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Kimberley, the capital of the Northern Cape, is located in the central region of South Africa, between Cape Town and Johannesburg. Kimberley was established in the late 19th century, in response to a diamond rush, and is bursting with historical and cultural attractions, most notably the Big Hole.
At 180m deep, the Big Hole is the largest man-made excavation in the world, and has produced more than 14.5 million carats of diamonds since mining began there. On the western side of the Big Hole is the Kimberley Mine Museum, a reconstruction of the town in its diamond mining heyday, over a century ago.
The city also boasts many old buildings, museums and monuments, some pertaining to the Anglo-Boer war, such as the Honoured Dead Memorial, commemorating those who lost their lives during the 124-day Kimberley siege at the beginning of the 1899 - 1902 war. Among the numerous historical buildings are the Kimberley Club, which was constructed in 1881, and was declared a national monument in 1984, and the Kimberley City Hall, established in 1899.
Other places of interest are the Alexander McGregor Museum, the Cathedral Church of St Cyprian and the elegant 1897 manor home known as Dunluce. There are also a number of art galleries, including the Duggan Cronin Gallery, the Art Gallery in the Kimberley Mine Museum and the William Humphreys Art Gallery.
Leisure activities on offer in the city include cricket, tennis, bowls, squash, golf and a wide range of shopping facilities.
Kimberley is surrounded by sites of important battles in the Anglo-Boer war, the most significant being the siege of Kimberley and Magersfontein, where trench warfare was used by the Boers for the first time. Also nearby is the Wildebeest Kuil Rock Art Centre, 15kms northwest of Kimberley, where ancient San paintings and engravings can be viewed, and the Nooitgedacht Glacial Pavings in Barkly West, about 30kms away.
Kimberley is situated approximately five hours' drive from Johannesburg on the N12 highway. From Cape Town, the journey is several hours longer, along the N1 to Beaufort West, and then the N12. Various coaches and buses, such as Translux and Greyhound, connect Kimberley to other parts of the country on a regular basis. Trains also stop at Kimberley on the route between Cape Town and Johannesburg, and frequent flights link the city with Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, East London and Bloemfontein.