EXPLORE SOL PLAATJE: Attractions

Attractions & Activities

Places to go in the Sol Plaatje Municipality

The Sol Plaatje region is filled with hundreds of historic attractions and activities for the entire family. Walk the walk diggers did which made them rich, or see some historic markings. If you would like to list any other attractions on this page, feel free to email us at webmaster@solplaatje.org.za and provide us with the attraction name, contact details, a short description and a photo and we shall upload it onto our website.

A - Z ATTRACTION LISTINGS

Africana Library

Telephone: 053 830 6247 / Fax: 053 8331005
Monday to Friday: 08:00 - 16:30 Address: 63-65, Dutoitspan Road, Kimberley

The building of the Kimberley Public Library was opened on 23 July 1887 and vacated by the Public Library in 1984. The building was later restored and inaugurated on 30 March 1986 as an Africana Library to cater specifically for researchers. In February 1990 the building was declared a National Monument. The library holds a good collection of Anglo-Boer War material as well.

Alexander Mcgregor Memorial Museum

Telephone: 053 839 2722 / Fax: 053 842 1433
Monday to Friday: 09:00 - 17:00 - Closed on weekends and public holidays. www.museumsnc.co.za

Chapel Street, Kimberley. Changes are underway at this museum and it will soon be a Kimberley History Museum, with a Kimberley timeline emphasising, amongst others, the Kimberley Firsts. The development of the city will also be covered, including “Forgotten Suburbs”, such as Greenpoint, Galeshewe and the historic Malay Camp, a site of forced removal. The original museum building in Chapel Street was donated to the people of Kimberley by Mrs Margaret McGregor in 1907, in memory of her late husband, Alexander McGregor, a diamond pioneer and mayor of Kimberley in 1886. Designed by F Carstairs Rogers, this attractive brick building with its intricate façade conforms closely to British norms for public buildings during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. With its neighbours, the Methodist Church and Manse, it forms one of the very few remaining urban groupings from Kimberley's past. Achille Bocciarelli, an Italian sculptor and owner of local brickworks, sculpted the two reclining female figures on the pediment. Miss Maria Wilman was appointed as the first curator of the museum in 1908. During the nearly forty years that she was in charge of the museum, she developed it into one of the most important in South Africa. Her fields of interest, in which she laid the foundations of the present museum collections, were Botany, Mineralogy, Ethnology and Archaeology. In 1957 the increasing size of the collections necessitated a move to larger premises in the Chapwood Building across the street. By the late 1960s shortage of space was a real problem. Plans for a new museum building were already completed when the Kimberley Sanatorium, a historical Kimberley building, became available for such a purpose. The museum staff and collections moved to these new premises in 1973

Battlefield Route

Kimberley Visitors Centre, 121 Bultfontein Road, Tel: 053 832 7298 / Fax: 053 832 7211 Email: tourism@solplaatje.org.za

The many battlefields of the Anglo-Boer War between 1899-1902 can be explored on the well -marked N12 route

Belgravia Historical Walk

Kimberley Visitors Centre, 121 Bultfontein Road, Tel: 053 839 2712 / 053 832 7298 / Fax: 053 832 7211 Email: tourism@solplaatje.org.za

A self-guided walk thats stars at the McGregor Museam through the oldest exclusively residential suburb that originated in the 1870's.

The Big Hole and Kimberley Mine Museum

Kimberley Visitors Centre, 121 Bultfontein Road, Tel: 053 832 7298 / Fax: 053 832 7211 Email: tourism@solplaatje.org.za

Kimberley's most famous landmark has a new exibition centre viewing platform and revamped version of an old town.

Burgher Monument

Kimberley Visitors Centre, 121 Bultfontein Road, Tel: 053 832 7298 / Fax: 053 832 7211 Email: tourism@solplaatje.org.za

The Magersfontein, the gravesite of boers killed in the Anglo Boer War's eastern campaign (1899 - 1902)

Canteen Kopje

Kimberley Visitors Centre, 121 Bultfontein Road, Tel: 053 832 7298 / Fax: 053 832 7211 Email: tourism@solplaatje.org.za

A spectacularly rich Early Stone Age situated outside Barkly West in the Northern Cape, South Africa. It is a Provincial Heritage Site. One of the hills in the vicinity of Canteen Kopje was the site of the first alluvial diamond diggings (as opposed to surface prospecting) on the Diamond Fields of South Africa, which precipitated the rush to these parts in 1870. Digging continued here until the early 1940s.

 

Cenotaph

Kimberley Visitors Centre, 121 Bultfontein Road, Tel: 053 832 7298 / Fax: 053 832 7211 Email: tourism@solplaatje.org.za

Situated on Cnr Lennox & Dutiotspan Rds, .Designed by the famous local architect and painter, William
Timlin, it was erected to commemorate 400 Kimberley men who fell in World War I. It is unusual in that it gives the dates 1914-1919 (hostilities ceased 1918; Peace Treaty in 1919). Plaques bearing the names of Kimberley men who died during World War II (1939-1945) were added later.

City Hall

Cnr Old Main & Transvaal Road, Tel: 053 830 6226

A City centre landmark! This imposing building was designed by Fergus Carstairs Rogers in Roman Corinthian style. It was built in 1899 just before the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War and served as a distribution point for rations during the Siege of Kimberley.

Duggan Cronin Gallery

Egerton Rd Tel: 053 839 2743

Revamped photographic gallery with ethnographic emphasis. The core of the collection consists of some 8000 photographs taken by Irishman AM Duggan-Cronin between 1919 and 1938.

Dunluce

10 Lodge Road, Tel: 053 839 2700

An elegant home built in 1897 for Gustav Bonas. John Orr's family home from 1902 - 1975. The house was declared a national monument in 1990. (Viewing by appointment)

Flamingo Casino

Kimberley Visitors Centre, 121 Bultfontein Road, Tel: 053 832 7298 / Fax: 053 832 7211 Email: tourism@solplaatje.org.za

Relive the Diamond Rush era at the Sun International operated Flamingo Casino with its turn-ofthe- century Casinostyle that reflects the romance of the Victorian age. The Casino with its 9 gaming tables and 235 slot-machines is flanked by a family restaurant and a 200-seat conference centre. Live entertainment is hosted at the 129 Showbar and there are also bars and a small retail component. Accommodation is available at the
90-room Road Lodge. Being situated adjacent to the Kimberley Golf Club enables you to enjoy both the incentive of a challenging game of golf and a stimulating casino experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freddie Tait Golf Museum

Kimberley Visitors Centre, 121 Bultfontein Road, Tel: 053 832 7298 / Fax: 053 832 7211 Email: tourism@solplaatje.org.za

The first of its kind in South Africa, the museum is situated at the Kimberley Golf Club where Ernie Els won his first pro tournament, the Spoornet SA Classic in 1990

Haunted Corners / Ghost Trail

Kimberley Visitors Centre, 121 Bultfontein Road, Tel: 053 832 7298 / Fax: 053 832 7211 Email: tourism@solplaatje.org.za

Visit the haunted corners of a city that was plagued by war and mine disaster.

Halfway House

Tel: 053 831 6324 (Monday - Saturday 10:30 - 02:00 next morning)

Du Toitspan Road. Once the Halfway Hotel, legend has it that Rhodes, when passing on his way to the Sanatorium, was served his drink while mounted.

Honoured Dead Memorial

Kimberley Visitors Centre, 121 Bultfontein Road, Tel: 053 832 7298 / Fax: 053 832 7211 Email: tourism@solplaatje.org.za

Dulham & Oliver Rds. Designed by Sir Herbert Baker and built at CJ Rhodes' behest to honour those who died defending Kimberley during The Siege. 'Long Cecil', The De Beers manufatured field gun used during the Siege, is mounted on the stylobate surrounded by shells from the boer 'Long Tom'.

Kamfers Dam

Rancher Booth
N12 (Kimberley to Johannesburg)
Tel 053 873 3591

Kamfers Dam is a perennial wetland located 2km north of Kimberley. It supports the largest permanent Kamfers Dam Flamingoespopulation of Lesser Flamingos in southern Africa. At times in excess of 35 000 Lesser Flamingos are present at Kamfers Dam, about 60% of this species’ Southern African population. The flamingos are
attracted to this 400ha wetland by its size, perennial nature, and abundance of food (as a result of enrichment from sewerage water inflow). Both Greater and Lesser Flamingos had previously attempted to breed at Kamfers Dam without success due to receding water levels which expose the nests to disturbance and predation by dogs and humans. In September 2006 Ekapa Mining constructed an island off the northern shoreline using 26 500 tons of material. Since then it has been reported that up to one thousand eggs have hatched at the man-made breeding island and many more are expected. This is first time they
have bred on South African soil. The wetland also supports numerous other bird species, both waterbirds and terrestrial species; more than 200 species have been recorded during the past 10 years. Kamfers Dam is accredited both as a Natural Heritage Site and an Important Bird Area, and some years ago a submission was made for the wetland to be declared a Ramsar site.

Kimberley Club

Du Toitspan Rd Tel : 053 832 4224

A National since 1984, the Kimberley CLub was established in August 1881. Among its more illustrious past members, it counts CJ Rhodes, Leander Starr Jameson, Charles Dunnel Rudd, BArney Barnato, Sir Ernest and Harry Oppenheimer.

Magersfontein Battlefield

Tel 053 833 7115 or 053 839 2735
Email: sunet@museumsnc.co.za
Web: www.museumsnc.co.za

One of the most impressive is the Celtic cross in memory of the Highland Brigade losses at Magersfontein. Also at Magersfontein are the Scandinavian memorials, a monument to the Black Watch Regiment and stones commemorating both Boer and British losses. Close to the Magersfontein battlefield is the hugely impressive Burgher Monument. Further afield are poignant memorials to men who died in action or of disease, at
Modder River, Graspan and Belmont.

Mcgregor Museum

Sanatorium, Atlas Street,Tel: 053 839 2700 (Mon-Sat 9h00-17h00, Sun 14h00-17h00)

Built in 1897 at Rhodes' instigation as a hotel and health resort. It became the McGregor Museum's headquarters in 1971. Displays include natural history, the Siege of Kimberley, a Hall of Religions and the acclaimed Ancestors Gallery depicting 3 million years of human history in the Northern Cape.

Mokala National Park

Turn-off the N12 (Cape Town road) 80km south of Kimberley
Tel 053 204 8000/1/2 Web: www.sanparks.org

Mokala BirdlifeSouth Africa’s newest National Park, Mokala, is very conveniently situated 80km south of Kimberley, just off the N12 to Cape Town. The grassy plains studded with Camelthorn trees are the new home to endangered
species that were translocated from the old Vaalbos National Park. Temperamental black rhino as well as white rhino, elusive roan antelope, and Cape buffalo are amongst the many mammals that roam the rocky
hills and plains. There are also San rock engravings and Anglo-Boer War battlefields to be explored in the area.

 

 

Northern Cape Provincial Legislature

Kimberley Visitors Centre, 121 Bultfontein Road, Tel: 053 832 7298 / Fax: 053 832 7211 Email: tourism@solplaatje.org.za

This distinctly African-inspired Provincial Legislature building is aptly situated between the city and the township of Galeshewe and is the pride of the Northern Cape. The feeling that the structure evokes is captured in the catchphrase ‘an icon of pride, a home to all’. It is an architectural reflection of the Northern Cape Province and captures the spirit and aspirationsLegislature of the people of the province with its unique, evocative family of forms and the interrelation of volumes and open space. The Northern Cape Provincial Legislature is the law-making institution of the province. As such the new building houses the members of the Provincial Legislature, the support staff of the Legislature, the Premier, and the Premier’s office staff. It has a debating chamber, a library, an open
area called the ‘Patlelo’, and a Respirator Tower which is primarily an architectural landmark. The buildings face the People’s Square, a gathering area and public space.

 

 

Pioneers of Aviation Memorial

Oliver Road, past turn off to Airport
Tel 053 839 2700
Web: www.museumsnc.co.za

Kimberley is regarded as the cradle of aviation in South Africa. This museum is located on the site of the first flying school, established in 1912. It houses a life-size replica of the Compton-Paterson bi-plane as used for the training of pilots who included the nucleus of the future South African Air Force.

Rhodes Statue

Kimberley Visitors Centre, 121 Bultfontein Road, Tel: 053 832 7298 / Fax: 053 832 7211 Email: tourism@solplaatje.org.za

CJ RhodesReputed to be one of the finest equestrian statues in the world, this bronze work by Hamo Thornycroft depicts Cecil Rhodes mounted on his horse, with a map of Africa in his hands. Facing to the north, it is symbolic of Rhodes’s vision of extending the British Empire deep into the African hinterland. Rhodes is depicted in the clothes he wore at the memorable indaba with the Matabele indunas (leaders) in the Matopos.

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Sabukwe House

Kimberley Visitors Centre, 121 Bultfontein Road, Tel: 053 832 7298 / Fax: 053 832 7211 Email: tourism@solplaatje.org.za

Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, also known as ‘Prof’, was the founding President of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC). As a leader of the pass law demonstration that ended in the tragedy at Sharpeville in 1960, Sobukwe was arrested for ‘incitement’ and given a three year prison sentence. This was extended by another six years of solitary confinement on Robben Island after the passing of the so-called ‘Sobukwe
Clause’. On his release in 1969 Sobukwe was banished to Kimberley where his movements were restricted. He lived in the house at 6 Naledi Street, Galeshewe, and having served his articles (his qualifications included three degrees) he practised from a law office (recently restored) in Royal Street, nearby. Sobukwe died in Kimberley in 1978.

Rudd House

Tel 053 839 2700
Email: vida@museumsnc.co.za
Web: www.museumsnc.co.za

The core of this grand home was built in 1888 and became the residence of the son of Charles Dunell Rudd, an original partner of Cecil Rhodes. HP Rudd became a Director of the De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd. The Rudd family extended the house down the years so that Rudd House, originally known as The Bungalow, is today a magnificent rambling testimony to the life and quirks of an early diamond magnate.

Sister Henrietta Stockdale Statue

St Cyprian's Cathedral, Du Toitspan Road
Tel 053 833 3437 Cell 082 222 4777

Henrietta StockdaleA member of the Anglican Nursing Order of St Michael and All Angels, she
was the founder of professional nursing in South Africa. Sister Henrietta
first worked in Kimberley in 1876, returning as Matron of the Carnarvon
Hospital here in 1879. The first state registration of nurses in the world, by
Act of Parliament in 1891, resulted from her efforts here to establish professional
standards for the training of nurses.

 

 

 

Sol Plaatje House

Angel Street Tel 053 830 6911
Web: www.museumc.nc.co.za

Solplaatje HouseTogether with a library for African literature, there are displays on Plaatje’s life and on the role of African involvement in the Anglo-Boer War. The building was originally Isaiah BudM’belle’s house bought for Plaatje in 1929 by Kimberley residents. M’belle was Plaatje’s brother-in-law. Sol Plaatje wrote a novel entitled Mhudi and so became the first Black South African to publish a novel in English. He translated many of Shakespeare’s works into Setswana, a local African language. Plaatje had a prolific career in journalism
and served as editor of numerous newspapers. He authored a number of important documentary books, in particular Native Life in South Africa. He sang the first ever sound recording of Nkosi Sikelele’ iAfrika. Plaatje was a founder member of the African National Congress (ANC). He died in 1932 and was buried in the West End Cemetery. His house in Angel Street today a museum is a Provincial Heritage Site.

 

Star of the West

North Circular Road
Tel 053 832 6463
Email: star@kimberley.co.za

The StarIt is said that during the peak of the diamond rush Kimberley had more pubs than pharmacies and churches.
This was partly due to a shortage of natural surface water, but mostly, one would suspect, to a diggers taste for beer or something stronger! Social life in Kimberley was as hectic as the frantic search for diamonds and many a digger celebrated a large find or drowned his diamond digging sorrows in these pubs.
One such pub, regarded as the oldest operating bar in Kimberley and dating from the 1870s, is the Star of the West in North Circular Road. Built on 5.4 metres of solid rock foundation, it started off as a hotel and after receiving its victualler’s licence in 1877, it catered for the workers on the Kimberley Mine. The original bar counter and shelving behind the bar is still in use today while rumour has it that Rhodes and Barnato also
enjoyed a few drinks in the ‘Star’. It is a Provincial Heritage Site, declared in 1990. On request, the Kimberley Tram will stop at the ‘Star’. Another unique and historic pub is the Halfway House in Dutoitspan Road. It also started off as a hotel and derived its name from being on the main thoroughfare between the then separate
boroughs of Kimberley and Beaconsfield. In 1897 the ‘Half’, as it was referred to, was moved to its present site because Rhodes wanted to build a sanatorium on the original site. The ‘Half’ is steeped in tradition and is world-famous for being the original ‘park and drink’ bar. Legend at the ‘Half’ has it that the custom was started by Rhodes. It is said that rather than getting down from his horse, he was accustomed to taking his drink astride his mount. In 1880, the ‘Half’ was officially licenced to serve the passing trade in and on their vehicles. All you have to do today to be served a drink in your car is to hoot your horn for a friendly toot. So don’t forget tradition - have your first beer in Kimberley served in the comfort of your own car! You can also try out the bar at the Phoenix Hotel, situated in Beaconsfield, which is virtually unchanged since 1885. All the bars serve good honest pub grub at reasonable prices and the locals are always game for a good chat and shared gossip.

Transport Museum

Platform 1, Kimberley Station, Florence Road
Tel 053 838 2237
Email: carien.viljoen@transnet.co.za

Transport MuseumKimberley’s railway station retains much of its original fabric of stone and cast iron. The museum documents the development of the railways and transport systems of the region, and serves as a tribute to those responsible for these engineering feats, as well as the unsung heroes - Black workers who were not previously honoured for their labour on the railways. On display is a cabin of a real steam locomotive; the
cycle used by the Southern Rhodesian Volunteers during the Anglo-Boer War; and model trains from the Baxter collection.

 

 

 

Vintage Tram

Tel 053 832 7298
Email: tourism@solplaatje.org.za

Tram Big holeAlthough the Kimberley Tramways Company was formed in 1880, it took until 1886 for the Gibson Brothers to set up the Victoria Tramways Company and construction on the first tramways started in 1887. It was a 3’6” gauge tramway linking Kimberley and the then separate Borough of Beaconsfield. These first tram cars were pulled by mules. In 1905 an electrified tramway was opened by De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd linking Kimberley with the posh Alexandersfontein Hotel, while the Beaconsfield route was electrified in 1906. Buses began to replace trams in Kimberley in 1939 but the Kenilworth trams ran until 1947 while the last trams were used in the mining area until as recently as 1964, after which virtually all
tramway infrastructure was demolished. It was decided to reintroduce a tramway between the historic City Hall and the Big Hole as a
tourist attraction and the first rails were laid in June 1985. However, the restoration of the present tram, which was donated by De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd, had already commenced in 1983. This tram, identified as Car Number 3, was first used by De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd. It was also known as the ‘tower car’, a name derived from the adjustable platform which had been fitted
in order to carry out overhead maintenance to the tram poles and wires. It is believed that the tramcar was built by John Stephenson Company and the JG Brill Company of Philadelphia and originally ran between 1906 and 1914. The livery of the tram follows closely the yellow and black livery of the original Kimberley & Alexandersfontein Electric Railway. The wording added on the frames is ‘Kimberley Tramways’, and
so Car Number 3 was restored to its former operational condition and proudly reintroduced on 12
October 1985. Today tens of thousands of tourists annually take a trip down memory lane on Car Number 3.
They literally get carried away by the travelling tram’s screeching sounds, its gentle swaying and the sound of a foot operated warning bell as they pass some of Kimberley’s most historic sites such as the Head Office of the De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd and the original Big Hole mine dumps.

 

Walking tour of Galeshewe

Township Wonders Tour
Tel 053 832 7298
Web: www.museumsnc.co.za

MayibuyeA walking tour commences at Galeshewe Square. The square development was commissioned as a focal point for tourist attractions and is a testament to the revival of the township and its people. From the Square you head to the first crèche in Galeshewe; then to the old Bantu Administration Building currently used as a police station; and then take a look at the Mayibuye Memorial which dominates Galeshewe Square and honours the people who died in the 1952 Uprising in Kimberley.
Also on the Square is the building used by Robert Sobukwe as his law office. He was the leader of the PAC and was banished to Kimberley after his release from Robben Island. It is now also an Information Centre. The last place to visit on the Square is the site of the first clinic in Galeshewe opened in 1923. The tour goes on to explore another 10 sites which include the Abantu Hall; the site of No 1 Beer Hall; an old corner shop; activist Maria Lulu Mawela’s house; old police station and first policeman’s house; one-time chairman of the ANC in Kimberley, James Diphuko’s house; postmaster Nicholas Landella's house; Old Church; and a house used as a post office. Township tours, conducted by experienced guides, are the best way to make sure that you visit all the historical and cultural sites. These sites include the erstwhile Malay Camp, the Sol Plaatje House, the home of Robert Sobukwe and the graveyard. In the evening, the guide will take you to a shebeen, where you can have a drink with the local people. A stay in the guest house and conference centre in Galeshewe is also to be recommended.
The McGregor Museum has compiled a booklet on the history and significant sites in Greenpoint (township
south east of the city); and on the Malay Camp.

William Humphreys Art Gallery

Cullinan Road
Tel 053 831 1724

Another fine Kimberley institution is the William Humphreys Art Gallery. This national museum specialises in South African art which includes a number of traditional African works. It is one of the few art galleries that displays San rock art as well as contemporary San art. The museum collection also contains works of sixteenth and seventeenth century Flemish and Dutch Old Masters, as well as English and French masters. For visitor enjoyment, the Gallery boasts a comfortable tea room and garden, which serves basic refreshments.William Humphrey Art Gallery