British businessmen Cecil Rhodes and Barney Barnato made their fortunes in Kimberley, and the roots of the De Beers company can also be traced to the early days of the mining town. Kimberley was the first city in the Southern Hemisphere and the second in the world after Philadelphia to integrate electric street lights into its infrastructure on September 2, 1882. The first Stock Exchange in Africa was also built in Kimberley, as early as 1881.
The observation car will be leading the train until after Tea. Travel through the Karoo, a vast semi-desert region that was once an enormous inland sea. Over millions of years, volcanic matter was ground down and deposited as silt upon the seabed to form what geologists call the Karoo system. It’s defined by its topography, geology, climate and, above all, its low rainfall, arid air, cloudless skies and extremes of heat and cold. The Karoo also hosted a well-preserved ecosystem hundreds of million years ago, which is now represented by many fossils. The Karoo formed an almost impenetrable barrier to the interior from Cape Town so the early adventurers, explorers, hunters and travellers on their way to the Highveld unanimously denounced it as a frightening place of great heat, great frosts, great floods and great droughts. Today, it is still a place of great heat and frosts and an annual rainfall of between 50 and 250mm, though on some of the mountains it can be 250 to 500mm higher than on the plains. However, underground water is found throughout the Karoo, which can be tapped by boreholes, making permanent settlements and sheep farming possible.
Accommodations: Rovos Rail Luxury Train