Surviving Kimberley Part 1: Protea Hotel & Victorian Guest Lodge

I have the privilege of getting to travel to exotic destinations for work – destinations such as Danielskuil, Warrenton and Kuruman. Living the life I know…

At one point, I spent three months in the Northern Cape and became very well acquainted with several of the guesthouses there. Living out of a suitcase was challenging, especially in the heart of winter (when you always need your trusty hot water bottle with you!). Luckily, I spent most of my time in Kimberley. Kimberley is definitely the place to be  in the Northern Cape, although, I heard from the lady at DHL that Springbok is pretty happening too.

This is what comes up when you google "Northern Cape" via www.sa-venues.com

This is what comes up when you google “Northern Cape” via http://www.sa-venues.com

Cape Town to Kimberley

Getting a flight from Cape Town to Kimberley can be quite painful. There is about one flight a day and on certain days there are no flights at all. Also, since you travel in a rather small plane, the tickets tend to get booked out quickly. Not to mention the price! Only SAA fly from Cape Town to Kimberley and it is surprisingly expensive! Most people from Kimberley would rather drive down to Bloemfontein  (2 hours) and get a Kulula flight from there.

Kimberley

The 72 seater plane to Kimberley

Finding nice accommodation in Kimberley can also be a pain. There are few hotels and tons of guesthouses since Kimberley is the preferred stop for those driving between Cape Town and Joburg. And better watch if there is some sort of event going on – all the accommodation can (and does) get booked out!

Protea Hotel, Kimberley

If you are doing a quick trip to Kimberley, I highly recommend the Protea Hotel.

Protea Hotels

Protea Hotel

It is a classy and beautiful hotel, with helpful and friendly staff.

Reception

Reception

The rooms are small and modern and I really liked that they had the plugs all clearly set out by the table (perfect for the traveling worker).

Room

Room

The food is also quite nice although, as with anything, if you have to eat there for more than a week it can get repetitive. Their chicken is lovely and halaal-friendly.

Several of their patrons stay there on a medium-term basis (i.e. 3 weeks). Sometimes these people get lonely and will ask if they can join you during dinner. Most times it was too awkward to say “HELL NO” as you would see them again the next day. I used to try to plan specifically when to eat to avoid certain people!

The biggest perk of the Protea Hotel it that it is situated right next to the Big Hole. The Big Hole is definitely worth a see – you can’t really imagine how big it is until you’re staring into the abyss (feel so sorry for that dog that was stuck down there). The tour of the mine and the diamond museum is really interesting and gives good insight into South African history. I wouldn’t recommend the little train ride – it takes you through the dirtiest parts of town for half an hour! Then again, it did cost R10 and what the hell else do you do in Kimberley?

The Big Hole

The Big Hole

Victorian Guest Lodge

For those with a slightly tighter budget, I would also recommend the Victorian Guest Lodge. The lodge is situated right opposite the Protea Hotel, meaning it is also within walking distance from the Big Hole.

I stayed in their honeymoon suite which which was very pretty and floral.

Honeymoon suite

Honeymoon suite

Honeymoon suite bathroom

Honeymoon suite bathroom

I also stayed in the Marilyn Monroe Room which seems to be the best room in the place. It was decked out in all things Marilyn which I thought was quite cool (although a friend of mine said it was a bit creepy – I also think its a bit creepy now).

The Marilyn Room

The Marilyn Room

The only negative about this place is that the sound travels from room to room. The Marilyn room is right in a corner so it does not have that problem.

The breakfast was great! However, after hearing the same pan-flute CD play for 10 days  straight, I avoided breakfast just to miss hearing Candle in the Wind.

The owner was very nice to me but seemed to complain about every other guest to me.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed staying in the Victorian Guest Lodge and the Protea Hotel. They both serve as a great starting point for getting to know Kimberley.

– Rif

Need to know:
Protea Hotel, Kimberley
The Kimberley Big Hole, West Circular Road, Kimberley
+27 (53) 802 8200
GPS : -28.740591,24.754233
http://www.proteahotels.com/hotels/Pages/protea-hotel-kimberley.aspx (Pics 2,3,4 from their website)
 
Victoria Guest Lodge
16 West Circular Road, Kimberley, Northern Cape
Cell: 073 1422 233
Tel: 053 – 832 8168
Fax: 086 621 3187
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