The big hole in Kimberley - 12 January 2008

This is what happens when too many fiancees or wives want a diamond: men dig. Deep.

Finding diamonds

Driving in KimberleyProbably you know who (or what) De Beers are. If you don't, either check the wikipedia link or ask your girlfriend / fiancée / wife.

You know those shiny and silly expensive stones called diamonds? For a long time they were randomly found in rivers or near volcanoes, and they considered, in many cultures, as magic items.

Some StatsEnter Kimberley, Northern Cape , a place in literally the middle of nowhere, approximately between Johannesburg and Cape Town. Long time ago someone found a diamond there, and not soon after thousands of adventurers moved and built a city around the biggest human made cave ever dug: the big hole.

The story is quite fascinating, very similar to the American golden rush. It definitely deserves a read.

Lindsey and Shari (and Liann)Why was I here, with Lindsey?
Well, Lindsey's oldest and best friend, Shari, after studying to become a game ranger, worked in different places (including the Kruger park ) before finding a place as a manager in on e of the many De Beers farms outside Kimberley. I actually think that all of Kimberley belongs to them...

I personally visited the place only once, stopped for 30 minutes on my way back from Cape Town in 2005 , so when Lindsey asked me if I wanted to join I said yes.

Shari is one of those characters that are impossible to dislike. Full of knowledge about almost all the aspects of wild animal life, and capable of entertaining with her endless collection of crazy story, she is quite something.

Shari's colonial house The colonial house that she shares with her mum, partner and 4 dogs reminded me of the house I stayed back in 2006 when in Alabama. Same style, same big rooms, same ceiling.

Besides checking the city, Shari took us on an exploration of his farm, some 60000 hectares (I think) of land for all the wild animals in there. Driving in the evening was the best time of the day to see the animals getting ready to go to bed.
She doesn't have any of those dangerous carnivorous animals, but I don't think I will forget easily our multiple encounters with families of rhinos.

Shari's rhinosDriving around... Shari's rhinos

Lindsey and I had a great time staying at her house. The company was great, the food too and spending time with the dogs was just a reminder of how much I want one once we move into the new house.
We even got to drive a crazy 4x4 golf cart for quick excursions...

On Sunday we finally visited the big hole in town. By the way that is the real name: the big hole. And it is what he says: a big f*****g hole.

At the big hole At the big holeAt the big hole

The whole experience was surprisingly good, and sometime I wondered the effort put by the city council to make the visit worthwhile.

Yes, you can see the whole hole from a platform and be done with it. But if you spend just a little more time watching the well produced video in he theatre, looking at those giant diamonds in the museum, or just walking into to old mines or town (rebuild with the original materials and full of very old items) you will end up with a lot of fun.


At the big hole At the big hole

Just look at the pictures. As for my eastern Transvaal weekend, it is easier to describe something by looking at it, and it fits my current laziness too!

It was another fun weekend, squeezed between weeks of hard work. After saying goodbye to Shari, family and animals, I checked the calendar, and I realized that probably our (me and Lindsey) next travel will be for our honeymoon...