Great Drives Kimberley
Scenic Drives from KimberleyDiscover unexpectedly scenic routes around the diamond fields of South Africa with our Avis mini guide to Kimberley in the Northern Cape.
Considered one of South Africa’s last unexplored frontiers, these lesser travelled paths unveil many hidden treasures within a few hours of Kimberley.
Once you have collected your car from our friendly Avis rental agents, the open road awaits you and your Avis hire car in the Northern Cape Province.
The expanses of the Northern Cape
The first thing that you will notice as you disembark at Kimberley Airport is the vast open terrain that spreads out in every direction. Kilometres of open grassland unfold as you travel toward this modern city and envelop you once again as you head off the beaten track on the N12 towards Hartswater.
If you like open spaces you will find this trip a delight in your Avis rental. Everywhere you turn there is grassland – golden in winter and vibrant green in summer - dotted with low spreading acacia trees, and not a hill in sight.
Just a few kilometres from the city, an unexpected expanse of pink disrupts the pattern. These are the flamingos of Kamfers Dam – one of the only breeding colonies of lesser flamingos in South Africa.
Tiny hamlets conceal themselves just out of sight along the way - remnants of the agricultural plots set up to sustain the burgeoning diamond fields in their day. These communities are still eking out a living from the land today. Warrenton, slightly larger than most, is one of these and is your signal to head out on the N18 where you will cross the Vaal River at close quarters – taking turns with other road users.
Hartswater is a delight, criss-crossed with canals and awash with fields and orchards. Spend some time lapping up the peaceful abundance found here before heading back to your accommodation at Kimberley or to catch your onward flight.
To make the most of your return journey, branch off on to the R370 via Barkly West on the trip.
Highlights along the way
Thousands of lesser flamingos call this place home. Feasting on the abundance of algae in this natural wetland they raise their chicks on the man-made S-shaped island in the middle – the only place where they breed in South Africa.
Hartswater Wine Cellar
Just outside of this quaint town, on the R506 at Jan Kempdorp, you can sample wines at one of the few vineyards in South Africa outside of the Western Cape. You can even purchase a few bottles to enjoy at home.
This large man-made dam is located on the border with North West Province and is a haven for birds of all descriptions. Stop on the dam wall while crossing, for a coffee break and the chance to spot herons and kingfishers at play. If you have time, you can spend the day investigating the different environments of the dam in search of more species to tick off your list.
The typical small farming town, built on the banks of the Vaal River, was the site of the very first diamond rush in the 1870s. Take the time to admire some of the lovely old buildings as you drive through to cross the river once again on your way to Kimberley.
If you have extra time
Mattanu Private Game Reserve
This pristine reserve practices breeding programs for rare animals such as golden gnu’s, black impala, Livingstone eland and both royal and golden oryx. If you can bear to be parted from the self-drive freedom of your Avis hire car you can take part in a guided game drive here, with a chance to spot some of these mysterious creatures. The entrance to the reserve is 14km before you reach Barkly West on the R31.
The Wildebeest Kuil Rock Art Centre
On the outskirts of Kimberley, the Wildebeest Kuil Rock Art Centre is an interesting stop for fans of history and culture. Park your Avis hire car and take a guided walk among the hills. Here your senses will be culturally enriched at sites exhibiting rock art engravings made by the original San people who lived in this area. A curio shop and book store completes this experience.
Magersfontein Battlefield Museum
Another worthwhile stop-off, found just over 40km from Kimberley along the N12 is the Magersfontein Battlefield Museum. This was the site of a decisive battle during the siege of Kimberley in 1899. It was at this battlefield that Scotland's proud Highland Brigade was almost wiped out by the Boers. Take a guided tour of the battleground and listen carefully, for it’s believed that on a quiet day you can still hear the mournful sound of bagpipes on the air.
The perfect destination for a day trip, Broadwater nestles on the willow-tree lined banks of the Vaal River just an hour’s drive from Kimberley on the R357. Here you can enjoy a meal overlooking the waters, spend the day fishing or relaxing on the banks of the river and take a sunset cruise on the a houseboat to end off your experience in style.
Careful planning is needed to make the most of your visit to Kimberly with its many varied attractions – start yours by arranging an Avis hire car as your traveling companion.