Northern Cape Road Trip: First stop – Kimberley
Our Road Trip Journey
So many people have asked me about our recent road trip adventures, where we’ve been and the route we took to get to Cape Town this time around. When I planned this trip I was in full school mom mode and decided to make it an educational trip for the kids. Always fun but something new to learn every day. So I decided we’d go from the Free State to Cape Town on a Northern Cape road trip adventure.
Our first stop was Kimberley. We arrived just after lunch and it was an easy drive, about two and a half hours. We checked into our accommodation, unhooked the trailer and went straight to The Big Hole, Kimberley.
I’ve been there before but as a kid, I don’t know maybe 25 years ago. Google maps confused me a little, it must have taken me to an old entrance, but we found the parking area eventually.
My oldest child loved it, the history was her favorite part. We paid for the full tour and it was super nice. We left a couple of days before school closed for the holidays so it wasn’t busy with thousands of tourists. I prefer it like that, easier to keep my eyes on four heads.
The actual hole is massive. It really looks small on the pictures. I don’t remember it being this big! The Big Hole is definitely something to see, it’s hard to believe they dug it with their bare hands, hand made shovels and picks without any modern machinery or yellow metal.
Before the tour started they showed us a short movie on where and when it all started. The first diamond was found on the banks of the Orange river by a small child. He played with the rock which looked like old glass. His mom gave it away for free, she had no idea what her child had. The man she gave it to offered her money for the rock but she said he could have it for free.
Kimberley Mining History
They started digging for diamonds in Colesberg before they started in Kimberley and apparently the Kimberley hole is or rather was a copy of Colesberg. (This was said by the locals)
In the beginning people just went there from all over the world as the word spread. They pegged claims and if you found something it was your lucky day. Eventually, years later in 1888 De Beers Consolidated was established.
They stopped mining in 1914 already and I was surprised by this. I personally don’t understand how no one has continued mining in Kimberley. The shaft and tunnels fell in and it would probably cost millions to get the operation up and running again but surely it will be worth it?
They have done an amazing job at this museum, it really felt like we stepped back in time. Old cars, horse carts, clothes, furniture and things from 150 years ago kept safe and preserved. Original buildings, train tracks, houses and then of course that vault with the real diamonds. It is absolutely stunning. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take any photos of the real diamonds. All the facilities were clean and they have a little restaurant inside the main building.
It was extremely hot so we finished our day with a nice meal and ice cream. The kids swam and we rested for the next day. I knew we had a longer trip ahead, one without anything fun to see or places to stop.
I chose this route because we’ve never done it before. We always drive through the Karoo, this time the Kalahari was calling my name.
It’s not always easy to find accommodation for my size family, especially in small towns. I used Booking.com and booked at Hadida guest house. It was great! We had full Wifi, full DSTV, two TV’s with duel view and a little apartment with a full kitchen, three bedrooms and a lounge / dining area. They brought a full breakfast to the room, set the table and I could enjoy a breakfast with the kids before hitting the road.
I travelled 1800 kilometres in total over five days, four nights alone with our four kids. We had a wonderful time. Fuel was a bit more than usual and our accommodation added up but the experience was worth it.
I am already planning our next trip. Follow the journey as I share it incase you find yourself in my shoes and need to hit the road whilst having fun. Why should the holiday only begin once you arrive? Let the fun begin from the moment you go.