Kimberley is proud to be one of the most authentic historical destinations in South Africa. Because of the finding of diamonds as far back as the 1870s, Kimberley soon emerged as one of the first major towns in South Africa. This economic and political turmoil resulted in the emergence of many famous people.
Best Time to Visit
The Kimberley has two seasons – wet and dry. The Dry season runs from April to October and is the best (and busiest) time to visit Kimberley. During the Wet season from November to March, the temperatures soar to over 40C and it is extremely humid.
Top Places to Visit in Kimberley
1. The Big Hole Mine Museum
The Big Hole Mine Museum in Kimberley is a window back to a time when fortune seekers converged here to dig for diamonds. This mining museum recreates what the town must have looked like, while allowing visitors to admire a replica of the stone on which the country’s diamond wealth was founded. The Big Hole Mine Museum offers a trip back in time to when diamonds were first found in Kimberley in the 1870s.
2. Duggan-Cronin Gallery
The Duggan-Cronin Gallery in Kimberley is a photographic museum displaying the photographs of Alfred Duggan-Cronin, Aubrey Elliot, Jean Morris and Alice Mertens. Their photographs of the indigenous peoples of southern Africa, taken between 1919 and 1980, show aspects of traditional life and dress now largely vanished. The Duggan-Cronin collection consists of negatives and prints, as well as artifacts of material culture of the tribes, including beadwork, costumes, pottery, iron tools and wood carvings.
3. Wildebeest Kuil Rock Art Centre
The engravings at Wildebeest Kuil (18km from The Solomon on the west of Kimberley) were made between 1,000 and 2,000 years ago by the ‘pecking’ technique: a hard, pointed stone was used to chip away the outer crust of the rock, exposing the lighter coloured rock beneath. With time, the exposed portions become as dark as the outer crust through weathering and the build-up of desert varnish.
4. Wonderwerk Cave
Wonderwerk Cave is on the eastern side of the Kuruman Hills, about 200km northwest of Kimberley off the R31. It is a solution cavity, which was formed millions of years ago as the dolomite (limestone) was dissolved by ground water and which was much later opened at one end by hillside erosion.
5. Benfontein Nature Reserve
Benfontein Nature Reserve, which lies near Kimberley in the Northern Cape, roughly 430km from Johannesburg, is the one place in the country where you can see Africa’s smallest cat – the black-footed cat. But you will have to do your sightings at night as the black-footed cat is strictly nocturnal. Benfontein Nature Reserve is not only the best place in the country to sight this little cat, but it is also the world’s leading research facility on the aardwolf (earth wolf) or maanhaar jackal – which belongs to the same family as the hyena. Benfontein is also well known as a birding destination with a long list of bird species that includes the African fish eagle, sociable weavers, larks and pipits. And the African white-backed vulture is one of a few raptors bred in the reserve. There is also wildlife to spot during the day – black wildebeest, roan, sable, rhino, and buffalo.