The "place where the sun rises" or the "Paradise Country" is a land of jewels in many ways. Not only because some gold was discovered there in the 19th century, triggering a South African gold rush, but also because it offers one of the most beautiful panoramas of the country, "God’s Window" on the road to Kruger Park.
Bourke's Luck Potholes
The “ Lucky Bourke Kettles ” are located at the confluence of two rivers : the Blyde, “ River of Joy ” and the Treur, “ River of Sorrow ”, whose swirls have been sculpting the rock for centuries to give it these characteristic geological forms.
Tom Bourke, a gold digger, allegedly found a few grams in the area. If he didn't made a fortune (others than him found more important deposits), at least he passed on to posterity thanks to the site...
Different viewpoints allow to observe these crevices or « witch cauldrons ».
The Blyde River canyon
Iconic landscape of the country, the Blyde River canyon is 250 km of cliffs, forests and waterfalls.
No photo can prepare for the vision of this vertiginous panorama, which gives a true impression of divine greatness.
One of those landscapes that clears one's head, and makes us feel small.
God’s window, one of the viewpoints on the site, offers an irresistible view on some strange African stone huts : the rondavels.
Pilgrim’s Rest, on the trail of gold seekers
The discovery of gold deposits in this province in the 19th century attracted pilgrims seeking potential wealth.
Their village remained intact, thanks to its classification at the National Monuments.
The old houses have been transformed into hotels, where you can stay in an atmosphere of Gold Rush, installed in the furniture of the time (velvet armchairs, wrought iron beds, old enamelled bathtub, vanity lit with candle), under the sepia eye of the inhabitants of the time.
A real temporal experience, between Dr Quinn and American Western movies.
The cemetery of the village houses a tomb located in retreat of the others, as exiled.
A legend says that Roy, a miner, stole from another his gold purse in his tent. Lynched and put to death, he was buried there, without any mention other than “ Robber’s grave ”.
Another version says that Walter, the man who owned the purse, allegedly killed Roy near the church under the influence of alcohol, and then, the next day, found his purse clean in his tent. He would then have committed suicide, and would be buried not far from Roy.
A lot of mysteries... which participate in the atmosphere of the place, where one imagines without difficulty the hard life of the miners, crawling with toil but the heart full of hopes of wealth.
South African diamonds : world stars
Gold is not the only precious possession of the country. The first diamond found in South Africa, on the banks of the Orange River, The Star of South Africa, which can be seen at the Natural History Museum in London, is one of the most famous diamonds in South Africa. The lucky first purchaser of the 83-carat stone traded it for 500 sheep, ten oxen, a horse, and claimed it for $56,000.
The Golden Jubilee (545.67 carats) is the world’s largest cut diamond. Made from a 755 carat rough stone, it's worth several million euros.
The Cullinan Diamond Mine
The Kimberley mine, from which comes among others The Golden Jubilee, offers site visits.
It has the largest hole dug by the hand of man : “ Big hole ” is 1,100 m deep. 2.7 tons of diamonds came out !
The mine has a shop who sell jewels, with or without diamonds.
Some workers from the Kimberley mine.
After the country’s dark years, when it was literally ostracized from the international scene, the South Africans are delighted to welcome tourists, and that the rest of the world finally got interested in the wonders of their country.
Everywhere, from Cape Town to Pretoria to Soweto, it’s all smiles, warmth, willingness to exchange.
As Mandela said, the real jewel of the country is its people.