Dinokeng is a destination that has it all. Just west of Pretoria, it has a large Big Five game reserve, it has authentic experiences in townships, rich birdlife, quaint villages like Cullinan and plenty of accommodation. Now it has another asset – its great feel-good factor thanks to its responsible tourism credentials.

Did you know?

The 3 106-carat Cullinan diamond, weighing just over 621 grams and the largest diamond ever found, was sent to England via ordinary mail for the 66th birthday of King Edward VII.

Dinokeng is a wildlife and adventure destination on Pretoria’s doorstep. There is a Big Five game reserve, interesting historic attractions like the little diamond-mining town of Cullinan, and a sense of space and bushveld that hardly seems possible so close to an urban centre.

Now the region has added another reason to visit – it has growing responsible tourism credentials. As of March 2013, Fair Trade Tourism had certified three tourism assets. They include Kwalata Game Reserve, Kwagga’s Pride and Fundanani Tour’s Refilwe Cultural and Shebeen Tour.

Kwalata Game Reserve is part of the greater Dinokeng Game Reserve, the only place in Gauteng where you can see the Big Five.

The reserve specialises in conference and group bookings. Behind the scenes, Kwalata takes pride in its social investment into day-care centres, developing entrepreneurs and schools in the surrounding communities of Mandela Village and Steve Biko Village.

Kwagga’s Pride is part of the Kwaggasdrift Conservancy, and management here promotes local development by purchasing goods and services from the surrounding community, mentoring local artisans and their own staff.

Fundanani Tours into Refilwe township outside the diamond-mining town of Cullinan also has a strong upliftment ethos. The company is owned and run by Peterson Mahlangu who has the self-appointed mission to help to uplift women, youth and disabled people in the township.

Mahlangu also strongly believes in sharing skills and knowledge, and has helped several other entrepreneurs in Refilwe set up their businesses.

As is always the case with Fair Trade Tourism-certified properties and tours, all three pay fair wages, follow ethical business practices, protect the environment, human rights and culture.

Dinokeng is grouped around three major tourism assets: Roodeplaat Dam Nature Reserve, the town of Cullinan, and the Dinokeng Game Reserve.

With its wildlife, scenic beauty, intriguing history and vibrant townships it lives up to its slogan of 'Africa in one day'.

Travel tips & Planning info

How to get here

The town of Cullinan is only 20 minutes' drive from Pretoria. The website has detailed directions for those heading to this quaint little town, to Dinokeng Game Reserve or to the Roodeplaat Dam and Nature Reserve.

Best time to visit

This is an all-year-round destination.

Around the area

You could go hot-air ballooning over nearby Rust de Winter Dam; do archery, quad-biking or bongo drumming at Cullinan; go horse-riding and bird-watching; visit a cob-house and several fascinating museums.

Tours to do

Apart from Fundani Tours into Refilwe, you could also take a cycle tour through Mandela Village, or a tour through the Cullinan Diamond Mines’ surface operations.

What will it cost

Entry into Dinokeng Game Reserve is approx. R25 per person. The various lodges have differing prices.

Length of stay

Depending on your interests (birding, game-watching, adventure, small town escapes, 4x4 trails, wellness destinations) you could spend anywhere between two nights to seven nights at Dinokeng.

What to pack

Bring along binoculars, a camera, comfortable shoes and time. There’s plenty to do.

Where to stay

Within the Dinokeng Game Reserve, there are a number of exceptional game lodges, including Kwagga’s Pride and Kwalata. You could also choose to stay in a guesthouse in the town of Cullinan, or some waterside options at the Roodeplaat Dam and Nature Reserve.