The Happy Challenge – Kimberley Big Hole, Northern Cape

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. What began as a flat-topped hill is today, a gaping hole measuring 215 metres deep, with a surface area of 17 hectares and a perimeter of 1.6 kilometres. It is the largest hand-dug excavation in the world! It all began as far back as 1866 when a man called Erasmus Jacobs found what he took for a shiny pebble on the Orange River banks. To cut a long story short, it was later sold in London, after it was determined to be a 21.25 carat diamond, for £500. After a further two diamonds were found in the area, a diamond rush ensued and miners arrived in their thousands….

The Big Hole, Open Mine, Kimberley Mine is an open-pit and underground mine in Kimberley, South Africa, and claimed to be the largest hole excavated by hand.

The location?

Google Maps https://goo.gl/maps/Ksr3RoKg79U36jvG6

How to get there?

Follow the N8 from Bloemfontein in a north-westerly direction. The trip is approximately 165km / 1 hours, 45 minutes.

Things to do?

Check out the recreation mine shaft of the period, watch a film that introduces you to diamonds in Kimberley and do not miss standing on a platform where you get a bird’s eye view of the Big Hole from above.

Best place for your photo?

Maybe a photo overlooking the Big Hole? But please do not fall in!