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Kimberley is the capital of the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. Amongst other things, it is famous for its Big Hole, the world's largest hand-dug excavation that was created when thousands of people searched for diamonds at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. By 14 August 1914 22,7 billion kg of rock had been excavated, yielding 2722 kg of diamonds.
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Points of Interest in Kimberley
Kimberley and its environs have a very wide variety of tourist attractions and museums from which the visitor can choose. A selection of these can be seen at Kimberley's Unofficial web.
- The Big Hole and Open Mine Museum At the western side of the Big Hole is the Open Mine Museum. Consisting of original and carefully reconstructed buildings this museum has preserved a great deal of the city's past. The Eureka, the first recorded diamond discovered in South Africa, can be viewed at the museum. Have some fun sifting through diamond bearing gravel, looking for your own diamond. Experience a diamond mining operation - complete with blastings! Play skittles in the old bowling alley, or just stroll through the old buildings which have been reconstructed here at the museum.
- Flamingo Island. Birdwatchers will be interested to know that this new bird breeding facility has been built at Kamfers Dam (just 7 km north of the city). The island is home to the Lesser Flamingo and is one of only four places in the whole of Africa (and the only locality in South Africa) where they breed. Kamfers Dam supports the largest permanent population of Lesser Flamingos in southern Africa, with at times up to an estimated 60,000 individuals (comprising more than 50% of the southern African population).
- Diggers' Memorial The Diggers Memorial was erected in honour of diggers past and present. This fountain you will find in the Ernest Oppenheimer Gardens. The gardens are a memorial to the late Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, a mining magnate. He was the first mayor of Kimberley when Beaconsfield and Kimberley were combined into a city in 1912.
- Honoured Dead Memorial This memorial commemorates those who lost their lives defending Kimberley during the 124 day siege of Kimberley at the start of the 1899 - 1902 Anglo Boer War. "Long Cecil", the gun named after Rhodes and built in the De Beers Workshops during the siege, stands on the stylobate of the monument.
- Kimberley City Hall The City Hall was built in 1899. It was completed just before the start of the Anglo- Boer War.
- The Kimberley Club Established in 1881, and a national monument since 1984. Some of its more famous members were Cecil John Rhodes, Barney Barnato, Sir Ernest Oppenheimer and Harry Oppenheimer. Renovated and upgraded to 4/5 star standards in 2005, it is now also a Boutique Hotel.
- Harry Oppenheimer House Diamonds from all over South Africa are sorted daily inside this building. Since diamonds are best sorted by gentle natural light, the building has windows only on the south side to prevent direct sunlight from entering. The building is not open to the public.
- The Halfway House Inn, half way between Kimberley city centre and Beaconsfield. "The Half" was, and still is, a drive-in pub (believed to be the only one remaining in the world). Legend has it that the original "driver" was Cecil Rhodes on his horse, en route between his mining interests in Kimberley and Beaconsfield. Another legend has it that when instructed by the municipality to erect a 6ft [2m] wall around the front of the premises, the then owners of "The Half" dug a 6ft deep trench and erected the wall in the bottom of that. (Apparently these both fall into the category of "urban legends" - but they make good yarns to tell visitors!)
- The Star of the West One of the country's oldest pubs, "The Star" still operates near the Kimberley Mine Museum. It was built in the early 1870s from wood and iron and granted its first liquor license in 1873. The Kimberley tram stops on request outside the pub for those who wish to take a closer look, or to partake of a little light refreshment. This pub was declared a national monument in 1990.
- William Humphreys Art Gallery One of the most important galleries in the country, the WHAG houses a collection of traditional and contemporary South African graphics, sculptures and paintings. It hosts many special exhibitions from time to time.
- McGregor Museum Originally constructed in 1897 by De Beers as a sanatorium, the building has served as a luxury hotel (Hotel Belgrave) and later as a convent school. The museum provides research and advice to a wide range of community projects throughout the Northern Cape.
- Magersfontein Battlefield and Museum Tours to the many battlefields can be designed around individual needs.
- Memorial to the Pioneers of Aviation Established in 1912/13. The birthplace of the South African Air Force. It is a reconstruction of the hangar, with a replica of the Compton Paterson bi-plane used in flight training. Just past the airport on the way to Magersfontein.
- Duggan Cronin Gallery Exhibits indigenous cultures and lifestyles in some 8000 photographs taken by Irishman AM Duggan Cronin between 1919 and 1939 are just some of the invaluable ethnographic collection.
- Rudd House Formerly the lavish home of HP Rudd, a mining magnate. It was restored to its full grandeur by the McGregor Museum. It was declared a national monument in 1990. This house can be viewed by appointment with the McGregor Museum.
- Dunluce An elegant home built in 1897 for Gustav Bonas. It was John Orr's family home from 1902 to 1975. It was declared a national monument in 1990. This home may be viewed by appointment with the McGregor Museum.
Kimberley has a very wide variety of restaurants from which the visitor can choose.
Kimberley has a very wide variety of pubs from which the visitor can choose.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Kimberley (Northern Cape) on Wikivoyage.