About Big Hole Kimberley

(Around 100 km away from us)

150 years ago, the site of the Big Hole was a featureless, flat-topped hill. When word spread that diamonds had been discovered, 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.

What to Do

Real Diamond Display

The real diamond display is housed in a high-security vault, specially constructed for the Big Hole facility. Thousands of gems are on display, allowing the visitor to fully appreciate the interesting colours, types and sizes of diamonds recovered in South Africa

Diamond & Destiny Film

A short film screened in a state of the art theatre introduces visitors to the story of diamonds in Kimberley. The film takes audiences back to early 1867, when curious children picked up a shiny stone on the banks of the Orange River. This stone, proved to be a diamond. The film follows the fascinating story of how its discovery changed the destiny of the entire region.

Underground Mine Experience

The techniques of underground mining were pioneered at Kimberley. The mine revealed to geologist, for the first time, that the primary deposits of diamonds were volcanic pipes. Until Kimberley yielded its secrets, prospectors assumed that diamonds were found only in rivers – as was the case in India and Brazil.

Exhibition Centre

The equipment used to process the diamond ore was housed in the Pulsator Building. Visitors can see the old jigging machines and grease tables specially designed to extract the diamonds from the ore. Although the techniques of mining and extracting diamonds have vastly improved, modern diamond mining still uses the same basic methods that were developed in Kimberley.
Inside the Exhibition Centre the multi-faceted story of diamonds is revealed, including the myths and legends of ancient peoples who believed that diamonds had many mysterious powers. The storyline also covers the colonial history of South Africa and the sub-region, which entered a dramatic phase following the diamond rush.

Like any epic story, the history of diamonds in South Africa contains episodes of anguish and tragedy. After walking hundreds of miles from their villages around Southern Africa, many workers were faced with a hard existence in the compounds which were constructed to keep them productive – and prevent theft. Photographs, archive material and original artifacts illustrate the story of diamonds from past to present.

School and university groups will find the exhibition centre both fascinating and educational. It covers topics such as history, chemistry, geology and engineering.

Viewing Platform

The viewing platform is one of the unforgettable experiences of a visit to the Big Hole. The end of the platform is 30 Cape feet wide and 30 Cape feet long – exactly the size of a 19th century mining claim. The platform offers the visitors the opportunity to see the Big Hole from above, giving a wonderful sense of the Big Hole’s remarkable scale and grandeur.



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