My Southern African Road trip day 8, Thursday 5 December 2013- Kimberley to Bloemfontein


Once in Kimberly, I struggled a bit but eventually found this place called the Gumtree lodge.  Its a very nice place to stay on a budget.  Check it out here

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The Gumtree Lodge, Kimberley

There was not much more I could do the night before besides conk out.  Next day of course, it was my duty to society to visit Kimberley’s main attraction, The Big Hole.  It is a arguably one of the largest open mines to have been excavated by hand.  Diamonds were mined there between 1871 and 1914.  Find more info on the history here.

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Entrance to The Big Hole complex

Lots of effort and of course money must have gone into reviving this old mine into what it is today.  It is a wondrous place.  Not only the site of the hole, but also the historical exhibitions, the actual diamond exhibitions, and the short movie about old Kimberley one can watch on site.

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walking out to view The Big Hole

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Information board on the schematic of the hole

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The actual hole with some perspective

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The headgear of the old mine

At some point, the security guard pointed me towards a lift and told me, I could go see the underground.  Nervous, I climbed into the lift and began the descent, which was a rattling, noisy, very nervous 20 seconds.  When the door opened, I found myself in this underground dugout.

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Simulation of the underground operations of the old mine

Turning a corner, I saw before me three flashes with a massive explosive sound.  I could almost feel the earth shake and I very nearly peed in my pants.  It was of course only a simulation.

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Simulation of the Underground operations of the old mine

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some information

Turning another corner, I found myself in the historical and diamond exhibition section which was actually very much NOT underground.  The underground had been done so brilliantly that I hadn’t even realized I was not really underground.

Just out side The Big Hole complex is a brilliant reconstruction of the historical mining town of Kimberley.  Most (if not all) of the buildings there are the actual original buildings of the old town.  They had been lifted from their original sites and transported to this Open museum.  One can walk inside the house of what could have been the house of Cecil John Rhodes for instance, and stare at the room where he slept.  At the foot of the bed, could be the last pair of shoes worn by some or other hopeful who came to the Kimberley in hope of striking a fortune.

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‘Garage’ in the reconstruction of the old historical mining town of Kimberley

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a Bar in the reconstruction of the historical mining town of Kimberley

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Somebody lived in this house about 100 years ago

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Funeral home

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hearse

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German Lutheran Church, was still used up to about 10 years ago when they decided to preserve it for historical purposes and moved it to this site by The Big Hole.

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Memorial for soldiers

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Laborer’s huts in the reconstruction of the historical mining town of Kimberley

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Diamond buyer’s office in the reconstruction of the old historical mining town of Kimberley

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Some remnants

After the Big Hole, I drove around a bit hoping to stumble upon some other unexpected things, maybe some diamonds.  I wanted dearly to see the old railway, but I struggled to find it.  After about an hour of random siteseeing, I hit the road to Bloemfontein which was much more full of greennes and other goodness than the road of the day before.  The Free State border is actually less than 10 km from Kimberley.

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Finally crossing into another province en-route to Bloemfontein.

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critters on the road

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soul alone again

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Welcome to Bloem

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