The Big Hole
150 years ago, the site of the Big Hole was a featureless, flat-topped hill. When word spread that diamonds had been discovered, thousands of prospectors, armed with nothing more than picks, shovels and hope, descended on Kimberley and created the largest hand-dug excavation in the world.
Digging commenced at the Kimberley mine site in 1871. By the time mining ended on 14 August 1914, the mine had yielded 2722 kilograms of diamonds, extracted from 22,5 million tons of excavated earth. Today what remains is a massive crater 214 meters deep with a surface area of 17 hectares and a perimeter of 1,6 km. It is surrounded by original buildings from the heyday of the mine, relocated from earlier sites to form an unforgettable open air visitor experience.
Through an investment by De Beers Consolidated Mines, numerous attractions had been added to the Big Hole facility - a world-class tourist destination, providing unique insights into diamonds, diamond mining and the process of recovering rough diamonds right through to the polished gem found in today’s jewelry.
With the development and ongoing improvements to the N 12 national road, visitors are encouraged to take an alternative route through the breathtaking Northern Cape and to come and explore the wonderful attraction that is the Big Hole in Kimberley. The Big Hole facility also has numerous shops catering for all tastes.
The old town is a collection of historic Kimberley buildings that have been brought back to life and feature shops and food outlets open to the public.
You’ll discover period buildings that have been preserved or restored to their original glory; these include a church built in Europe and shipped to Kimberley, Barney Barnato’s boxing academy, the digger’s sleeping quarters and the De Beers railway coach, used by Cecil John Rhodes to commute between Cape Town and Kimberley.
Kimberley Big Hole
Tucker St, Kimberley 8300
Tel: + 27 53 839 4600
The Jewel Box
18 W Circular Rd, Kimberley 8301
Tel: + 27 53 832 1731
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