Big Hole in Kimberley

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Big Hole in Kimberley

The Big Hole and Kimberley Mine Museum is one of Kimberley’s major attractions. Once a flat-topped hill, it is an enormous hole – the largest hand-dug excavation in the world. Measuring 215 metres deep with a surface area of some 17 hectares and a perimeter of 1,6 km, it was etched out of the earth with picks an shovels and many a man sought his fortune. 

The Kimberley Mine site started on or about 16 July 1871 and by 14 August 1914 all mining activities ceased. By that time it had yielded 2 722 kilograms of diamonds extracted from 22,5 million tons of excavated earth. Today the Big Hole is surrounded by original old buildings from days gone by, relocated from their earlier sites to form a magnificent open air museum.

The Big Hole complex consists of the following:

  • The Underground Mine Experience enables visitors who enter a recreation of a mine shaft of the period to experience the perilous 19th century mining conditions.
  • A fascinating fifteen-minute film introduces visitors to the story of diamonds at Kimberley.
  • Inside the Exhibition Centre are photographs, archive material and original artefacts that illustrate the story of diamonds from the past to the present.
  • Visitors can see the old jigging machines and grease tables specially designed to extract the diamonds from the ore in the Pulsator Building.
  • The Real Diamond Display, which is housed in a vault, displays the largest uncut octahedron in the world, the famous 616, named for its carat and size.
  • The new Viewing Platform offers visitors the opportunity to see The Big Hole from above, giving a sense of the Big Hole’s remarkable scale and grandeur.
  • In the Old Town you’ll discover period buildings that have been preserved or restored to their original glory; these include, ; these include, amongst others, a church built in Europe and shipped to Kimberley; Barney Barnato’s Boxing Academy; the Diggers’ Tavern; an authentic digger’s sleeping quarters and the De Beers railway coach.
  • The Real Diamond Display, which is housed in a vault, displays the largest uncut octahedron in the world, the famous 616, named for its carat and size.
  • The new Viewing Platform offers visitors the opportunity to see The Big Hole from above, giving a sense of the Big Hole’s remarkable scale and grandeur.
  • In the Old Town you’ll discover period buildings that have been preserved or restored to their original glory; these include, ; these include, amongst others, a church built in Europe and shipped to Kimberley; Barney Barnato’s Boxing Academy; the Diggers’ Tavern; an authentic digger’s sleeping quarters and the De Beers railway coach.

Tucker Street, Kimberley
Telephone: +27 (0)53 830 4417
Website: www.thebighole.co.za