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
Digging commenced at the Kimberley mine site in 1871. By the time mining ended on 14 August 1914, the mine had yielded 2722 kilograms of diamonds, extracted from 22, 5 million tons of excavated earth. Today what remains is a massive crater 214 meters deep with a surface area of 17 hectares and a perimeter of 1, 6 km. It is surrounded by original buildings from the heyday of the mine, relocated from earlier sites to form an unforgettable open air visitor experience.
Through an investment by De Beers Consolidated Mines, numerous attractions had been added to the Big Hole facility - a world-class tourist destination, providing unique insights into diamonds, diamond mining and the process of recovering rough diamonds right through to the polished gem found in today’s jewelry.
With the development and ongoing improvements to the N12 national road, visitors are encouraged to take an alternative route through the breathtaking Northern Cape and to come and explore the wonderful attraction that is the Big Hole in Kimberley. The Big Hole facility also has numerous shops catering for all tastes.