Things To Do in KimberleyBig Hole and Kimberley Mine Museum
Where? Tucker Street, Kimberley, Northern Cape.
When? Mondays to Fridays 08h00 to 17h00.
How? Call +27 (0)53 830-4417
How much? Falls into price group R1 to R100 per person. Confirm with the provider.
More? See website
One of Kimberley’s major attractions, the Big Hole and Kimberley Mine Museum, was once a flat-topped hill and is now an awesome hole - the largest hand-dug excavation in the world - dug by picks, shovels and sheer determination, measuring 215 metres deep with a surface area of some 17 hectares and a perimeter of 1,6 km.
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 has had a massive upgrade and now offers:
• 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, 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.