Sep 21, 2010 | Reviewed by: Tasja Wohler

The likeliest place to bump into Naomi…

The need for a break from the hurly burly, coupled with a craving for Greek food, sent us driving, about an hour out of Joburg, to Cullinan. Not the prettiest journey in the world, but in this particular case, it was all about the destination. We did however stumble across a rickety mill where we lost ourselves in a photographic dream for a while.

Cullinan is most famous for the Cullinan Diamond, discovered here in 1905. This diamond is, to date, the largest gemstone ever found, weighing in at 3 106 carats. Basically the size of half a soccer ball…now…if Little Miss Nasty-tempered Naomi Campbell were wearing a stone of this magnitude, she probably wouldn’t be able to swing one of her infamous klaps at anyone.

Cullinan is the quintessential of antiquated, charming diamond dorpies. They’ll probably hate us for calling it a dorpie, but any place where everyone is home and in bed by 7pm on a Sunday qualifies, in our books, as a dorpie. Then again, that’s Cullinan’s appeal: it’s a chilled and charming place. That’s its raison d’être and the key reason for going there. Oak Street is the main strip and it’s characterised by a railway line and quaint, corrugated-tinned, mining houses from the prospector’s era. There you can go underground to explore the diamond mine, or pop into one of the many vintage and bohemian style winkeltjies. Jan Harmsgat and Rust and White are specifically worth mentioning. They stock predominantly antique-looking, country-inspired decorative items for the home. Metal plates, enamel cups and other metal bits and bobs rustled-up from the mining era, have found their way into the architecture and décor of many establishments, most notably, Jan Harmsgat.

On this particular trip, we stayed at The Cullinan Inn that comprises of a series of three mining houses, each containing several rooms, so you could ineffectively have the whole house to yourself if you go in a small group. The rooms are decorated with a quaint charm. Their aestheticism, charisma and yester-year appeal enhance the escapism and relaxation of your get away. There’s no rush to get out of bed early for breakfast, they’re happy to accommodate late risers…such as us. The breakfasts are plentiful and delicious and you can have them outside in their beautiful garden area. They have a variety of spa treatments and packages and we have to admit, we were pleasantly surprised by the quality and affordability of the treatments. Among others, they offer a 30minute back, neck and head tension relieving massage for R120. A Summer Shine full body scrub and massage for R320, Hot Stone massages, Toning Massages as well as luxurious Hand and Foot Treatments…sjoe! Feeling relaxed just writing about it…If you’re making a weekend of it, we’d recommend doing a treatment on the day you are sleeping over…you’re going to feel so relaxed that a drive back to Joburg will be the last thing your body will want to do.

A trip to Cullinan is not complete without visiting Stavros’s place ‘As Greek as it gets’. Stavros is a really warm, genuine, down-to-earth culinary master. As Greek food goes, the mezzes are the thing to go for, specifically their melt-in-your-mouth feta wrapped in chicken…Mmmm. There’s an excellent assortment for vegetarians too. Basically everything on the menu is great! They have a mezze platter for two which is both worthwhile and delicious (portions on the platter are half the usual starter size, by the way, and the wine on offer will please any connoisseur. Top your meal off with the most incredible Baklava this side of the Vaal and you’ll be halfway to heaven. The Baklava is crispy, flaky, syrupy, sweet and has a beautiful orange and lavender undertone. Their inside dining room is lived-in, cosy and has antiquated fireplace. Good for a romantic rendezvous. On this particular day, we sat outside in their courtyard, listened to Jamie Cullum and had one of those long, Sunday, boozy lunches filled with indulgences. It’s a great spot for families, particularly because there is a park across the street, so you can eat and watch your kids play. What more can you ask from a Sunday lunch, other than a satisfied tummy and a restful mind? The staff was also commendable. On this particular day, Chad and his dashing mates took pristine care of us (these are the three dapper gentlemen featured in the photos.) We’ve been inspired to use old-school adjectives…because Cullinan just has that old-world charm all-round.

There is also a fabulous train trip you can do (on an old steam train, nogal!) from Pretoria to Cullinan.
Cullinan is a must. It’s diamond in the rough, waiting to be uncovered…by you.

Address: Main road, Cullinan, Pretoria

About Tasja Wohler

Tasja Wohler has written 37 articles on toodoo.



  1. Velvet commented On22/09/2010 at 11:52 am

    Wow, looks and sounds absolutely stunning! Would love to unwind there!

  2. Nadean commented On22/09/2010 at 11:53 am

    What a lovely review. Even if I dont win the competition I am definately going to visit!!
    Exactly what me and hubby need right now..

    Answer to question>
    Hot stone massage

  3. Velvet commented On22/09/2010 at 12:00 pm

    Oooops, 30minute back, neck and head tension relieving massage…

  4. sasha commented On22/09/2010 at 12:31 pm

    wow! just what a mama and a papa of a one year old need! answer: hot stone massage.

  5. Samantha commented On22/09/2010 at 12:37 pm

    Looks totally divine, lovely photos… just what a over-worked designer needs!

  6. Martmarie commented On22/09/2010 at 12:37 pm

    A diamond dorpie weekend filled with winkeltjies, baklava and bed by 7 – what a way to make your ‘Summer Shine’ (full body scrub and massage)?

    Great review and opportunity.
    Thanks Toodoo!

  7. SamLewis commented On22/09/2010 at 12:41 pm

    Looks totally divine, lovely photos… just what a over-worked designer needs toodoo!
    Answer: Summer Shine full body scrub and massage

  8. Strelitzia commented On23/09/2010 at 4:58 am

    Er, how do you enter the competition?

  9. Gary commented On23/09/2010 at 12:23 pm

    Looks really nice. Understated, unpretentious and really nearby. One so often forgets about going away in that direction. Thanks for the reminder. Answer: Summer Shine full body scrub and massage.

  10. Matthew Karpinski commented On23/09/2010 at 3:07 pm

    Sounds like the perfect break from JHB which we love so much.
    Answer : A Summer Shine full body scrub and massage

  11. laradematos commented On23/09/2010 at 3:47 pm

    Looks like the perfect way to get outta town and unwind and forgot you’re a Joburger for a while. Answer: hot stone massage

  12. lulu commented On28/09/2010 at 6:49 am

    LOL”if Naomi Campell was wearing a stone of this magnitude she wouldnt be able to swing her warm klap” classic. well it sounds like one of the dorpies that i would love to go with my new boyfriend, and build memories on aaah = how cute i can almost imagine it. the food the place – maybe he could just pop a ring right there :)

  13. Gizelle commented On28/09/2010 at 7:34 am

    South Africa is the MOST beautiful country in the world!!
    Cullinan is perfect for a mini break. Would LOVE to spend the night at the Cullinan Inn and get a little pampered.
    Exactly what me and hubby need right now.

    Hot stone massage

  14. Nadz commented On28/09/2010 at 1:00 pm

    Awesome pics, really captures the un-urbanised nature of a small ” Plattelandse dorpie”..Perfect hide away – away from the craze of city life.

  15. Nadz commented On28/09/2010 at 1:01 pm

    Ooops!!!Answer…Summer Shine full body scrub and massage

  16. Sean commented On05/10/2010 at 2:27 pm

    Wow, a luxurious Hand and Foot Treatment after a nice long days walk around Cullinan would be the perfect ending to a perfect day!

  17. Phyllis commented On05/10/2010 at 2:28 pm

    Cullinan is so interesting – steeped in history. Answer is – Hot Stone Massages

  18. jabu commented On05/10/2010 at 2:29 pm

    Looks super awesome, would def like to pop in.

    Answer – Hot Stone Massage

  19. Appleye commented On05/10/2010 at 2:31 pm

    Woohooo, looks like a jol. yayy
    Answer- Summer Shine full body scrub and massage

  20. Donna Solomons commented On05/10/2010 at 2:33 pm

    Absolutely love the atmosphere, everyone needs to go to this place to get away from all the hussle and busy working life. What an interesting place!

  21. Sarah commented On05/10/2010 at 2:34 pm

    Would love to chill out in this divine dorpie and have a lovely hot stone massage….

  22. Michelle commented On05/10/2010 at 2:37 pm

    Just what I need, working a 12 hour day, dealing with screaming creatives, distatified client service and clients that cannot make up there minds.

    Answer:A Summer Shine full body scrub and massage

  23. Nicole Brown commented On05/10/2010 at 2:41 pm

    Hot Stone Massage is what I need, so I’m going to unashamedly plead. Gimme Gimme Gimme some hot stone needin. Yeah, this is what I’m feeling. I don’t want to be greedy. But can you throw in some facial peelin…yeah!

  24. Terri Close commented On05/10/2010 at 2:49 pm

    I’m putting on my wings and flying there! Does Cape Town have anything this good and reasonably priced? Anyone…? ;-)
    Answer; Hot stone massage

  25. Doris Ledgerwood commented On05/10/2010 at 2:53 pm

    Wow, looks like an interesting place to explore – definitely worth a visit. Hot Stone Massage

  26. Kim Waddilove commented On06/10/2010 at 6:39 am

    Mmmmm … only in South Africa would one find such a treasure trove of history, scenery, diamonds and dining. Hot Stone Massage.

  27. NOMIKA commented On06/10/2010 at 7:57 am

    Ta for such an awesome offer, looks amazing & not to far out. Great massages on offer. Answer – Summer shine ful body scrub & massage

  28. Christelle commented On06/10/2010 at 8:48 am

    What a wonderful place SA is!! Would love to spend a night at The Cullinan Inn.
    Summer Shine full body scrub and massage.

  29. Jenna commented On06/10/2010 at 9:19 am

    It sounds amazing, just what I need with my hubby! At R120 for a massage I will be doing a few of those in addition to the boozey afternoon :)
    Answer: 30minute back, neck and head tension relieving massage

  30. Sheryl commented On06/10/2010 at 9:46 am

    Sound like, just what a tired body needs!
    Answer: A Summer Shine full body scrub and massage

  31. Japs @ss commented On07/10/2010 at 9:48 am

    Dorpies rock and Cullinan is a gem!

  32. Jen commented On14/10/2010 at 4:46 pm

    Sounds like a charming plekkie to visit! I would turn off my phone and focus all my attention inwards, whilst capturing the special moments on our camera to remind us of the important little things in life.

    A Summer Shine full body scrub and massage

  33. natsbertram commented On14/10/2010 at 5:13 pm

    Sounds like pure pure bliss! i too need to be “polished” like a diamond a diamond in the rough!
    Hot stone massage

  34. natsbertram commented On14/10/2010 at 8:31 pm

    whoops! a diamond (once not twice)

  35. Liza commented On15/10/2010 at 7:20 am

    Hot stone massage – sounds fabulous

  36. vanessa commented On15/10/2010 at 11:41 am

    sounds down to earth and wonderful – hot stone massage


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