The Dinokeng area is famous as the place where one of the world’s largest diamonds, the Cullinan diamond, was wrestled from the earth and brought into the light. Situated a few minutes away from Pretoria, Dinokeng is a great destination for people who want to take a look at how people lived at the turn of the 19th century near the early diamond mines.
Dinokeng falls into the catchment zone of the Pienaars and Elands Rivers. It is a rolling landscape of bushveld and low hills. Over the centuries this area has seen many different people and cultures come and go, turning it into a kind of melting pot of history. Amongst the cultures that called the area home are the Twsana, Pedi, Ndbele, Tsonga, the Afrikaners and the English. Their effect on the landscape has shaped it into what it is today.
|The Sammy Marks Museum is the epitome of Victorian decadence
Probably the main attraction of Dinokeng is Cullinan. This small town is just a few minutes away from Pretoria and is home to the third richest diamond mine in South Africa. The Cullinan Diamond Mine is situated over one of the largest kimberlite pipes ever discovered. Even though the famous Cullinan diamond was found here over a century ago, the mine is still active, bringing out a large number of high quality stones every year. The mine is open to visitors and there are mine tours allowing visitors to see how the mine worked a century ago and how diamonds are mined today with modern technology.
Dinokeng offers visitors the chance to see how people lived at the turn of the 19th century. The village of Rust de Winter seems to step right out of history with and even the remains of the old Wallmansthal Mission still have a certain air of an age now long since passed. Perhaps the best example of the old way of living is the Sammy Marks Museum.
South Africa’s first industrialist built a home in Dinokeng that is the very image of the Victorian era. The Sammy Marks House Museum is an impressive mansion with an extensive garden that was once the home of wealthy industrialist Sammy Marks. Today the 48 rooms are filled with the historical effects of the Marks family including furniture, paintings, silverware, porcelain and many others. A tour through the Sammy Marks house gives visitors the chance to see how a wealthy family of the time lived.
The Dinokeng area is also home to many ruins from previous conflicts and inhabitants. With a knowledgeable guide, a visitor could be kept busy for a long time searching for ruins and artefacts in the wide expanses. Some of the old battlefields and forts are marked while others are semi-forgotten, waiting for visitors to uncover them and to remember.
For an interesting excursion into the diamond country of Gauteng, a journey to Dinokeng is in order. Situated only a short distance from Pretoria or Johannesburg, the area is a great place for visitors to see and learn about the diamond mining enterprises of the turn of the 19th century.
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