May 2013
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The Big Hole is situated in Kimberley in South Africa

The Big Hole which is also known as Open Mine or Kimberley Mine is an open-pit and underground mine in Kimberley in South Africa.

Overview of The Big Hole

• It is claimed to be the largest hole dug by hand.
• The first diamonds were found on Colesberg Kopje.
• They were excavated by members of the “Red Cap Party” from Colesberg on the farm Vooruitzigt that belonged to the De Beers brothers.
• The ensuing scramble for claims made this place called New Rush.
• It was later renamed Kimberley.
• From mid-July 1871 to 1914 about 50,000 miners dug the hole.
• This digging yielded around 6,000 pounds of diamonds.
• The surface are of the Big Hole is 17 hectares (42 acres) with a width of more than 460 metres (1,519 ft).
• It was excavated to a total depth of 240 metres (790 ft).
• Later the depth was reduced by filling with debris.
• This meant that the depth was now about 215 metres (705 ft).
• Over a period of time, the hole has filled partially with about 40 metres (130 ft) of water.
• This leaves 175 metres (574 ft) of the hole visible.
• Above-ground operations became unproductive and dangerous.
• The kimberlite pipe of the Kimberley Mine was also mined underground by Cecil Rhodes’ De Beers Company.
• They dug it to a depth of 1,097 metres (3,599 ft).[3]
• This Big Hole has to be registered as a World Heritage Site.
• Location : Kimberley
• Province : Northern Cape
• Country : South Africa
• Products : Diamonds
• Type : Open-pit, underground
• Opened on : 1871
• Closed on : 1914

About Mine Museum

• Mining operations having been closed down in 1914.
• This open pit became an attraction for visitors.
• There was an official opening during the Kimberley’s centenary celebrations in 1971.
This museum includes:
– old buildings
– sundry memorabilia
– open-air representation of early Kimberley
– street scapes and dioramas
– exhibits of mining technology and transport
– One of the attractions was the Diamond Hall.
Entrance Fees
• Adults – R75
• Child – R45
• Family– R200
(2 Adults & 2 Children between the ages 4-17 years)
• Pensioners- R55
• Students –R45

• The Visitor Center tells the multi-faceted story of diamonds. This includes:
– the people that sought them
– the tools they used
– the wealth they generated
Trading Hours:
• Monday to Sunday (08h00 – 17h00) CLOSED on CHRISTMAS DAY

Tours to Big Hole
• Monday to Friday
• First tour at 09h00 every hour thereafter.
• Last Tour at 16h00
• Weekend Tours
• Saturday to Sunday
• First tour at 09h00 every second hour thereafter
• Last Tour at 15h00

• Wheel chairs are allowed in the Big Hole Facility.
• No Fire arm or pets are allowed on the premises.
• Qualified First Aid Staff on duty throughout the day.
• For Group booking call 053-830 4417 (20)


• Movie of 20 minutes
• The Big Hole View
• Underground Experience
• The Diamond vault
• Pulsator Building (Information Area)
• Old Town
• Shopping
• Annette’s Gift Shop
• The Jewel Box
• Rock Shop
• The Big Hole Trading Store
• Dried Fruits
• Water Shop
• Kiddies
• Diamond Dig & Skittle Alley
• Restaurants
• Occidental Bar
• Australian Arms Guest House

Best time to visit / climate

• The climate is mostly dry to semi-dry.
• There are few areas in the province receive more than 400 mm (16 in) of rainfall per annum and the average annual rainfall over the province is 202 mm (8.0 in).
• Rainfall generally increases from west to east.
• This increase is from a minimum average of 20 mm (0.79 in) to a maximum of 540 mm (21 in) per year.
• The west experiences most rainfall in winter.
• The east receives most of its moisture from late summer thunderstorms.
• Many areas experience extreme heat, with the hottest temperatures in South Africa measured along the Namibian border.
• Summers maximums are generally 30 °C (86 °F) or higher, sometimes higher than 40 °C (104 °F)
• Winters are usually frosty and clear.
• Southern areas sometimes becoming bitterly cold, such as Sutherland, which often receives snow and temperatures occasionally drop below the ?10 °C (14 °F) mark.
• Kimberley averages: January maximum: 33 °C (min: 18 °C), June maximum: 18 °C (min: 3 °C), annual precipitation: 414 mm (16.3 in)
• Springbok averages: January maximum: 30 °C (min: 15 °C), July maximum: 17 °C (min: 7 °C), annual precipitation: 195 mm (7.7 in)
• Sutherland averages: January maximum: 27 °C (min: 9 °C), July maximum: 13 °C (min: -3 °C), annual precipitation: 237 mm (9.3 in)

Location on Google Maps

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How to get there?

To reach Kimberly
By road
• The N12 links Kimberley with Johannesburg (about 500km to the north-east) and Cape Town (about 1000km to the south-west).
• The N8 links Kimberley with Bloemfontein (about 160km to the east) and Upington (about 400km to the west).
• Bus services are available to and from most parts of the country.
– Kimberley – Bloemfontein (Judicial Capital): 160km
– Kimberley – Upington: 402km
– Kimberley – Johannesburg: 480km
– Kimberley – Pretoria (Administrative Capital): 535km
– Kimberley – East London: 720km
– Kimberley – Port Elizabeth: 800km
– Kimberley – Durban: 800km
– Kimberley – Cape Town (Legislative Capital): 960km

By air
The city is served by Kimberley Airport and flights to some of South Africa’s major cities are available with South African Airways.

By rail
The train station is in Quinn Street to the east of the city center.
Spoornet operates regular inter-city trains to
– Cape Town
– Johannesburg
– Bloemfontein
– Pietermaritzburg
– Durban
– Mafikeng
You can also get to Port Elizabeth, Grahamstown and East London by changing trains in Bloemfontein.

To reach Northern Cape
By car
The Northern Cape Province is served by a number of excellent national roads.
• The N1 runs from Cape Town to Gauteng via the south-eastern edge of the Northern Cape and Bloemfontein.
• The N7 runs from Cape Town and the Western Cape, goes through Springbok and then on up north to Namibia.
• The N8 runs from near Upington across through Kimberley and Bloemfontein, and then goes on to Maseru Bridge (border post to Lesotho).
• The N10 runs from the Namibia border down through Upington and then on to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.
• The N12 runs from George in the Western Cape to Gauteng, going via Kimberley.
• The N14 runs from Springbok to Upington and then on to Johannesburg and Pretoria in Gauteng.

By plane
Both Upington Airport and Kimberley Airport have flights to some of the major cities in South Africa that are operated by South African Airways.

Some Travel Books on South Africa

South Africa South Africa – Culture Smart!: the essential guide to customs & culture The Safari Companion: A Guide to Watching African Mammals

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

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Blogs / Sites about The Big Hole – South Africa

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Images and photos about The Big Hole – South Africa

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Videos about The Big Hole – South Africa

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