Treasures uncovered on the world's first diamond safari -Telegraph
South Africa has a deserved reputation as a superb destination in which to spot wildlife, but another natural resource is now being put under the spotlight with the launch of the country’s (and the world’s) first diamond safari.
Launched by Cape Town’s Ellerman House hotel in conjunction with Benguela Diamonds, the R215,000 (£11,400) package will invite up to six guests to board a private jet and fly from the private terminal at Cape Town International Airport to the isolated town of Port Nolloth, set on South Africa’s western coast and close to the border with Namibia.
A copper-mining enclave in the 1800s, the town boomed anew after diamonds were detected in the locality in the 1920s, and later in the soil of the surrounding ocean floor. Though the gems aren’t quite so abundant today, the region remains mineral-rich and these treasures can still be uncovered by divers who trawl the sea bed for gems. With their base for the day a modern seafront villa, clients who book the package will follow breakfast by either diving with Benguela Diamond dive masters (a Padi Open Water 1 certificate is required) or accompanying the team by boat and watching as they scour the depths for treasure.
However clients choose to observe this stage of the process, what follows is the same: the seabed gravel retrieved by the divers is sieved via an apparatus called a classifier and the gemstones contained therein (garnets and olivines might be found alongside diamonds) are exposed. Representatives say the likelihood of finding something precious is “pretty much 100 per cent” and whatever rough diamonds emerge are sent to be cut, polished and set into jewellery at Benguela Diamond’s design studio in Stellenbosch.