Suburb focus on Irene

Private Property South Africa
Betsie Loock-Van der Merwe

Regardless of extensive development and modernisation of the surrounding areas, Irene is still regarded as the most tranquil neighbourhood in Pretoria.

About the area

The quaint village of Irene with its many oak and blue gum trees lining the narrow streets of this picturesque hamlet in the southeastern countryside of Centurion was established 114 years ago.

In the 1890s, Alois Hugo Nellmapius, a businessman who had a controlling interest in the original farm, Doornkloof, renamed the farm Irene Estate after his daughter. Irene is derived from the Greek word meaning peace. More than a century later, despite extensive development and modernisation of the surrounding areas, Irene is still regarded as the most serene suburb in Pretoria.

The residential village is fenced and gated. “Some Irene properties are old, with a lot of character, and other properties are state-of-the-art design,” says Liza Smit, estate agent. “To live in Irene is best described as living on a farm in the middle of the city. In others words, Irene is the place where everybody wants to be.”

To meet the demand of urgent buyers wishing to be part of this lifestyle, the area saw the development of, among others, two exclusive residential estates.

The imposing and well-established Cornwall Hill Country Estate on the hills to the west of the village overlooking Irene Village Mall adjacent the R21, was proclaimed in 1998. Properties are luxurious and spacious with prices ranging from about R3,5m on a 1,000m2 stand to over R25m on a 1ha stand. Located within its borders is one of the city’s top schools, Cornwall Hill College, catering for learners from Grade 0 to 12.

To the west of the village, surrounded by a green belt, but within easy access of the N1, is the prestigious Southdowns Residential Estate, established in 2004. Modern farm-style dwellings ranging from townhouses to multi-bedroomed family homes are on offer. Prices range from R2,2m for a two-bedroom townhouse to an average of R6m to R7m for a three- to five-bedroom residence. Vacant land is also available.

Southdowns College, catering for learners from pre-preparatory to high school, was established in the estate. Across from the entrance, Southdowns Shopping Centre offers convenient shopping. Both estates boast state-of-the-art security systems.

Living in Irene feels like you are in the countryside. It is peaceful and quiet… the only sounds are the variety of bird sounds – a piece of heaven within a city.

Catherine Hobson, resident

Things to do:

  • Enjoy refreshments in Ouma’s Tea Garden or a picnic at Jan Smuts House.
  • Irene Dairy Farm offers an enchanting farm experience, restaurants, farm shop and kids’ play area.
  • Irene Country Club offers golf, bowls, cricket, squash and tennis.
  • African Pride Irene Country Lodge offers relaxing spa and dining-out experiences.

Medical facilities nearby:

  • Netcare Unitas Hospital
  • Intercare Irene
  • Mediclinic Midstream

Transport plus:

  • On the N1, a few kilometres from the R21
  • 20 minutes from OR Tambo International Airport
  • 5 minutes from Centurion Gautrain station
  • A Metrorail station in the village

This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.

Take a journey through Centurion here:

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