De Wagensdrift, Northern Gauteng

Head slightly north east of Pretoria for roughly 40 kilometres and you will find De Wagensdrift, an area dominated by farmland and wide open spaces; an ideal spot from which to experience a 'bushland' escape, whilst remaining close to the city.

De Wagensdrift's closest neighbour is the historical town of Cullinan, and one can easily explore those farms and self-catering cottages in the area that have placed themselves on the Cullinan Meander, also known as the Dinokeng Route - primarily a list of venues peppered with adventure venues, cultural sites, spas, retreats and tea gardens.

De Wagensdrift's rural and 'big sky' feel allows an easy escape from the hubbub of Pretoria and Johannesburg, and the area is dominated by farming country and the chance to spot the type of birds you couldn't find in the city like secretary birds, longtailed widows and other grassland varieties.

And if a reflective break in De Wagensdrift is insufficient to entertain you, make sure that you place Cullinan, the little Victorian village on your list of things to do. It's famous for the discovery of the massive Cullinan diamond, which lays claim to being the world's largest rough gem-quality diamond find in 1905 after the opening of the Premier diamond mine in 1902. Much of the village retains its former character and corrugated iron roofed houses bask on sunny tree-lined streets - a living museum to the diamond rush.

Roodeplaat Dam and the Roodeplaat Nature Reserve too are worth a visit. The reserve is divided into a southern and northern area, the northern reserved largely for water sports and human activity, whilst the southern is for the avid bird watchers amongst you, although there are also a series of game that include zebra, waterbuck, warthog, wildebeest and the black backed jackal.

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