Kimberley Big Hole, South Africa

Northern Cape Tourist Attractions

The Big Hole, Kimberley

The Big Hole
The Big Hole

A trip to the Northern Cape Province would be incomplete without a detour to include the Big Hole in Kimberley; it is an opportunity not to be missed. What began as a flat-topped hill is today a gaping hole measuring 215 metres deep, with a surface area of 17 hectares and a perimeter of 1.6 kilometres.

What makes Kimberley’s Big Hole that much more interesting is that it is an entirely man-made structure; the largest hand-dug excavation in the world.

It all began as far back as 1866 when a man called Erasmus Jacobs found what he took for a shiny pebble on the Orange River banks. To cut a long story short, it was later sold in London, after it was determined to be a 21.25 carat diamond, for £500. After a further two diamonds were found in the area, a diamond rush ensued and miners arrived in their thousands. The hill disappeared in a flurry of prospection, as picks and shovels yielded 2 722 kilograms of diamonds.

Museum at The Big Hole
Museum at The Big Hole
The underground mine at Kimberley reaches a depth of 1097 metres. Underground operations at the Kimberley mines have only recently closed, and the Big Hole has had a massive upgrade to turn it into a tourist experience.

Now visitors can go underground in a recreation of a mine shaft of the period, watch a film that introduces one to diamonds in Kimberley, visit an exhibition centre, take in a diamond display, use the new viewing platform that allows one to get a bird’s eye view of the Big Hole from above, and visit the Old Town to see Kimberley in its heyday.

The Big Hole

Overnight Accommodation

Search By Map or see Kimberley Accommodation (with preview images and description). Consider Kimberley Hotels (ranging from 3-5 star) or if you prefer to do it the self catering way, you will find our comprehensive list of Kimberley Self Catering options useful. Also see Diamond Fields Accommodation and Diamond Fields Hotels for overnight options in surrounding towns.

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Attractions / Activities nearby

Kimberley Mine Museum

Situated next to The Big Hole, this open-air museum (one of the finest in the world) depicts Kimberley in its Victorian heyday during the diamond rush. It incorporates shops and houses, a church, diggers' tavern, Barney Barnato's Boxing Academy, and the De Beers directors' private railway coach ... more information

Diggers' Memorial

The Diggers Memorial, a fountain and statue in the form of a diamond sieve held aloft by 5 life-size diggers, was erected in honour of diggers past and present. It is located in the Ernest Oppenheimer Gardens, which are in turn a memorial to the late Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, a mining magnate and the first mayor of Kimberley...more information

View Northern Cape Destinations

Visiting The Big Hole?
Also see Things To Do in Kimberley or check out Things To Do in Diamond Fields to view activities in surrounding towns and Thing To Do in Northern Cape if you are looking for a specific type of activity.

South Africa is one of the most diverse and enchanting countries in the world. With eight world heritage sites, a multitude of game reserves and national parks, over 1350 ha of national botanical gardens, and exotic combinations of landscapes, people, history and culture, South Africa offers the traveller a unique and inspiring experience. Enjoy your trip to The Big Hole!
The Big Hole - Information about The Big Hole in Kimberley, Northern Cape
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