The Big Hole and Kimberley Mine Museum is one of Kimberley’s biggest attractions. Once a flat-topped hill, it is an enormous hole, known as 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. Travellers wanting to explore can take enjoy the Underground Mine Experience that highlights the 19th century mining conditions, a 15 minute film telling the story of diamonds in Kimberley and the Real Diamond Display, which is housed in a vault, displays the largest uncut octahedron in the world, the famous 616, named for its carat and size. For further information, visit www.thebighole.co.za
South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO)
The South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) is the national centre for optical and infrared astronomy. 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. There are two guided day tours and 4 night tours per week. The tour includes a guided walk through the visitor centre as well as a guided tour of selected research telescopes including SALT. for further information, visit www.saao.ac.za or www.salt.ac.za
See Flamingos at Kamfers Dam
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. These birds can be seen here in large numbers of up to 60 000 birds. For more information, visit www.savetheflamingo.co.za
The Vaalharts Valley
Only one hour’s drive north of Kimberley, The Vaalharts Valley Is a sight to behold. People can enjoy the canals with a ride, do a 4x4 trip, horse ride, birdwatch or just enjoy the amenities. These include golf clubs, bowling greens, restaurants and accommodation to suit most tastes. For further information, visit www.vaalharts.com.