Cullinan: The Gem of Gautengby Karli Durr on 23 November 2017
Once upon a time, a diamond was found along a farm fence about 30 kilometres from Pretoria. This discovery led to the rise of the Premier Mine and Cullinan ─ a sleepy town named after the diamond magnate, Sir Thomas Cullinan. The world’s largest diamond, the Cullinan Diamond, was mined in 1905 and presented to the British royal family. Today, Cullinan shines with its sandstone buildings and ample adventures. TravelGround explored this diamond town to show you why it’s truly the gem of Gauteng!
The Legend of Tarzan
If you’ve always wanted to be Tarzan or Jane, Cullinan’s GorgeGlide sets the stage. From the long and slow Granny to the high and fast-paced Superman ─ they have it all! You’ll also be spoiled with beautiful views over the Moningy Gorge while you’re criss-crossing over treetops. But if you prefer solid ground underneath your feet, you can also try one of the hiking trails through the gorge. See more …
When you’re scouting the streets of Cullinan, you’ll definitely come across many hidden treasures, especially in the antique shops. Treat yourself to some delicious pancakes at Harrie’s Pancakes, imagine you’re in Greece at As Greek as it Gets, or sip a creamy cappuccino at the Whispering Oak Garden Café.
Don’t be phased by the factory noises and bustling activity that greet you on arrival at the Cullinan Diamond Mine ─ you’ll soon be whisked away to begin your adventure! With more than five kilometres of tunnels to traverse, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time while descending deeper into the earth. You’ll be kitted out in boots, a belt pack, an oxygen tank, head lamps, and snacks while being regaled with stories of how diamonds are extracted. This is also where the world-renowned Great Star of Africa diamond was discovered in 1905. The underground tour lasts four and a half hours and includes a safety training exercise. A tour of the surface and a visit to the diamond cutting and polishing workshop are included. You can also admire a few precious stones and old mining equipment at the Cullinan Mine Museum. See more …
Into the Wild
The Roodeplaat Nature Reserve, just outside of Cullinan, is ideal for a family day out. The northern shore of the Roodeplaat Dam is perfect for watersports such as canoeing and angling for bass or carp. While the quieter southern side of the reserve is wonderful for wildlife viewing with zebras, kudus, waterbucks, warthogs, impalas and blue wildebeests roaming freely. If you’re an avid birder, there are several scattered bird hides from where you can spot birds like the purple gallinules, coqui francolin, finfoot, glossy ibis, black cuckooshrike and white-winged terns. Remember to pack a picnic basket and go early. See more …
Eye of the Beholder
Cullinan boasts many imposing buildings dating back to the turn of the twentieth century. The most impressive one is arguably the St George’s Anglican Church, designed by the British Architect, Herbert Baker, and built in 1904. This square structured building with its iron roof formed the congregation of the miners and is a symbol of the town’s rich history.
Field of Dreams
Cullinan Premier Hotel
This historic landmark offers 16 en-suite rooms with a luxurious old-world charm. Enjoy a bite at the licensed restaurant and bar, relax in the private lounge or on the deck, be pampered at the spa or indulge in quality wine from their wine cellar. See more …
Built in 1904, this sandstone guest house is the second oldest building in Cullinan, and the ambiance is really something to behold. Set among blooming Jacarandas, it’s also a special wedding venue and can be booked for other functions. See more …
Dolphin Whisper Premier House
This lovely house has been declared a Heritage Site and offers self-catering accommodation for up to nine guests. It’s close to the Cullinan Golf Club and only one kilometre from Dolphin Whisper Guest House & Spa with additional facilities available to guests at an extra cost. See more …
With the Tswane Explorer offering day trips along Gauteng’s rails and stopping in Cullinan for lunch, it’s become effortless for Gautengers to explore this historic town. So, make sure to add Cullinan to your bucket list for your next visit to the north!
Feature image: Cullinan (BigStock)
Collage 2: Indiana Jones
Cullinan Premier Mine (Paul Parsons, WikiCommons)
Cullinan copie 1 (Parent Gery, WikiCommons)
Cullinan Mine, Premier Mine Museum 2 (Jengo1961, WikiCommons)
Cullinan Mine, Premier Mine Museum 1 (Jengo1961, WikiCommons)
Cullinan Mine shop (Frans Banja Mulder, WikiCommons)
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