Lichtenburg, also known as the “Oasis of the North West”, was established in 1873 by HA Greef. The town was the scene one of the most feverish diamond rushes the world has ever experienced. Within a year of the discovery of the first diamond on the farm Elandsput in 1926, more than 100 000 people had flocked to the area. When the find proved not to be as promising as first believed, the diggers left to make their fortunes elsewhere, leaving behind a rich cultural and historical heritage. The current primary economic activity of the area is maize, groundnuts and sunflower farming.
Art And Crafts
William Annandale Art Gallery: The William Annandale Art Gallery in Melville Street houses impressive works of local art.
Ampie Bosman Cultural History Museum: The Ampie Bosman Cultural History Museum tells the story of the history of the town and the cultural background of its inhabitants.
Fauna And Flora
Lichtenburg Breeding Farm: The Lichtenburg Breeding Farm is home to many species of exotic animals that are normally only seen in zoos. The visitor can view species of animals from as far afield as China, India and Ghana. One of the cutest inhabitants is the pygmy hippopotamus that originates from Ghana but which, by all accounts, has adapted well to its new home.
History And Architecture
Afrikaans Language Monument: The Afrikaans Language Monument, designed by Hennie Potgieter, can be seen on the town square. The monument was erected during the 1975 language centenary festival.
Andries Beyers Agricultural Museum: The Andries Beyers Agricultural Museum honours the significant role farming played in the development of the area. Exhibits include antique farming equipment.
Burgher Monument: The names of 87 “burghers” (citizens) of the town who died in the Anglo-Boer War are inscribed on the Burgher Monument.
Diamond diggings: Twenty-five kilometres north-west of Lichtenburg, some diehard diggers are still hard at work, earning their living like thousands before them, searching the alluvial gravel for diamonds.
Digger’s Museum: The Digger’s Museum displays objects dating from Lichtenburg’s diamond days.
Dutch Reformed Church: The Dutch Reformed Church was built in 1890.
General De La Rey Memorials: Three memorials in honour of General De La Rey are found in the town: a bronze bust on De La Rey’s tombstone, a statue of a horse in the town square and a small memorial on Elandsfontein Farm where he used to live.
Gruisfontein Battlefield: Many Boer burghers were killed on the Gruisfontein Battlefield during the Anglo-Boer War.
Lichtenburg Museum: The Lichtenburg Museum has a display on the life of the heroic General De La Rey.
Burning Vlei: Burning Vlei is an astounding natural phenomenon that consists of thick layers of peat that have been burning below the surface for centuries.