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Pronounced ‘Eyereenee’, the suburb of Irene falls within the town of Centurion in the Gauteng Province of South Africa. A previous owner of the farm named the land after his daughter, the word Irene (or eiríni) meaning peace in Greek.
Archaeologists are familiar with Irene for the ancient artefacts discovered here and historians know it for the 40 concentration camps laid down during the South African War but today Irene is better known for the dairy farm that has been in existence since 1895 and a regular stop for anyone travelling between Centurion, Midrand and Pretoria.
Many of the properties are smallholdings and large plots and the area is surrounded by a country club, secure estates and farmland. Two main highway are nearby.
Irene has that country feeling and leaves visitors to savour the intoxicating Highveld air.
Top 6 reasons to visit Irene
1. A visit to the Irene Dairy Farm is a must. This farm has been in the same family for 5 generations and welcomes guests to taste milk in its raw form. Order the scones (with fabulously thick cream) at the restaurant on the property. Grab some farm-style cheeses on your way out.
2. The Southdowns Shopping Centre offers secure parking for shoppers to peacefully browse the 48 stores and dine at any of the 15 restaurants. The centre hosts a night market once a month.
3. Visiting golfers are welcome to enjoy a round on the 18-hole course at the Irene Country Club. The club has a bowling green, and tennis and squash courts for those seeking an alternate activity.
4. The Jan Smuts House Museum celebrates the life of one of South Africa’s great statesmen. The Smuts’ family home for over 40 years, it’s a house that has seen dignitaries such as Queen Elizabeth visit and has remained largely untouched. The magnolia tree in the garden was grown from a seed given Smuts by Emily Hobhouse. A picnic area, hiking trails and a tea garden is on the premises.
5. Find a salt lick and wait for the animals to arrive at the Rietvlei Nature Reserve. Game species include cheetah, rhino, various antelope species and a high concentration of birdlife. Picnic areas, hiking routes and fishing spots are located around the dam.
6. The Irene Village Market takes place twice monthly in the grounds of the Jan Smuts House Museum. With 250 stall exhibitors, the arts, crafts, food and fashionwear offerings are vast. Live music and children’s play centre keeps everyone entertained.
You’re in the countryside, take a relaxing stroll along the banks of the peaceful Hennops River where Stone Age tools were discovered and where cows now roam. The river makes its way through the farm areas and via the nearby Centurion Golf Estate.
The nearest airport is OR Tambo International Airport, 35km from Irene. The smaller Grand Central Airport in Midrand, for chartered flights, is 20km away. Car rental agencies are located at the airport and in Centurion otherwise book a vehicle online. Metered taxi companies are based in and around Irene. If you have the Uber app, order a ride via your mobile phone.
Did you know?
Jan Smuts, Prime Minister of South Africa after WW1, was a personal friend of Winston Churchill and considered a great strategist. He was a member of Britain’s Imperial War cabinet and he contributed to the United Nations charter. In 1927, his book Holism and Evolution was published.
The Irene Country club’s cricket facility has produced many Proteas (nickname for the South African cricket team) including fiery eyed Andre Nel, who played a test match on the same day he married!