Residents of historical Cullinan enjoy authentic small town living in a beautiful Highveld setting.
Cullinan’s beautiful setting in the Highveld countryside, approximately 35km east of Pretoria’s northern suburbs and relatively close to Gauteng’s border with Mpumalanga, is a huge attraction for many city dwellers.
The town’s natural surroundings, including the Dinokeng Game Reserve with its indigenous bushveld vegetation and savanna grassland, the meandering rivers and many agricultural and livestock farms, add to the splendour and tranquillity of the landscape.
The streets of Cullinan are generously lined with huge Jacaranda trees which ﬂower in spring covering the village in a gorgeous blanket of purple blossoms. The town’s rich history dates back to 1902 when a diamond magnate, Sir Thomas Cullinan, who ﬁrmly believed that a 3-carat diamond found in 1898 originated from the farm, Elandsfontein, purchased the farm after the death of the then owner, Joachim Prinsloo.
Shortly hereafter the Cullinan kimberlite was discovered and open pit mining started as soon as 1903. The Premier Diamond Mining Company made history in June 1905 when the largest diamond in the world at 3,106 carats was discovered there. The former Transvaal government bought the diamond and later presented it to King Edward VII as a birthday gift. The two main stones cut from the Cullinan Diamond are now found in the British crown jewels. The mine, which is still operational, is known as Cullinan Diamond Mine and is owned by Petra Diamonds.
The people of Cullinan have not only successfully preserved the historical and cultural heritage of the village, they've also stretched the opportunities it presented and helped Cullinan develop into a popular weekend tourist destination. The well-known main street, Oak Street, boasts an abundance of treasures from a bygone era. Victorian sandstone homes restored to their former glory serve as museums, restaurants, and wedding and entertainment venues as well as craft shops. On weekends the laid-back atmosphere, good food and old-world character of Cullinan are major attractions for bikers and urbanites wishing to escape to the countryside.
Other recreational activities include outdoor activities such as zip-lining, abseiling, horseback and quad biking safaris, playing a round of golf on Cullinan’s famous golf course and going on a surface or underground tour of the Cullinan Diamond Mine.
Even though the business area is small and almost restricted to the main street, it caters for the basic day-to-day needs of residents and includes a Spar, banking services, several clothing chain stores, a pharmacy, doctors' rooms and various privately owned businesses. Comprehensive shopping, business, educational and medical facilities offered by the city of Pretoria are within easy reach for Cullinan residents via the N4 highway to Pretoria’s well-developed eastern suburbs (± 40km) or the R513 to Montana and surrounding areas (±35km). Cullinan is located about 90km from Johannesburg.
Cullinan is served by the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality. The town has its own police station and active community policing forum. Several church denominations are also present.
The property market in Cullinan offers buyers diverse options ranging from conventional older homes offering space and value for money, to stylish upmarket residences in secure estates. Properties in Cullinan are generally easier on the budget than those in Pretoria, making life a little more affordable. It’s possible to buy a traditional three-bedroom house for under R1m. At the top end of the market, buyers can get beautiful modern family homes in Cullinan Golf Estate for about R2m. Other available properties include vacant stands, commercial properties, as well as farms and smallholdings.
As far as authentic small town living is concerned, Cullinan is the real deal. This appealing hamlet satisﬁes all of the requirements for living a beautiful, simple life in the charming countryside.
Cullinan is the perfect place to raise a family.
Schools close by:
- Cullinan Combined School
- Curro Roodeplaat Independent School
- Laerskool Rayton
- Between 35 - 40 km to top schools in Pretoria’s eastern and northern suburbs
- The Cockpit Brewhouse: a craft brewery and pub renowned for its beers, good food and live music
- Oppistasie Restaurant: found at the old station building next to the railway line, it offers informal rustic experience
- Piacere Restaurant: for wood-ﬁred pizzas and Italian meals
At about four times the size of the Big Hole in Kimberley, Cullinan’s open-pit diamond mine is among the biggest in the world.
This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.
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