The Big Hole in Kimberley

A Big Hole and
Kimberley’s diamonds

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

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

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

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 indeed. Another part is the Big Hole with the visitor platform. From here I got an amazing look into the old mine. Beside the platform historical mining equipment gives a deep view of the mining work. Indeed, the highlight is the diamond collection at the end of the guided tour. And finally a rebuilt part of old Kimberley.

It was a good idea to take a guide and not running around by my self in the museum. There is so much to tell about the place and the exhibition. The museum is time travel in diamonds mining and the history of Kimberley.

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