Cullinan's A Gem

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Cullinan, an hour-and-a-half outside of Joburg, is a charming Victorian village named after Sir Thomas Cullinan and is famous for being the site where the world's largest diamond was found. Driving in, you pass the historical Cullinan diamond mine where it's possible to book either a surface tour or underground tour. We visited the village on a Sunday when a local vintage car club had put on a show, and this added to the sense of history about the place. It reminded me a bit of Pilgrim's Rest, mostly because of the architectural style. Cullinan is great for a day trip — that's what we did — or you could plan an overnight stay.

Where To Stay

Cullinan Premier Hotel is great if you like more formal, established accommodation. Originally built in 1906, this restored hotel also offers a great dining experience with buffet lunches being served on a Sunday.

Details:  1 Hotel Street | 012 734 1810

JanHarmsgat se Agterplaas is probably the most well-known establishment in Cullinan. Not only do they offer quaint accommodation (rooms have names like Fansy Suite and Leka Room), they also accommodate corporate events, have quirky 'picnic weddings', offer wonderful treatments at Zau Spa, and if that weren’t enough, they also host local talent at their theatre.

Details: [email protected] | 082 255 2465

Where To Eat 

I would recommend planning your trip so that you can get in an early lunch (and miss the weekend rush) and then do a walkabout afterwards.

Sir Thomas Cullinan Restaurant and Pub is popular with the Sunday Breakfast Run crowd, and is also suitable for family dining. Stop here for their Sunday buffet or pub lunch.

Details: 112 Oak Avenue; Cullinan | (012) 734 1778

As Greek as it gets is a popular spot, and was our first choice for lunch – unfortunately my youngest was on the verge of collapse from hunger (her words, not mine) so we moved on to a quieter eatery. They have an extensive, traditional Greek menu, at relatively good prices; they have tables outside on a broad pavement and this is the place to sit and chill with some mezze and ouzo.

Details: 86 Oak Avenue; Cullinan | (012) 734 0707/083 632 5364

Take time to walk along the main road – it is dotted with arts and crafts, furniture and gift stores. Most have an eclectic mix of items so you are sure to find a gem or two.

Who Should Visit?
  • Anyone looking for a break from the city
  • Anyone with an interest in history

Like many small towns, speed of service is not a priority – so if you are looking for Wimpy-style speed or are in a hurry, then come back when you have more time.

Other activities in the area

Friends of the rail have a steam route into Cullinan.

Life Ballooning which operates on the route to Cullinan,offers a once in a lifetime experience, where you can relax and absorb the peaceful nature of the African cliffs and bush while brushing the trees with the balloon basket – this is air travel with a difference.

Diamond XRanch is a little slice of the American West, offering Western style outrides on a ranch – you can even partake in activities like cattle drives, branding and tagging. After a day in the saddle have a meal and drink in the saloon. Accommodation is also available.

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