The attractive little village of Cullinan, about a 30-minute drive east of Pretoria, was a pioneering mining settlement that made its name with the discovery in 1905 of the world’s biggest diamond, the 3 106-carat Cullinan Diamond. Oak Avenue in Cullinan, a favourite destination of tour buses and individual travellers alike and the heart of this Victorian village, is a living museum lined with giant oak trees, lovingly restored old houses, art galleries, quirky shops, cafés and old-style restaurants. A top favourite is Jan Harmsgat se Agterplaas (literally, “Jan Harmsgat’s back garden”), a garden gallery that also houses a popular barnyard theatre. Read more at official website.
Total Travel Time
The R7 was for the really kickass dude who watched the car!
The road traveled
Google Maps has this journey pegged at just under an hour, but with traffic and unplanned delays, it took just over 1 hour to drive to Cullinan from my house. A very easy drive. The roads are well maintained, recently tarred with no potholes – just one spot where the road is blocked off to trucks to squeeze my car through was a bit hair-raising. There are two routes to this historic little town, and I travelled both and they are equally good quality roads. So either way your GPS takes you – you are safe. No need for a 4×4 or offroad vehicle!
Overall travel rating: 8/10
If it was not for the massive mine equipment that dominate this Little town skyline, you would honestly think that this is a place that has been removed from time. The original town buildings from when the mine was originated still stand and are beautifully preserved, strange little oddities like Jan Harmsgat se Agterplaas that has preserved the abandoned pots, pants, plates, cups and houseware into their architecture and restaurants and coffee shops in abundance.
This town is so forgotten by time that WiFi is a luxury that is only in the “city” and is not available at any of the shops or eateries – a welcome reprieve actually to not see everyone on their phones and individuals that are engaging in conversation of the human kind.
This little town has something for everyone, the mother that is looking for some shopping, the dad that loves his machinery and car antiques and the kids that are just dragged along and does not have a portable gaming device. This little town is the perfect day trip for the family, couple or even single just seeking something different. A great little excursion is even possible with the full mine tour, taking you across the old mine, new mine and even inside the mine itself – leading out to what is the largest machine-made mining pit in the country for its time (yes, even bigger than Kimberly).
For those that have that adventurous spirit, there is also the Adventure Zone that offer a lot more outdoor activities to challenge the body and get the pulse racing.
This town is truly an oddball that really resonates with me. With the mod cons of a Spar and a Wimpy, to the legendary Harries Pancakes that is an establishment that has been in the town for many years, parking for your motorized fuel guzzler and even a train station with a train from Pretoria that you can use instead of driving.
This little town truly has a little bit of everything to satisfy the needs of the whole family.
Click on thumbnails below for larger image.
Overall Trip Rating
Please see my reviews of the individual places on Trip Advisor below. Please note this is not a review of all the places seen, just a few to mention.