a name derived from the adjustable platform which had been fitted in order to carry out overhead maintenance to the tram poles and wires. It is believed that the tramcar was built by john Stephenson Company and the jG Brill Company of Philadelphia and originally ran between 1906 and 1914.

    The livery of the tram follows closely the yellow and black livery of the original Kimberley & Alexandersfontein Electric Railway. The wording added on the frames is ‘Kimberley Tramways’, and so Car Number 3 was restored to its former operational condition and proudly reintroduced on 12 October 1985.

    Today tens of thousands of tourists annually take a trip down memory lane on Car Number 3. They literally get carried away by the travelling tram’s screeching sounds, its gentle swaying and the sound of a foot operated warning bell as they pass some of Kimberley’s most historic sites such as the Head Office of the De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd and the original Big Hole mine dumps.

    Diggers’ Fountain
    Sculpted by Herman Wald, this magnificent Larger-than-Life-size bronze monument situated in the Ernest Oppenheimer Memorial Gardens honours and recognises the role and effort of the diamond diggers who brought Kimberley into existence. It portrays five diggers holding a diamond sieve on high, each digger representing one of the five major Kimberley mines.

    Driekopseiland Rock Engravings
    About 70km from Kimberley, near Plooysburg - Only by appointment through the museum. Driekopseiland (Three Head Island) is a site of more than 3 000 Khoesan rock engravings made on glacial pavements in the bed of the Riet River. Believed to be between 800 and 2 500 years old, these engravings are submerged when the river rises,

    A reflection of late Victorian elegance and a fine example of the unique Kimberley architecture, this distinguished home was built in 1897 for Gustav Bonas. John Orr, a famous retailer in South Africa,
    bought the house in 1902. The house, which retains much the original furnishings, has much decorative woodwork on its facade.

    Firsts in History
    Unknown to many people Kimberley lays claim to numerous historic firsts.

    Freddie Tait Golf Museum
    Situated at the Kimberley Golf Club, it is the first golfing museum in Africa. On display are trophies and golf artifacts from a century of golf in Kimberley including the famous putter of Freddie Tait. Tait was British amateur golf champion in 1896 and 1898. He was killed at Koodoosberg, near Kimberley in 1900 during an Anglo-Boer War skirmish.

    Halfway House
    An old pub steeped in tradition.

    Honoured Dead Memorial
    This memorial was designed at the insistence of Rhodes by the famous architect, Sir Herbert Baker, who later designed the Union Buildings in Pretoria. The memorial commemorates those who died while defending Kimberley during its Siege in the Anglo-Boer War campaign. Bearing an inscription by Rudyard Kipling, who sometimes resided on Rhodes’ estate in Cape Town, the memorial is the tomb of 27 soldiers. At the base of the monument is the famous ‘Long Cecil’ gun which was manufactured during the siege at the De Beers Workshops, to counter the artillery fire of the Boers. The monument, built of sandstone quarried in the Matopo Hills in Zimbabwe, is situated at the highest point in Kimberley where five roads meet. It is regarded as one of the finest memorials in South Africa.

    Kimberley Africana Library
    One of the best research libraries in South Africa it contains a wealth of material on Africa, the Northern Cape and Kimberley in particular. There are also special collections of old and rare books, such as Dr Robert Moffat’s own copy of his translation of the Old Testament into Setswana, a local indigenous language. The library opened in 1887 as a public library and the building retains many of its original features like a wrought-iron gallery, spiral staircase and antique furniture.

    Kimberley Club
    Here, it is said, were once ‘more millionaires to the square foot’ than at any other place on earth. Established in 1881, its most famous members included Cecil John Rhodes, Dr Leander Starr Jameson, Charles Dunell Rudd, Barney Barnato, Sir Ernest Oppenheimer and his son Harry.

    Kimberley Regiment Drill Hall Originally built as the Arts Hall for the South African and International Exhibition in 1892, it was afterwards used by the Kimberley Rifles for drilling recruits. It serves today as the headquarters of the famous Kimberley Regiment which was established in 1899.

    Kimberley Tramways Company
    Take a trip on the old car.

    Magersfontein Battlefield Museum
    An absolute must for the military history buff. This museum depicts the full drama of the Magersfontein battle. Uniforms and many weapons as used during the battle are on display, as well as biographic sketches of a number of combatants. A short but spectacular video-based sound and light show offers visitors an almost real-life feeling of the battle. Sections of the famous Boer trenches can still be seen from the hilltop observation post where there is also a model of the battlefield. There are numerous monuments and information panels on the battlefield and visitors are welcome to take a walk or drive around.

    Flamingo Casino
    N12, Transvaal Road Tel 053 830 2600
    Relive the Diamond Rush era at the Sun International operated Flamingo Casino with its turn-of-the-century style that reflects the romance of the Victorian age. The Casino with its 9 gaming tables and 235 slot-machines is flanked by a family restaurant and a 200-seat conference centre.

    Live entertainment is hosted at the 129 Show bar and there are also bars and a small retail component Accommodation is available at the 90-room Road Lodge.

    Being situated adjacent to the Kimberley Golf Club enables you to enjoy both the incentive of a challenging game of golf and a stimulating casino experience.

    Shop, eat and enjoy
    Kimberley’s shopping experience has come of age with the opening of two new shopping centres and yet another one on the cards. All of the mainline banks are represented as well as the post office and all the networks in the cellular services. This is complimented by fashion/ clothes, jewelry and accessory outlets, decor/soft furnishing shops, as well as stationery, optical, photographic, computer, music and many other specialty shops. And if all the shopping makes you hungry you’ll find that restaurants and fast food outlets are well represented with a variety of eateries to choose from.

    Diamond Pavilion
    Corner of Oliver (Bloemfontein road) & McDougal Rd. This new mall is all that you want in a regional shopping centre and brings a shopping convenience to the Northern Cape like it’s never had before, The centre houses many of the well-known shopping brands together under one roof and is anchored by well respected chains such as Checkers, Woolworths, Ackermans, Mr. Price, Edgars and Truworths.

    Other Shopping Sites:
    Game Centre - Bultfontein Road
    Hadison Park Centre - Schreiner Street
    Jones Street MaR - Barkly Roa
    Monument Centre - Memorial Road
    Pick ‘n Pay Centre - Sidney Street
    Pick ‘n Pay Rhodesdene - Carters Road
    North Cape Mall - (opening April2008)
    Riviera Centre - Schmidtsdrift Road
    Shoprite Centre - Bultfontein Road



The title evokes thoughts of the early days, of boisterous diggers in one of the many saloons or pubs that studded the winding roads of the canvas and corrugated iron diamond town, swigging draughts and singing along with, dare one say it, scantily clad womenfolk.

Great fun indeed, these early days of New Rush on the farm Vooruitzicht, except for the fact that the Colonial Secretary detested both the term New Rush - too vulgar - and Vooruitzicht he could hardly spell it, lot alone pronounce it! So the problem of renaming the town was passed to Richard Southey, then Lt-Governor of Griqualand West, who in turn, passed it on to John Blades Currey, the government secretary. A very worthy diplomat, Currey made very sure that the Colonial Secretary would be able to spell and pronounce the new name chosen for the town, by naming it after the secretary himself, Kimberley. The name was obviously approved by His Worship, so Kimberley was born, bet it can be certain that the diggers did not care two hoots at the time. The new name was proclaimed on 5 July 1873, although the township was founded in 1871. The story of naming Kimberley is fairly well known, but what is not well known is who lord Kimberley was, and what did he do that even today his name is as well remembered as that of his monarch, Queen Victoria?

John Woodhouse was born in Whymondham, Norfolk, on 29 May 1826, the eldest son of Harry and Anne Wodehouse, and a relative of Sir Philip Wodehouse, Governor of the Cape Colony 1861-1870. At the age of 20, while still a student at Oxford University, re inherited his grandfather's title of Baron Wodehouse, his father having predeceased him Five years later he was appointed Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, holding this post from 1852 to 1856, after which he became the British ambassador to Russia. In 1858 he resumed his former position until his promotion to Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1864 a post he held for two years: QueenVictoria conferred an earldom upon him in 1869. He and his wife, the former Lady Florence Fitzgibbon, were living at their country estate, called Kimberley House, in the village of Kimberley in Norfolk, hence the choice of title. The name Kimberley is derived from the Anglo Saxon word Cynbergnleah, which means “women were entitled to own land”. Two years later Lord Kimberley became a member of Gladstone’s first cabinet and from 1870 he served as Secretary for the Colonies. As his appointment coincided with the discovery of diamonds on the ‘dry diggings’ he was prominent in the dispute over the ownership of Griqualand West, and the negotiations for its annexation as British territory.

Although he resigned his post in 1974, he was re-appointed by Gladstone as Colonial Secretary from 1 1880-1882, one of his major feats during the period being the peace settlement after the battle of Majuba in 1881. He lived long enough to hear about the siege and relief of the town named after him and died on 8 April1902.

The City of Kimberley In the Northern Cape Proince of South Africa

The City of Kimberley
Northern Cape
South Africa

The capital and the only city of the province, Kimberley is in the centre of South Africa (36 Km of the geographic centre) with two national roads leading to it, the NI2 (Cape Town via the NI to the south and Pretoria/Johannesburg to the north) and the N8 going east to west

The Geographical Centre of South Africa

A plaque telling about the site and another purrrr..fect Northen Cape Sunset.

In 1871, diamond deposits found on a hillock dubbed Colesberg Kopje on the farm Vooruitzicht, owned by the De Beers brothers, led to a mad scramble for fame and fortune and the world’s largest, hand-dug excavation, the colossal Kimberley Mine or Big Hole.

By 1872, the tents and shacks of more than 50 000 feverish diggers crowded New Rush, the mining town surrounding the hillock. Overcrowding, insufficient water, unsanitary conditions, disease, heat, dust and flies were ever present problems in the mining town’s early days. In the fledgling city’s many gambling dens, card- and loan sharks thrived on a diet of other people’s blood, sweat and tears. The stakes were high and the ruthless ruled as fortunes were made and lost in a day. Some found only despair and heartbreak, but others struck it rich. Spacious homes began to rise from the dust and, in 1873, the town was renamed Kimberley, after the Earl of Kimberley, British Secretary of State for the Colonies. Despite the town’s severe dose of diamond dementia, it was, by 1900, a prosperous town. Its complex, higgledy-piggledy web of roads is a topographic reminder of a chaotic past. And not one, but five big holes, and a number of smaller mines, had been gouged out of the earth, reaching ever deeper into its bluish, diamond-bearing Kimberlite pipes! The Kimberley Mine was closed in 1914. Covering 17ha, it reached a depth of 1 097m and yielded three tons of diamonds. A bawdy shanty town born of a desperation and greed redolent of the American Wild West, Kimberley swiftly donned a mantle of architectural elegance. Today, it is a prosperous, thriving metropolis with Victorian buildings that complement the more modern buildings of the CBD. Lacking the furious pace of South Africa’s larger urban giants, it is perhaps the country’s most innovative town. Home of our first flying school, our first stock exchange and the first city in the Southern Hemisphere to install electric street-lighting, it is mining a brilliant future from a glorious past.

The frenetic activity, the extraordinary web of pulley cables leading to a six-storey staging platform and the sight of up to 30 000 miners working 3 600 claims over 1 7ha have faded into the sepia memories of photographic archives.

Yet, somehow, memories of the Kimberley tent-town’s days linger. Many old buildings, museums and one of South Africa’s most important art galleries lend an historic ambience to the city that thrust its way to prominence during the diamond rush. A reconstruction of the original ‘rush town’ stands alongside the incredible Big Hole, the largest hand-dug excavation in the world, offering visitors insight into the lives of those who lived and worked through the dreams and nightmares of a vibrant history we take for granted. During the Anglo-Boer War, Kimberley was besieged by the Boers for 2 four months. In this time, many heroes rose to prominence. Boer forces surrounding Kimberley showed how a determined, small and under-resourced force could keep the British army at bay for months. But Kimberley’s diamond story and siege are part of only the most recent history here. A rich archeological heritage, including stunning examples of ancient rock engravings, reflects a past that reaches back to the very origin of humankind.
Bushmen Art at the Wildebeestkuil Rock Art Site.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Kimberley a City of Firsts

1882 First city in the Southern Hemisphere to install electric street lighting(September 2)
1890 First 7th Day Adventist Church in SA established by Pieter Wessels.Declared a National Monument in 1967.
1891 Henrietta Stockdale became the first matron of the new Kimberley hospital.
? First city in South Africa to switch on an automatic telephone exchange.
? First Stock Exchange in South Africa.
1904 First Electric Tram in South Africa
1904 First city or town to manufacture compressed bricks and terracotta ornaments
1912 First Woman trained as a pilot.
1919 First dummy pass in rugby.
1931 First airport to install lighting equipment and first night landing by a pilot.
1940 First female municipal traffic wardens.
1954 First state school for physically disabled.
1969 First Woman judge: Miss Justice Leonora van de Heever.
1976 First housing scheme, Ipopeng in Galeshewe, for black mine workers.
1983 First black town council: Galeshewe.
1983 First coloured priest to become a Bishop
1992 First City council to amalgamate all group areas.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Nook B&B, Kimberley, South Africa

The Nook B&B
Henry Schmidt Cresc
Tel/Cell: +27721168390
Fax: +27865130240
Established in 2005 THE NOOK B&B is a TGCSA 3 Star graded B&B and is centrally situated and within walking distance (800m) of the CBD, ABSA Park, Virgin Active Gym, Hospitals, Dining facilities and Tourist places of interest.

It comprises four luxury ensuite rooms each room can take a maximum of two persons per room (Air-conditioned). All rooms are fitted with TV, Microwave, fridge, kettle and toaster. Tea, coffee and rusks as well as a health breakfast comprising cereals, juices, muffins, health bread, yoghurt, and cooldrinks are set out in the rooms on a self catering basis. Outside, there is a quiet garden environment with a Splash pool, braai facilities & secure parking.

The setting and position gives The Nook B&B a quiet, peaceful and tranquil ambiance.
Our Rates are as follows:
Single Rate: R370/night/person
Double/Sharing Rate: R230/night/person.
Family/Group Rate: R230/night/person.

Establishment Type:Bed & Breakfast - Semi - Self Catering
Check In Time: After 2:00 PM
Check Out Time: Before 11:00 AM
Children are considered adults over:12