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Originally to be a safari park, the Dinokeng area was extended to form a regional tourist destination. This government initiative has been a glittering success and today the area consists of vast tracts of pristine land, dams, rivers, historic battlegrounds and Stone Age sites. Dinokeng is located in the Gauteng Province of South Africa, 48km outside of Pretoria and 108km from Johannesburg.
The name Dinokeng means “The place of rivers”, as the Pienaars and Boekenhoutspruit rivers run through the region, the Apies River lies to the west, and the Elands River in the east.
Dinokeng has a somewhat dry bushveld environment ideal for game viewing, and the area experiences the spectacular summer thunderstorms typical of Gauteng. Temperatures average 21° Celsius throughout the year.
The Dinokeng Game Reserve is the only reserve in Gauteng that hosts the Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo). Other mammals include cheetah, brown hyena, hippo, giraffe, zebra and a variety of buck species.
Things to do
You’re here for the Big 5 game viewing and fortunately the Dinokeng Game Reserve limits the number of vehicles entering the park, giving you almost exclusive access on your self-drive to view the vast and varied wildlife at your leisure. Most of the roads are suitable for passenger cars.
The nearby mining village of Cullinan is worth a visit. Famed for the discovery of the largest (gem quality) diamond found in 1905, Cullinan’s Oak Avenue is a walk back in time. Beautifully preserved buildings, established gardens and trees, and restaurants line the street. Take a surface mine tour while there.
Join Big Sky Balloons, operated by a commercial airline, on a breath-taking hot air balloon flight over Dinokeng.
For an enjoyable family outing, the Mystic Monkeys and Feathers Wildlife Park offers guided tours of their primates, lemurs, exotic birds and white lions in the park.
Boat cruises are available on any of the 3 dams in Dinokeng. Look out for crocodiles and hippos lurking in the waters.
Where to Eat
Reasonably priced light meals are on offer at the Whispering Oak Garden Café Restaurant in Cullinan. Friendly staff to welcome you.
The chefs at the Kingfisher Restaurant at Mongena Game Lodge serve awesome meals off their à la carte lunch and dinner menus. The lovely deck overlooking a waterhole is the perfect place to enjoy a quality meal.
Order the tasty meze platter and other sterling Greek dishes at the As Greek as it gets Restaurant in Cullinan.
Pop in to Cockpit Brewhouse in Cullinan for original home brewed beers. Live music from late afternoon into the evening. Friendly vibe, open Thursdays to Sundays.
Marvel at the star-filled skies out on the patio, while listening to the haunting animal sounds nearby.
Where to Stay
The variety of incredible luxury lodges in Dinokeng offers something for everyone, from self-catering facilities to being waited on, hand and foot.
Air The nearest airport is OR Tambo International Airport, 88km from Dinokeng.
Car There many car rental agencies in Pretoria, Johannesburg and at OR Tambo airport to hire a vehicle, or you could order a rental online.
Taxi There are numerous metered taxi and shuttle service operators throughout the area, however, you will need a vehicle for self-drives into the Dinokeng Game Reserve.
Did you know?
Dinokeng is a malaria free zone, it is not necessary to take precautions.
The Cullinan diamond found in 1905 weighed 3,106 carats and was cut down to 9 large stones and 96 smaller stones. The largest – the Great Star of Africa – is on display in the Tower of London. A second stone has been incorporated into the Imperial State Crown of Great Britain.