Thu, Jan 20, 2011
In your plan of South Africa travel, this time leave behind the wilderness and consider visiting some natural attractions. I know that most of the South Africa travel is confined to the national parks. However, this time explore this region from a different angle by visiting its diamond as well as Blue Hole city, Kimberley. Nestled in the Northern Cape Province, Kimberley is easily accessible by air, rail, and road from the different cities in South Africa.
The Big Hole is regarded as the largest man-dug quarry on the planet and this zeal was for hunting diamonds in the late 19th as well as the 20th centuries. To its west, the Open Mine Museum is the home of the genuinely original as well as refurbished edifices revealing much of the city’s past. And yes, how can one forget to see the first diamond found in South Africa, The Eureka? Have fun as you look for your own diamond, be a temporary miner in a diamond mining operation full of blastings, explore an antique pub exhibit, and enjoy skittles. Your South Africa travel is incomplete without a trip to these places in Kimberley!
One more interestingly spectacular attraction here is the Flamingo Island that is just what the birdwatchers are looking out for! Nestled at a distance of 7 km at the Kamfers Dam, this island is the home of the flamingoes and is among those only four abodes of the bird in entire Africa. The dam supports nearly 60,000 Lesser Flamingos that is over 50% of the total southern African population. Isn’t this surprising?
Diggers’ Memorial is dedicated to the past and current diggers. It is a fountain that adorns the Ernest Oppenheimer Gardens that themselves are dedicated to the late Sir Ernest Oppenheimer who was a mining tycoon. Also worth visiting is the Honored Dead Memorial that is dedicated to those who lost their lives while protecting the city at the times of the 124-day siege in the Anglo Boer War. On the monument’s stylobate, look for a ‘Long Cecil’ that is a gun made in the De Beers Workshops during the blockade.
Harry Oppenheimer House is for all those diamond lovers out there! It is inside this structure that the sorting of the diamonds from all over South Africa take place daily. As this process requires gentle natural light, the edifice contains the only windows on the south for blocking the direct sunlight. However, this one is not open to public for security.
Among the main museums, do visit the William Humphreys Art Gallery that is among the vital ones in the country. This is the home of traditional as well as modern South African graphics, paintings, and sculptures. However, there are several special exhibitions hosted here regularly. One of the most visited museums is the McGregor Museum that was constructed as sanatorium. This over 100-year-building has also been a luxury hotel and a convent school. Currently a museum, this one offers advice as well as research to many community projects. Recognized now as a national monument, the Rudd House is one more attraction here, which was the luxury dwelling of HP Rudd who was a mining tycoon. It was the McGregor museum that refurbished it to its complete majesty. To view this house, you need to take an appointment from the McGregor Museum. Duggan Cronin Gallery is one more attraction here where the native cultures as well as lifestyles are seized nicely in over 8000 photographs of the early 20th century taken by Irishman AM Duggan Cronin. So, here you will mostly come across the precious ethnographic collection.
Memorial to the Pioneers of Aviation, locate near the airport, is now a 100-year-site where the South African Air Force was born. Today, you can explore it as a rebuilding of the hangar along with a mocked up Compton Paterson bi-plane that was utilized in flight training.
One of the ancient pubs is The Star of the West near the Kimberley Mine Museum. Made in 1870s by using just iron and wood, this is the right place for a little light refreshment. 873. The Kimberley tram will drop you on request here for those who just want a close look. Well, this is now a national monument.
If you are in South Africa, it is obvious that you will definitely visit a national park. In Kimberley, the newest one is the Mokala National Park at 80 km amidst the hills boasting many landscapes of seclusion. This is the home of the flora and fauna beauty, especially the Camel Thorn trees in arid areas varying from a small shrub to 16 m tall trees whose gum and bark act as medicines for coughs, colds, and nosebleeds.
Spring (August, September) and Autumn (March, April).
Protea Hotel Kimberley – From $100
Protea Hotel Diamond Lodge – From $125