RSS Feed

My trip: let’s start with some history.

Posted on

We left on Wednesday afternoon of last week, after my SO* finished working. Because we had a late start, we decided to go no further than Kimberley. I’ll give you the history in a (tiny) nutshell, as it is extensive and I’m not knowledgeable enough to give all the facts correctly, but you can read the details here:Β,_Northern_CapeΒ It makes for some interesting reading.

Kimberley is a town in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. It is significant for so many reasons, but mainly because of diamonds. A young boy picked up (literally!) a diamond in the area in 1866, and soon after an even bigger one was picked up near where the first was found, and people started streaming to Colesbergkoppie in their thousands. Soon it was a bustling town, with people trying to find their fortunes.

Two very well-known and important persons played a HUGE part in the history of Kimberley, namely Barney Barnato and Cecil John Rhodes. They both became very rich and influential in the town, coming from very different directions. Barney worked abandoned claims. He worked 7 days a week, with one helper, and eventually through sheer dogged persistence, he made his fortune. Cecil on the other hand, came from different stock, and became rich and important through connections. Initially they were fierce opponents, but they realized that they could be stronger if they worked together, and in short, the De Beer’s Diamond Company was founded.

The diamond mine was started by people working their individual claims. It then became an open cast mine of vast proportions, keeping in mind that it was worked by people, not machines! They climbed into the depths, loosened the Β dirt with picks and shovels, and carried out buckets of dirt that was sifted at the top, to find the shiny little stones. Many people died there, and many came away poorer than they were at the start. But – a few made their fortunes.

Kimberley became a town that is still a busy one today. It developed around the ‘Big Hole’, as it’s know today and the lay-out of the town is quite weird and confusing! πŸ™‚

I’m going to leave the history there, except for one other very important fact: Kimberley was the first town in the Southern Hemisphere to get electrical street lights!!!

Here are some of the pictures I took there – I hope you find them interesting.

The Big Hole

To give an idea of the scale, this picture was taken so you can see the tall buildings of the town, compared to the hole.

This structure was built in recent years, so visitors can look down into the hole, instead of from behind a fence on the ground.

Some facts about the scale of the mine.

Around the Hole, there is a huge museum, with a reproduction of the old town, with authentic fittings and interiors, as well as a reproduction of what the mine would have looked like after they went underground, and a display of diamonds – real ones, that are very well guarded!! πŸ™‚

Mining Town shops.


Old tools and workbench in an ironmongers workshop.




Well, that’s it for today! Let me know if you find posts like these interesting or boring, please!!! Would hate to bore y’all!!! πŸ™‚


About zelmare

In a nutshell: I'm a woman of 'a certain age', I recently moved after living in the same area for 27 years, i raised 3 absolutely fabulous kids (I'm sure you will hear a lot about them, since I am a very proud mama), got divorced, and in due course, met and fell in love with the most amazing man, and i moved to a small town called Nylstroom. A lot of my blogs will most probably be about my new life, my family and friends, and my interests, which are taking pictures, travelling, food, re-decorating, music and books. I am looking forward to meeting a lot of lovely new friends and interesting people! :)

22 responses »

  1. I for one loved this post. I’m interested in history, and the cultures in other countries, so how could I find it boring? Great photos as well, you really captured the scale of the big hole very well!

  2. Not boring at all. I love history. It was my favorite subject in school! Thanks for sharing and I enjoyed the photos. Loved the tidbit about the first lights. I’m a trivia person.

    • Great! Well, I’m glad you enjoyed it. πŸ™‚ I also like trivia, especially if it’s sort of life changing. Can you just imagine the wonder of having electrical street lights where previously there were none!

  3. Love the history lesson. So why is it full of water now, I assume it wasn’t always. Looks really creepy, like that massive thing that tried to eat the boys in Star Wars. Haha. πŸ™‚ Looking forward to seeing more.

    • In mines it’s quite natural for water to seep into the holes and tunnels. Normally, in an active mine, they keep pumping the water out. It is rather scary. πŸ™‚

  4. Love love love!!! I can’t recall that I’ve ever seen this in real life?? maybe when I was a small girl?? oh well – should make a stop there again someday!! πŸ™‚ **

    • Uhmmmm…scary as it may sound, I can’t remember either, but I do think we took you kids there when you were very young. But worth another look, anyway! πŸ™‚

  5. Keep them coming!! I found it very interesting, and the photos are great. I love when I learn something from blogging :).

  6. I love Kimberley when I visited and as a Zimbabwean I have an unhealthy obsession with CJR and his history. I’d highly recomend to any of your readers that they hunt down the tv mini series with Martin Shaw playing Rhodes if they are remotely nosey about knowing more without boring themselves, it’s not 100% accurate but definitely gives a good idea of the man and the place.

  7. This is a place that I hope to one day visit. Looks interesting.

  8. Love the historic part… and that is one BIG hole πŸ™‚

    • The mother of all holes… πŸ™‚ Glad you enjoyed it. I’ve got one more history lesson from my trip, if I can get my pictures – I think my laptop crashed… 😦

  9. It’s very interesting, zelmare! Keep them coming! I love reading of the history and background of a place. That hole is amazing, especially when you showed us the scale of it with the town in the background. Your photos are wonderful and help tell your story.

    • Somehow this comment of yours landed up with the spam – fortunately I checked before I deleted! Thanks, Judy, I really appreciate the feedback and the kind comments. It is some hole! πŸ™‚

  10. I love the history and the photos!! I find mines, dams, bridges and the story behind them so interesting. And to see the actual De Beer mine and read about it was a treat. πŸ˜€

  11. Very nice work! I love seeing and hearing about new places!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: