The Pride of Africa
By Sukie Chapman
10 February 2015
All great rail holidays must feature elements of luxury, refinement and tradition. The Pride of Africa has all of this and more.Read more
The Award Winning Leader in Escorted Worldwide Rail Holidays
Kimberley is the capital of South Africa's Northern Cape, and has enjoyed a prosperous past thanks to the discovery of diamonds in the area. In 1866, Erasmus Jacobs uncovered what was later found to be a diamond on the banks of the Orange River. This was followed by a few further discoveries in the same locality, and by the early 1870s there was a massive rush as people from all over the country flocked to try and find their fortune. The rush was such that by 1873, Kimberley was the second-largest town in South Africa - but the region did not have a proper name until the rush. It was decided that the settlement should be named Kimberley after Lord Kimberley, the British minister for the Colonies, because it was a name he could "both spell and pronounce".
Discover the highlights of Namibia and South Africa on this fantastic holiday by rail. Explore Cape Town and Table Mountain, see magnificent wildlife in Etosha National Park, experience the mighty Sossusvlei and enjoy six indulgent nights on the incredible Pride of Africa - the world's most lavish and luxurious hotel train.… see more
16 daysView tour details >
The hill in the area where the diamonds were first found quickly disappeared under the pressure of being mined by thousands of people. The resulting space became known as the 'Big Hole'. Incredibly, the hole has a surface of 42 acres (17 hectares), and is 1,519 feet (463 metres) wide. The mine underneath reached a depth of 3,599 feet (1,097 metres). Nowadays the mine is no longer in use, but there is a fascinating museum detailing the history of the site. This includes some preserved or restored period buildings from the early years of the rush.