Kimberley Travel Guide

  • Hotels
    by DAO
  • Hotels
    by DAO
  • Hotels
    by DAO

Kimberley Things to Do

  • A monument to big strong (Aryan) miners!

    The Diamond Diggers Memorial fountain in the Ernest Oppenheimer Gardens is a ravishingly gorgeous piece of sculpture in the centre of Kimberley, which celebrates the physical strength of the men on which the wealth of the city was built.Well ... at least some of them ...If you thought that Soviet realist art was confined to the former Eastern Bloc...

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  • An appropriate entrance to the town

    It's only a small thing, but I really like it when the entrance to a town shows that a bit of thought and effort has gone into representing the character of the place. It sets the tone for your visit and gives you a taste of what's ahead: in other words, a lot of touristic goodwill is generated for often only minor outlay.I can't say that I am wild...

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  • The enchanting William Humphreys Art...

    You virtually never stumble across public art galleries outside the major cities in South Africa, but of course, in this, as in so many other aspects, Kimberley is anything but your average South African town, and neither is the William Humphreys Art Gallery (known affectionately as the WHAG) your average art museum. Mind you, I suppose that if you...

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  • The Honoured Dead Memorial

    The Honoured Dead memorial is an impressive pile of neo-classical art that is pretty well impossible to miss if you're driving into Kimberley from the airport.It was erected to commemorate British casualties incurred during the siege of Kimberley, when the city was encircled by Boer troops between 14th October 1899 to 15th February 1900 - that's...

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  • Look up to Cecil John Rhodes!

    Cecil John Rhodes is one of several gigantic personalities that emerged from Kimberley's diamond rush, and a man that I am absolutely convinced that I would have loathed had we ever met, so be warned that there will be only limited objectivity in this tip!Rhodes is often compared to his contemporary, sometime business partner (and intense business...

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  • The more things change,the more they...

    If you've read this far, then by now you'll have worked out that my Day Out in Kimberley was thought provoking experience - and never more so then when I got to this exhibit in the (free) Big Hole museum.As I drove into town from the airport, I passed a sprawling group of tin shack informal settlements close to the railway line. I though to stop...

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  • The apparently excellent McGregor Museum

    Everyone that I have spoken to tells me that the McGregor Museum is a wonderful resource, but as the staff decided to go on strike the day I visited, I can't verify this!I can however confirm that the museum is housed in a gorgeous Victorian building which was built by De Beers as a sanatorium (in whch Cecil Rhodes recuperated at one time), and was...

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  • Visit Sol Plaatje's house

    I have long been fascinated by Sol Plaatje, perhaps the most forgotten of South Africa's black leaders, and the opportunity to visit the small museum that has been established in one of his former homes was the thing that I was most looking forward to doing in Kimberley (since it had been shut the last time I visited). Plaatje was a man who exerted...

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  • The low key loveliness of St Cyprian's...

    The surprisingly low key Anglican cathedral in Kimberley is dedicated to St Cyprian, a 3rd century North African martyr. Not exactly the obvious choice, and why he should have been selected is not entirely clear to me. St Cyprian is best known for the quote: "He cannot have God for his father who has not the Church for his mother". And of course,...

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  • Go flamingo spotting at Kamfers Dam!

    I think it's fair to say that most tourists to Kimberley don't expect to have a wildlife experience, and yet the town is an absolute Mecca for 'twitchers' (that's bird watchers for the uninitiated) as the Kamfers Dam is home to one of only four breeding colonies of lesser flamingoes in Africa (the other three being Etosha in Namibia, Sua Pan in...

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  • The Big Hole: the world's largest hand...

    Most tourists come to Kimberley and only see the Big Hole. This is a tremendous pity given that the town offers so many other attractions, but I am not going to dispute that if you only have time to do one thing in Kimberley, it should be this!Firstly, let me regress briefly to my geological roots. The Big Hole of Kimberley is the largest hand dug...

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  • The gorgeous Department of Public Works...

    Yet another of Kimberley's stunning Victorian buildings, about which I can find very little! I am quite sure that this will feature on the Eldorado (CBD) walk as outlined in the excellent Kimberley Meander guide, and is just one more excuse to explore this fascinating city on foot!

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  • The monument to the relocated Malay...

    Until my recent visit to Kimberley - when I happened across this simple memorial - I had no idea that there had ever been a significant Malay presence in the city.The Malays - who were classified as 'coloured' in terms of apartheid - are descendents of slaves that were transported to the Cape by the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century....

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  • The gorgeous proportions of Kimberley...

    I confess that despite my best efforts, I have been able to find out nothing about Kimberley House, except that it's gorgeous!!!It has fantastic Regency proportions, and I assume it's got something to do with Kimberley's heydays at the end of the 19th century, but if you know more than I do, please let me know!

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  • The Transnet railway museum

    Sadly I can't tell you what the Transnet railway museum was like, because it was closed when I got there!The odd opening hours - particularly the very early closing time of 15:30 - are indeed noted in the tourist literature, but I admit that I simply didn't read them correctly. It does seem strange to close so early, but having to deal with...

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  • Be bowled over at the Big Hole museum

    One of the most fun activities that you can undertake in Kimberley is to have a go at bowling in an authentic skittle alley.In Kimberley's early days, finding activities to keep bored miners occupied in their spare time was a real challenge, as the usual pursuits - drinking and womanising - simply contributed to an atmosphere of lawlessness. Thus,...

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  • Stroll back in time at the Big Hole...

    One of the biggest changes that I saw in Kimberley since my last visit was that entrance to the reconstruction of old Kimberley around the Big Hole is now free: previously this was included in the admission price to the Big Hole.The reconstructed section is a fairly faithful reproduction of how Kimberley would have looked in its heyday, and...

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  • Sense the history at Rhodes' boardroom

    Much though I would have liked, I was not lucky enough to view this historical boardroom when I visited (despite the notice confidentally displayed the De Beers lookout, this is NOT routinely open in office hours), but I can speculate on the intrigue that these walls have witnessed!Cecil John Rhodes was a devious bastard at the best of times, so...

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  • Lookout onto the De Beers mine

    The De Beers mine lookout is located adjacent to the De Beers boardroom and is worth a look if you're in the area, primarily because access is free.However, do bear in mind that it pales into insignificance when compared to the Big Hole, as it is much shallower and very much less impressive. So even if you're on a tight budget, don't be tempted to...

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  • Admire the newly erected Sol Plaatje...

    This is a brand new, 'out of the box' monument that was only unveiled by Jacob Zuma (our current president and head of the ANC) in late 2010.It is located outside of the municipal buildings in Kimberley, on a location that was the site of Plaatje's first printing press. The location of the monument was the subject of much controversy, with...

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  • Apparently repurposed hostel...

    This lovely colonial-style building is located just over the road from the De Beers lookout and the De Beers boardroom. It appears to have been designed as a hotel, singles quarters or boarding house, which would not have been unusual in a booming mining town that would have had a great need for such accommodation.I couldn't find any notice to...

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  • The imposing figure of Frances Baard

    I have to confess that I hadn't heard of Frances Baard before I visited Kimberley, although I did know that the former Kimberley District Municipality had been renamed in her honour.Frances Baard was born in Kimberley and developed into a very significant figure in the South African anti apartheid movement, who was involved in drafting the Freedom...

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  • Ogle at Central Avenue's architectural...

    For over a century (from the diamond rush of the 1870s to the time when diamond mining started to tail off in the 1980s as the mines finally started to be depleted), there were ridiculous amounts of money sloshing around Kimberley. This is evidenced by all of Kimberley's municipal 'first' achievements (see my Kimberley page), as well as the...

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  • Where 'economy' becomes 'eco friendly'

    A little more self-indulgent musing on the "the more things change, the more they stay the same" theme, if you will indulge me ...One of the most interesting reconstructions of historic Kimberley at the Big Hole museum is the undertakers premises. Given the harsh conditions of the diamond rush and the perils inherent in mining, life expectancy was...

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  • The Diamond Sorting Office: an imposing...

    Kimberley may be the capital of the Northern Cape province, but when it comes economic and political influence, there is only one show in town: De Beers.De Beers has controlled Kimberley since they consolidated the diamond claims over the diamondiferous deposits after the first euphoric days of the diamond rush in the 1870s. As mining got deeper,...

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  • Pay your respects at Sol Plaatje's grave

    Having tracked Sol Plaatje around town for a couple of hours, it seemed only right that I should go and pay my respects at his last resting place - for some reason, I had it in my head that he was buried near Johannesburg, so it came as a pleasant surprise to discover that he had in fact been laid to rest in West End cemetery.Although I am in no...

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  • "We are not amused"!

    It stands to reason that every town founded whilst the pink of the British Empire was engulfing the world map needed to establish its colonial credentials by erecting a statue of the reigning monarch - which is why crafting statues of Queen Victoria must have been big business!These days, Kimberley's statue of Victoria is enclosed within the...

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Kimberley Hotels

See all 10 Hotels in Kimberley
  • Garden Court Hotel

    120 Du Toitspan Road, Kimberley, Northern Cape, 8301, South Africa

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

    Hotel Class 3 out of 5 stars

  • Road Lodge Kimberley

    Flamingo Entertainment World at Kimberley Golf Course, off N12 Highway, PO Box 739, Kimberley, 8300,

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Families

  • PR Kimberley

    West Circular Road, overlooking the Big Hole, Kimberley, 8301, South Africa

    Satisfaction: Average

    Good for: Solo

Kimberley Restaurants

  • Reputedly the world's first 'drive...

    The Halfway Inn is located half way between Kimberley and neighbouring suburb of Beaconsfield, and legend has it that Cecil John Rhodes used to stop here for a beer on his way home. Being a man who didn't believe in wasting time (and who habitually enjoyed looking down on other people), he apparently insisted on being served his beer on horseback -...

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  • Raise a pint at Kimberley's oldest pub

    The Star of the West is the oldest pub in Kimberley and is a veritable institution!Located just by the Big Hole, the Star of the West is almost a caricature of an Empire frontier pub - the sort of establishment that wouldn't look out of place in Kalgoorlie, Bendigo or Ballarat. It is a monument to the drinking classes, and it takes precious little...

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  • Kimberley Hotels

    10 Hotels in Kimberley

Kimberley Transportation

  • Kimberley tram STILL not operating

    At the time of writing (June 2011), the Kimberley tram was not operating, and, when I enquired with Tourist Information, it appears that it has been out of commission for the past year. This is at odds with the information provided by the otherwise excellent and reliable Kimberley website - see URL below - confidently (but incorrectly) states that...

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  • The vastly improved Kimberley airport

    Kimberley has a long and proud history of aviation, including the following South African 'firsts' (with thanks to the Kimberley Meander magazine):1911: The first public flight in the first South African built aircraft1913: The first airplane accident1913: The first ten pilots in the South African Defence Force1913: The first pilots in the South...

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  • On the "endless" stretch from Kimberley...

    ... watch out for speed traps.The streets are rather good and straight. Although at times these endless stretches may invite you for faster driving, observe the speed limits because police controls are all around with laser pistols checking on speeding cars.

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Kimberley Favorites

  • The brilliant Kimberly Meander...

    When I was at the Big Hole museum, I picked up a free copy of the fantastic Kimberly Meander publication.This is also available online at www.kimberleymeander.co.za and is a brilliant guide to Kimberley, with a particular emphasis on walking tours, which are either self-guided or accompanied by paid guides (details of which are provided)....

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  • An excellent Kimberley tourism website

    When I was researching what to do during my Day of Fun in Kimberley, I stumbled across this excellent website:http://www.bdb.co.za/kimberley/index.htmlOther than the one error (stating that the tram is now operational, when in fact it is still out of commission - see my Transport tip), I found it to be a thorough and reliable source of information....

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