What to do on a weekend trip to Kimberley

Kimberley, Northern Cape

Kimberley is not just any kind of Northern Cape town. It’s a town known as the Diamond City but also, the first city to install electric streetlights.

We arrived in Kimberely in an unusual manner; a tire burst 40 kilometers away, in the sweltering heat along the N8. We’ve been driving for nearly 6 hours from Augrabies Falls National Park and, our Kimberley adventure started off with a bang.

Luckily, we managed to change the tire and arrived at our guesthouse before nightfall. It was a long day so naturally, we went to purchase some food before starting our adventure in, ‘The City of Diamonds’.

Whenever you see the name, Kimberley, one automatically connects it to, ‘The Big Hole’ – a huge crater right in the middle of town; measuring over a kilometre deep with a surface area of 17 hectares. When the discovery of diamonds made news in 1871, many descended to the town to strike it rich.

There are various stories about the uncovering of diamond deposits but when news broke, nearly 30 000 to 50 000 diggers laboured all day and night; sifting soil in a frenetic quest for wealth. 

Other than just diamonds, there are interesting battle sites dating back to the South African (Anglo-Boer) war. So it’s not surprising that Kimberley is a fascinating cultural destination.

Besides the one main attraction Kimberley is synonymous too, here is a guide on how to spend a weekend in this modern town:

DOCS Coffee and Tea Cafe

If you looking for a luxurious breakfast spot then DOCs Cafe is the place to be.

Situated in Egerton Road, it looked like a hotel when you walk through the hallway into the beautiful courtyard but realised it’s actually also an accommodation establishment.

They are known for their exquisite coffees so take advantage of trying out their wide coffee variety. The menu serves breakfast, light lunches and, yummy desserts so spend the whole day there.

Address: Egerton Road, Kimberley| Phone: 081 843 8138 | Visit website here

The Big Hole

Visit the largest hand-dug excavation in the world, the famous Big Hole, and be transported back in time to the very beginning of Kimberley and the discovery of Diamonds.

The Big Hole is a massive excavation; 214 meters deep with a surface area of 17 hectares and a perimeter of 1.6 km.

You can either just peek at the Hole for R60.00 pp or, do an hour-long tour for R120.00 pp giving you insight into diamonds and diamond mining; it’s all up to you.

Address: S Circular Road, Kimberley| Phone:  053 839 4600 | Visit website here

Take the Vintage Tram

The old Tram route used to take visitors between City Hall, the Big Hole, and Mine Museum with a stop off at Kimberley’s oldest Pub.

Today, the Tram only passes through the first few buildings of the Mine Museum, where the trip begins and continues halfway around the Big Hole before returning approximately a 15-minute trip for R25.00 pp.

Explore the Old Town

It’s worth exploring the Old Town erected during the Diamond Rush. Many of the buildings showcase what it was like during that period with antiques and structures that resemble what life was like.

Take a History lesson at McGregor Museum

Based in the old Kimberley Sanatorium building, the McGregor Museum is a mecca of knowledge and information displaying everything from the Stone Age, the history of the Northern Cape, the diamond period and, so much more.

You’ll get lost in history so carve out at least an hour when visiting the museum.

Address: Atlas Street, Herlear, Kimberley| Phone:  053 839 2700 | Visit website here | Price: R30.00 pp

The Honoured Dead Memorial

This heritage site is situated in the middle of a circle so it’s best to find parking and walk over the road to view it.

The Memorial was built to commemorate those who died defending the city during the Siege of Kimberley during the Anglo-Boer War.

Dine at the Star of the West

If you didn’t know, Star of the West is the second oldest pub in South Africa; opening its door back in 1870 for thirsty miners.

They recently renovated the back area which accommodates more than enough guests for breakfast, lunch and, supper. No need to book a reservation. Everyone is welcome.

Address: 2 N Circular Road, Kimberley| Phone:  087 527 0255

Tips when visiting Kimberley

  • The roads are ill-maintained and, there are huge potholes all over the place.
  • There is an abundance of malls. They always 7 minutes away and, some are actually built next to each other.
  • There’s no shortage of accommodations. The place we stayed at wasn’t great so we won’t be recommending it.
  • Kimberley is exceptionally warm and humid so be prepared and stay hydrated.
  • If you not driving, you can simply take a flight. The airport is a short drive from the center of the city.

Until the next adventure.

Stephanie Marthinus Blog