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South Africa - DESTINATIONS & HOTELS

Kimberley

Kimberley, the capital of the Northern Cape, is a perfect detour on the N12, and functions as an alternative route between Cape Town and Johannesburg and is the place for diamond mining.

Known as the Big Hole for a vast circular pit right in the middle of town, Kimberley has a history immersed in diamonds, but this colossal crater was dug almost entirely with picks and shovels to reach the stones.

Measuring over a kilometre deep with a surface area of 17 hectares forms part of the diamond rush of the 1870s where men, with little more than man-made tools, managed to remove three tons of diamonds and 22,5 million tons of earth in the process. 

Today the hole is not as deep, and after it was abandoned, it was used as a receptacle in which to throw debris, but now groundwater seeps into the hole leaving only 175 metres of the original 215-metre depth visible.