The Diamond Field Region is a small tourism area in the Northern Cape, South Africa. It was the heart of the diamond rush in the mid to late 19th century. Kimberley is the administrative capital and main city of the Northern Cape Province. It all started when a young shepherd boy picked up a pebble that later became known as the "Eureka" diamond.
Diamonds were later discovered in Barkly West, just north of Kimberley. Thousands of prospectors were attracted to this area, and then later moved to Kimberley when diamonds were discovered there.
A large diamond was found on the Colesberg Kopje (hill) just outside Kimberley. This led to the huge diamond rush on and around this hill. The Colesberg Kopje soon disappeared into a gigantic open-pit mine that became known as Kimberley's Big Hole.
Visitors can walk though the interactive diamond museum and see the famous big hole, which is 215m deep, and still stands, as a testament to this time.
Kimberley then became an important South African city. In 1882, electric street lighting was installed in Kimberley, making it the first town in the southern hemisphere to have electric street lighting.
The Diamond Fields Region also bears scars from the Anglo Boer war. The Boers sieged Kimberly for 124 days and a memorial in the city centre stands tribute to those who perished during this siege.
In 1913, South Africa's first flying school was opened near Kimberley. It trained pilots for the South African Aviation Corps. This school became the foundation for the South African Air Force.
For those travellers who love history, the Diamond Fields Region is highly recommended. A number of other entertainment activities for the whole family can be found in and around Kimberley, making it a good base to explore the surrounding areas.
Copyright © 2008 Mark Thomas
Mark Thomas is involved with the tourism industry and enjoys highlighting popular tourism venues in South Africa. For more information on South Africa please visit Tour SA.com and for accommodation in the Kimberley and Northern Cape area, visit Tour SA - Northern Cape, South Africa
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