South Africa's diamonds are forever wooing tourists

24th Jan 2014

Diamonds may be a girls' best friend, but they are also helping South Africa's tourist trade to sparkle.

This beautiful country is renowned for its tours around mines and factories paying homage to this precious stone.

Now that reputation is set to escalate with the discovery of a rare blue diamond that many experts believe may sell for more than £10 million.

The diamond was found in the famous Cullinan mine near Pretoria.

It is expected to break all records on clarity and will be sold at auction soon.

Blue diamonds are a rarity, only constituting around 0.1% of all diamonds found every year.

Petra Diamonds has only unearthed four blue diamonds since they took over the Cullinan mine six years ago.

The Cullinan diamond mine first hit the headlines in 1905 when it found the biggest rough gem diamond in history at 3,106 carats.

But there's so much more than diamonds on South Africa's "must-see" list.

Wildlife lovers on group tours to the north-east of the country can enjoy the massive pastures of Kruger National Park, which is home to the "Big Five" game animals: lions, African elephants, Cape buffalo, leopards and rhinoceros.

Tourists in search of the big metropolises can try lively city breaks to destinations such as Johannesburg or Cape Town.

The former offers an array of museums, galleries and great shopping, while the world-famous sun-kissed luxury casino Sun City resort is a mere two hours' drive away.

The latter's attractions include Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for three decades, the vibrant shopping and restaurant-laced Victoria & Alfred Waterfront old port area, and a cable car to Table Mountain's peak with wondrous views across the city.

Beautiful sandy beaches and the leafy Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden will also appeal.

Copyright Press Association 2014


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