In spite of growth in the greater Centurion area, Irene remains a charming hamlet with a farm-like look and feel.
Alois Hugo Nellmapius, a prominent businessman and pioneer in the late 1800s, renamed his farm Doornkloof to Irene Estate after his daughter Irene (derived from the Greek word meaning “peace”).
Irene was proclaimed a town in 1902. Over the years the area has retained its peace, quiet and farm-like look and feel. More than a century after it was proclaimed a town, and after much growth and development of the greater Centurion area, Irene remains a charming hamlet.
Residential options include living in the original village which has a lot of character with its graceful older houses, beautiful stone chapel and historical treasures like the Jan Smuts House Museum, the Irene Concentration Camp cemetery and the Irene Dairy Farm, which is still operational.
Although fenced o¬ for maximum security and privacy, living in Irene Security Estate still feels like living on a farm in the middle of the city.
In addition to the many open spaces surrounding the village it also includes The Oval, a central recreational area where children can play and families can enjoy picnics and walk their dogs.
Two elite residential estates were developed in the area to meet the demand from affluent buyers wanting to enjoy a countryside lifestyle with easy access to Gauteng’s highways.
The imposing Cornwall Hill Country Estate on the hills to the west of Irene Village overlooks the Irene Village Mall and the R21 to either Pretoria’s city centre or OR Tambo International Airport. Properties in this estate are spacious and stand sizes vary from 1,000m2 to 1ha.
The luxurious Southdowns Residential Estate is on the west of the Irene Village. It's surrounded by a greenbelt and within easy access of the N1.
Upmarket farm-style dwellings ranging from townhouses to spacious family homes are on offer. It’s located across from Southdowns Shopping Centre.
All these residential areas are located a short distance from great schools, expansive shopping and business services, top medical facilities, the Centurion Gautrain station and a host of leisure and entertainment venues.
I love that Irene is close to the city, but one can go home to a calm environment where you can just kick off your shoes and relax.
-Zanele Makoni, Resident.
Outdoor things to do:
- Irene Country Club offers golf, bowls, cricket, squash and tennis.
- Jan Smuts House terrain offers a 2,3km circular walk as well as bird watching trails.
- Enjoy fishing, game viewing, hiking, cycling at Rietvlei Nature Reserve.
- Acrobranching and paintball fields are also available.
Best in food:
- Village Bistro: delicious winter warmers like lamb shanks, oxtail, mutton curry in a homey atmosphere.
- The Deck Restaurant at Irene Dairy Farm: great outdoor family outing, feed the stomach and the soul.
- Karoo Cattle and Land: famous for its authentic South African grilled meals like lamb sosaties, boerewors, sizzling ribs.
- Publican Bar & Grill: a new restaurant in Centurion. If you’re in the mood for a juicy and delicious steaks, this is the place to visit.
- Southdowns College
- Cornwall Hill College
- Irene Primary School
- Laerskool Doringkloof Primary
Agent insight into the area:
What are the best things about the area for families?
Irene is the ideal area for suburban family life. It’s the perfect neighbourhood to buy a home where your children will have large, lush gardens to play in and where they have the freedom and security to still ride their bikes in the streets. Residents can freely enjoy a walk in the tranquil evening atmosphere and have a friendly chat with their neighbours. Irene is also close to all the best schools and shopping malls in the area.
Michelle Vergottini: Rawson Properties Centurion
What, in your opinion, makes living in Irene special?
Irene Village has the unique appeal of an established urban community with a farm atmosphere, large stands, old houses and even older trees. It reflects a place of harmonious coexistence between modern living and the tranquillity of village life. The village is patrolled 24 hours a day by security guards. Irene is a village with its own town hall, school with a church, and a working dairy farm that has been in continuous operation for 112 years.
Lisa Gillett: Jawitz Properties
What do you love about Irene?
What I love most about Irene is its village-like cuisine and family malls which are in close proximity to popular golf courses, Irene Country Club and Centurion Country Club. Irene Village Mall with its water features, many trees and unusual sculptures echoes the village square theme. Southdowns Shopping Centre also offers the convenience of Intercare Sub-Acute and Day hospitals and an Intercare Medical and Dental Centre.
Nico West: Pam Golding Properties
This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.