Kimberley at a glance

Kimberley is the capital of the Northern Cape province situated in the far west of the province, next to the Free State Provincial border.

Kimberley offers property and real estate investors a large selection of properties ranging from large houses to smaller homes, apartments, security villages, retirement complexes and guest houses.

Kimberley is one of South Africa's most historic towns, founded on the area's vast diamond deposits and now a pleasant little city of modern shopping malls, office complexes, apartment blocks, quiet suburbs and broad and tree-lined streets. It does, though, have a distinctive atmosphere, a mood that evokes the lively, romantic days of the first great rush, when hopeful diggers gathered in their thousands in the sprawling, dust-blown camps to seek instant fortune.

Kimberley is still a hub of the diamond industry and four of its rich 'pipes' are productive. Among other minerals mined in the area are iron ore, gypsum and salt. The town also serves as a significant market and service centre for the surrounding cattle ranches and irrigated farmlands.

Kimberley lies on the lower plains of the great central plateau, a summer-rainfall region whose rains tend to be infrequent. Summer days can be extremely hot, nights much less so. Winter days are blessed with long hours of intense sunshine and the nights are often bitterly cold.

Kimberley has a fascinating history. In 1866 a 15-year old farm boy, Erasmus Jacobs, found a 'pretty pebble' on the banks of the Orange River, which he gave to neighbor Chalk van Meeker, who in turn arranged to have the white stone examined. It proved to be a 21.77-carat diamond and it was named 'The 'Eureka'. A few diggers arrived on the scene and found some small gems, but otherwise the discovery prompted little interest. Three years later, however, Van Meeker brought another diamond, this time an 84-carat one, which he bought from a local shepherd for the price of 10 oxen, 500 sheep and a horse. This became known as 'The Star of South Africa', and it triggered a much bigger rush.

The alluvial (river-bank) workings were fairly profitable, but the finds were modest compared to what would shortly be unearthed from a number of diamond-filled kimberlite 'pipes' located to the south-east, an area that embraced the farms Bultfontein and Vooruitzicht, the latter owned by the De Beer brothers. The richest of the deposits, which lay in and beneath a small hill called Colesberg Kopje, was discovered by accident in July 1871, by a colourful character named Fleetwood Rawstorne. Colesberg Kopje soon disappeared under the picks and spades of Rawstorne and his gang to become what is today Kimberley's world-famed Big Hole.

By 1872 an enormous tent-town sprawled across the dry veld, a series of camps that, together, accommodated 50,000 people. Among them were men of unusual enterprise, most notably Cecil John Rhodes and the Jewish Londoner Barney Barnato. When these two came on the scene the diggings were chaotic. Nearly 4,000 individual claims were being worked and up to 30,000 men were labouring cheek-by-jowl in the ever-deepening cavity. A vast spider's web of aerial ropeways carried diamond-bearing earth to the surface. Syndicates and small companies were formed, but ten years later there were still a hundred or so separate operators.

Rhodes decided to consolidate the diggings and began buying up the claims on the de Beers mine, and then turned his attention to Barnato's Kimberley Central mine. Eventually, after some of the hardest bargaining in the annals of big business, he bought it for just over five million pounds, a vast some in those days. Thereafter the industry stabilised, and Kimberley settled into a more orderly routine.

The town, though, was to feature again in world headlines - during the early months of the Anglo-Boer war (1899-1902), when it was besieged and bombarded by Boer forces. Less spectacular but notable enough are its minor claims to fame: Kimberley hosted South Africa's first stock exchange, its first flying school, and claims to be the first town in the southern hemisphere to install electric lighting.

Seeff Kimberley can assist you with a wide selection of residential property for sale or rental including houses, apartments, cluster developments, security villages, land and guesthouses.

13 Residential Homes To Let in Kimberley

FROM R4,995 to R27,500

Kimberley in the news

#ImStaying reveals the beauty of Kimberley
There's no doubt South Africa's a wonderful place to live. We're blessed with sunny weather, breathtaking landscapes, delicious food and a colourful heritage. With a tough economic climate, it's easy to forget what we have. But,...

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