South Africa’s diamond rush - around which the city of Kimberley sprung up - started in 1871 when a large diamond was found on the Colesberg Kopje. Word spread that diamonds had been discovered and thousands of prospectors descended on the flat-topped hill, digging frantically for their chance at riches. The hill soon became a massive mine which in turn left behind what came to be known as The Big Hole – considered the largest hand-dug excavation in the world.
All mining has stopped and now the site is a fascinating and interactive tourist experience. A suspended viewing platform hangs over the hole allowing visitors to gaze into its 215m-deep, dark depths and marvel at its grandeur. Visitors can also travel underground in a recreation of a mine shaft. Beside the Big Hole stands the Kimberley Mine Museum, a well-preserved tribute to the old buildings that sprung up around the mine.
The site is somewhat 3km from the centre of Kimberley making it one of the central tourist destinations in the city. The Big Hole facility was upgraded through an investment by De Beers Consolidated Mines, which supports the communities that surround the Kimberley Mines and creates employment.
- Considered to be the largest hand-dug excavation in the world
- A suspended viewing platform allows visitors to gaze into the depths of the hole
- An underground recreation of a mine shaft
- A real diamond display is housed in the De Beers Hall, which features stunning 616 carat diamonds
- The Kimberley Mine Museum is a well-preserved tribute to the old buildings that sprung up around the mine
- Somewhat 3km from the centre of Kimberley