Explore the diamond-mining town of Cullinan

  • Ashleigh 
Cullinan diamond mine shaft

Before we go any further with this post on how you can explore Cullinan, I just wanted to alert you all that diamonds are my birth stone. If you find yourself struggling with gift ideas for me, let this post be an exact guide on where to find something I would definitely cherish forever lol! Now that you are equipped with this vital piece of information, let me tell you about the home of the world’s largest clear diamond.

Cullinan is a small town located in the province of Gauteng. It’s about a 50 minute drive from Johannesburg. Unlike most mining towns, it has a lot of activities to offer the day visitor, that it only makes sense to add this on your list of places to visit in South Africa. The main attraction is certainly the diamond mine itself, and there are a few ways to experience it.

Explore the Diamond Mine

girl standing by the diamond ming shaft in cullinan

There are three main types of tours you can do. The first is a walking tour, where you learn about the history of the mine and the diamonds discovered here. You will get to walk to see the shaft, as well as the Big Hole which was where the world’s largest diamond was found. This tour costs R150, and that’s the one I took! It was 90 minutes long. An interesting fact about the Big Hole in Cullinan, is that it’s bigger than the Big Hole in Kimberley. However, the Big Hole in Kimberley is more famous because that one was dug by hand. You can also explore the mine in an open vehicle. The tour costs R150 as well, but is run by different operators. You can book on arrival, but is there is private booking, the tour will not run.

The second way to experience the mine is to take an underground tour. I found that the two main operators both charge R550 for this one. You will get to go underground into the mine.This is a 4-hour experience, and if you budget for it, I’m sure it’s worth every penny. I just hadn’t planned on spending that much. The end of both tours is the shopping experience at the jewellery store. Now I won’t lie, I couldn’t afford any of those rocks. But one day is one day guys!

The Cullinan Adrenalin Rush

If you’re up for a rush, there are a few activities that will tickle your fancy. There is a company called Adrenaline Zone that offers experiences like zip-lining, quad-biking and abseiling. You can visit their website for up-to-date pricing. I have done these things quite a few times in different places, so I’m quite picky about when I’ll do them again. But just so you know, these are options available to you.

Fanie’s Junk Mall

junk used for decor at fanie's junk mall

I’ve seen a lot of strange things during my travels. Fanie’s Junk Mall is up there on the list of stranger things I have seen. An entire space dedicated to junk. I was so confused the entire time! I then managed to ask the store keeper what the deal was. She told me the junk business is a thriving one! many people buy it for decor, either for shops, weddings or the home. I won’t lie and say I was then tempted to implement this aesthetic in my home. I’ll stick to my modern and sleek look, thanks. It’s crazy though, that the things we take for granted, can have so much value to other people. Pay them a visit, it’s a queer but interesting space.

Restaurants

outdoor seating area at whispering oak's garden cafe

I know I may not look like it, but I love to eat! And I especially love eating in small towns because the restaurants are usually family restaurants, and the owner is almost present. The food is more hearty, the ambience more welcoming, and the portions are much larger! They’re just better. Oak Avenue is lined with restaurants, each with a different menu, great prices and delicious options. As you explore Cullinan, you’ll quickly see that there are so many options. So whilst you’ll have some choice, it won’t take you very long to make a decision about where to eat. I ate at a restaurant called Whispering Oak Garden Cafe. The setting was so beautiful, and they had fountains surrounded by my favourite flower, white lilies! The food was really good and that just completed the whole experience for me.

I didn’t exhaust the entire town as I only had one day. But that’s good right, because now I have a reason to go back. I really enjoyed my day here and I hope you explore Cullinan soon!

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