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IIf you’re looking for a handy Gauteng wedding destination that combines up-to-date rest and relaxation with quirky old-fashioned charm, consider Cullinan to the east of Pretoria (both now part of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality). Cullinan has much more to offer your nuptials than mere diamonds – although you can find those nearby, too.
The town – famous for the Premier Diamond Mine and the record-setting Cullinan Diamond found here – is about 30 minutes from the centre of Pretoria, and an hour from Johannesburg, so for residents of either city it’s a great site for a destination wedding that doesn’t drag guests too far away from home comforts.
Jan Harmsgat se Agterplaas is a legendary wedding venue (its theatre also presents a panoply of local artists throughout the year, and they offer accommodation on site) – giving happy couples a choice of an intimate chapel or a garden wedding, or a proper shindig in the more bohemian indoor venue. Their picnic menus offer just the right blend of sophistication and festivity.
They also have all the best contacts in the area for make-up, hair, styling, décor, wedding photography, reception DJs, vintage cars for a grand entrance or exit, accommodation (if their on-site guesthouse is full) and if you need them to, they can even find you a minister to officiate.
Of course, the bridal party could be stressed out as the big day approaches and in need of some R&R – that’s where Zau Spa offers something for everyone. This zany spa, located to the north of the town with a beautiful view of the dam, is an ethereal space surrounded by concrete angels offering several treatments and therapies.
‘Zau’ is an Arabic word meaning ‘peace’, which is what you’ll enjoy on your day of soothing massages, sensuous scents, candlelit rooms and delicious cuisine. Treatments include a variety of massages (hot stone and Thai are 2 of the options), facials, pedicures and manicures – with a few added treats (like delicious food) thrown in. See their listed site for more information.
Located under a beautiful big jacaranda tree overlooking the Cullinan Dam, the unusual architecture and striking artwork of the old mining house and its surrounding gardens make a distinctive setting for the Zau Spa experience. Meals are made with the freshest organic produce and one can dine outside under the trees on warm sunny days.
A visit to Zau Spa is a great way to spend a day or half-day before the big day, so that you’re all relaxed and refreshed before you kick up your heels at Jan Harmsgat se Agterplaas.
TTravel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Jan Harmsgat se Agterplaas
Tel: +27 (0)82 255 2465 (Weddings and function enquiries)
Email: email@example.com (Guesthouse accommodation)
Tel: +27 (0)12 734 1119
How to get here
Travelling north from Johannesburg or Pretoria on the N1 highway towards Polokwane, you take the turn-off towards Cullinan on the R513.
Best time to visit
Tshwane looks its best in spring/early summer (September to December), when the jacarandas are in bloom – but with sunny, mild winter days and the summer rainfall generally confined to a late-afternoon thundershower that passes in an hour, Cullinan is an all-year destination.
Around the area
You may want to visit the Cullinan Diamond Mine, St George’s Anglican Church (another potential venue for your ceremony), Cullinan Square National Heritage Site, and the graves of Italian POWs.
Tours to do
There are several tours in the area, including an underground tour of the old Cullinan Diamond Mine, game drives, township and cultural tours and historical village tram tours. See the listed Cullinan Tours website for details.
Having your own transport is quite important, as there are many fun attractions along the Dinokeng tourist route.
Where to stay
Either stay at the guesthouse at Jan Harmsgat se Agterplaas or at one of the many B&Bs in Cullinan.
There are a lot of fun attractions along the Dinokeng tourist route. Explore Cullinan and then head off to the Nan Hua Buddhist Temple, or get to know more about local life in nearby Mandela Village.