THE BIG HOLE
Stand on the edge of the largest hand-dug excavation in the world, step back in time at the museum and see the stones that started the Kimberley Diamond Rush and the creation of De Beers.
150 years ago, the site of the Big Hole was a featureless, flat-topped hill. Then word spread that diamonds had been discovered. Soon 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.
Like an epic story, the history of diamonds in South Africa contains episodes of anguish and tragedy. We take you through that story, a day in a miners life, we offer an unforgettable experience to illustrate the story of diamonds from past to present. Read More...
The Old Town brings the New Rush era to life, where the desperate, the hopeful and the determined flocked to the town of Kimberley to seek their fortunes. In the Old Town you'll discover period buildings that have been preserved or restored to their original glory including a church built in Europe and shipped to Kimberley, Barney Barnato's Boxing Academy, the diggers' tavern, an authentic diggers' sleeping quarters and the De Beers railway coach, used by Cecil John Rhodes to commute between Cape Town and Kimberley.
Come and relive the underground tour to experience the perilous 19th century mining conditions, explore the museum, do some shopping or try your hand at the Skittle Alley. To quench your thirst a visit to the Occidental Bar is a must and for those wanting to stay overnight, there is a guest house as well as Hotels nearby.
Digging commenced at the Kimberley Mine site in 1871. By the time mining ended on 14 August 1914, the mine yielded 2 722kg of diamonds, extracted from 22.5 million tons of excavated earth. Today what remains is a massive crater 214m deep with a surface area of 17ha and a perimeter of 1,6km.