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The Big Hole in Kimberley

The Big Hole

Kimberley the capital of South Africa’s Northern Cape province has a deep relation to diamond mining. The Big Hole in Kimberley is the result of diamond mining in the last century. Like the gold rush in the USA, South Africa had a diamond rush. The mine closed in 1914. Since this time the mine was just a big hole for Kimberley. However, in the 1960s a rethinking of the hole came up. The idea was born to turn the old mine into a diamond mining museum.

The underground water of the nearby Vaal River and rainwater filling the hole today. The water level is around 40 meters from the bottom. The depth of the hole from the top until the water level is 175 meters.

The old mine claims that it’s the biggest handmade hole by humanity. However, around 40000 workers dug out the hole in an open-pit mine. The mine extended to an underground mine as well. The unsafe working and living conditions cost thousands of workers their lives.

The entire museum splits up into different sections. The entrance hall with shops and the ticket counter is the starting point for the museums’ tour. Another part is the Big Hole with the visitor platform. From here everybody can have an amazing look into the old mine. Besides the platform, historical mining equipment gives an impression of mining work.

The highlight is indeed a look at the diamond collection at the end of the tour. And finally, a visit to the open-air museum, a rebuilt part of old Kimberley. It was a very good idea to take a guide and not run around by myself in the museum. There is so much to tell more about the place. The museum is time travelling in diamond mining and the history of Kimberley.