Our route took us to Kimberley purely because I wanted to see The Big Hole so that’s just what we did. Arriving late at night, we needed to find a caravan park quickly and relied our trusty ‘caravan guide’ to advise us. Several hours, many unanswered phone calls and just as many wrong turns later, we made it to a park. There we no staff (and no other guests) around so we let ourselves ‘in’, found a spot and settled in for the night.
We spent the morning wandering around the newly made, old town set up around The Big Hole to show how life used to be in mining times. It was literally like stepping back in time and felt kind of like the Wild West.
The Big Hole is supposedly the biggest hole excavated by hand. The hole was started in 1871 after diamonds were found in the area, and excavations continued until 1914. Initially individual miners dug their individual holes and scrambled to find their own fortune of diamonds. However, in 1888 the De Beers company was formed in order to amalgamate all the diggings. Between July 1871 and 1914 up to 50,000 miners dug the hole with picks and shovels, finding 2,720 kgs of diamonds. The Big Hole has a surface of 42 acres, is 463 m wide and was excavated to a depth of 240 m. As you can imagine, standing over it is pretty impressive!
A quick whizz around the art gallery (people) and run around the park (dogs) saw us ready to hit the road again having done all we needed to do in Kimberley. We headed towards Keimoes on the Orange River but not sure where to stop on the way. We actually ended up just driving for the rest of the day and through the night getting to Keimoes in the early hours of the morning. An advantage of having our home with us meant we were able to just pull up, park and sleep outside the caravan park, ready to check in bright and early the next morning!
We spent two days in the lush greenery of Keimoes, meaning ‘large spring or fountain’ in Nama. Established on a group of islands in the Orange River, the land is fertile and is covered in vineyards (my kind of place). Of course, we felt we should experience some of the local wines and when we were charged just R10 for 5 samples we obviously went for more than just the 5!
In between wine tasting we treated ourselves to delicious local delicacies from the traditional padstals (farm stalls); home made date squares, jams, rusks and endless different dried fruits.
Despite the fact we both enjoyed the feel of Keimoes and could definitely have spent more time drinking wine and eating home made treats, we forced ourselves to move on before my clothes stopped fitting me 🙂
Leaving Keimoes we continued with our westerly mission, heading for Port Nolloth and setting ourselves up for another long drive.