The Big Hole and Kimberley Mine Museum is one of Kimberley’s major attractions. Once a flat-topped hill, it is an enormous hole – the largest hand-dug excavation in the world. Measuring 215 metres deep with a surface area of some 17 hectares and a perimeter of 1,6 km, it was etched out of the earth with picks an shovels and many a man sought his fortune.
Places to Visit
Conducting research into astronomy and astrophysics, the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) is the national centre for optical and infrared astronomey. The primary telescopes are located in Sutherland, in the Northern Cape. Contributions by the SAAO include the development of a spherical aberration corrector and the Southern African Large Telescope, otherwise known as SALT.
Kamfer’s Dam, near Kimberley, is one of only four breeding areas of the Lesser Flamingo, in Africa and the only one in South Africa. The lesser flamingo is the smallest of the four flamingos and not quite as brightly coloured as the Caribbean flamingo. They have light pink feathers with black feathers on their wings and their beaks have more black than that of the Greater Flamingo.
This beautiful yet little known valley is only one hour’s drive north of Kimberley. The surrounds are like a breath of fresh air with the lush green farmlands highlighted from the usual yellows and browns of the nearby countryside. Two mighty rivers, the Vaal and the Harts, feed an intricate irrigation scheme that supports more than 1 250 high production agricultural farms.