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DDinokeng is a destination that has it all. Just west of Pretoria, it has a large Big 5 game reserve, 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.
Dinokeng is a wildlife and adventure destination on Pretoria’s doorstep. There is a Big 5 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 3 tourism assets. They include Kwalata Game Reserve, Kwagga’s Pride and Fundani Tours’ 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 5.
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.
Fundani 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 3 pay fair wages, follow ethical business practices, protect the environment, human rights and culture.
Dinokeng is grouped around 3 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'.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Kwalata Game Reserve
Tel: +27 (0)10 007 3749
Tel: +27 (0)12 566 3752
Cell: +27 (0)82 954 9285
Tel: +27 (0)81 403 1279
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.
Things to do
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 2 to 7 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.