GPS: S 26 08.942 E 026 09.605 | pop. 60,000 | elevation 1,484 m/4,869 ft
Lichtenburg (town of light) was established in 1873 and became an instant hit when a diamond was found on a family farm in 1926. Within months over 100,000 prospectors flooded the town to stake their claim and more prospectors were attracted by the stories of success. In 1927 the world’s largest flawless red diamond (at 33 carats) was found and sold to De Beers. Today Lichtenburg is a tranquil slow-paced, predominantly corn growing farm town.
Ampie Bosman Cultural History Museum has displays on the founding of Lichtenburg in 1873, its rich diamond history, and General De la Rey's command during the siege of Lichtenburg in the 1899-1902 Anglo-Boer War.
Diggings Museum exhibits the history of the alluvial diamond rush that caused prospectors to storm the area between 1926-35. Many of the prospectors who staked their claim were successful and in 1927 the world's largest red diamond (called the Pigeon Red Blood) was found in the area and purchased by De Beers.
Game Breeding Center offers fishing in its lakes and has a "vulture restaurant" where rangers take carcasses from area farms to feed the vultures. You can call ahead to ask when the feedings will happen. To get to the Game Breeding Center head North about 1 km on Thabo Mbeki Dr/R505 toward Zeerust then make a right turn at the signs for the Game Breeding Center (S 26 08.200 E 026 09.056) and continue 2.2 km to the park gates.
Elgro Hotel has basic dated hotel rooms, a swimming pool and braai area in a central courtyard. It is a convenient place to stay due to the attached Boskoppie pub and nightclub and Dros restaurant next door but on weekends you can hear the thumping music well into the night.
Game Breeding Center is by far your best budget option in Lichtenburg if you don't mind being outside of downtown. It has a handful of fully equipped self-catering chalets with outdoor braai areas next to the entrance gate. The chalets are frequently booked so it is worth making advanced bookings. See above for directions to the breeding center.
Lichtenburg Vakansie is a large camping and caravan park with chalets about 1 km past the Game Breeding Center gates. At the time of research the chalets were fully booked for the next year with employees of a road construction company and only camping sites were available.
Lakeside Guest House is a modern guesthouse located beside the lake with 16 well equipped rooms, each with TV, AC, and a mini-fridge. There is a splash pool and braai deck as well as open space to relax near the lake. To get there head three blocks East on Matthews St from Nelson Mandela St. The guesthouse is located at the end of the street by the lake.
Chatters Bistro is a restaurant and street café with open air and mist-cooled outdoor seating. There is a large menu serving everything from breakfast and light meals to burgers, grills, ribs and fish. There is also a bar with more of a relaxed sit-down scene.