The little village of Irene (pronounced irenie) is one of the best kept secrets in Gauteng - its poplar, plane and oak-lined avenues, pretty homes, shady almost meadow-like surrounds more than a little out of place here, and such a welcome respite that one is tempted to stay. And its residents are fiercely proud and protective of their charming village.

The Irene neighbourhood has formed a landowners association that makes sure that the safety and security of the village is maintained, and that the streets are safe for their children. Almost halfway between Johannesburg and Pretoria, Irene is not only reminiscent of a country village, it is also the site of the Irene Village Dairy where cows graze on lush green grass virtually on the road through the village, reminding one more of the pleasant English countryside than somewhere just off a highway between two major cities. The peaceful dairy farm’s coffee shop serves freshly brewed coffee, breakfasts, lunches and teas, and sells fresh farm milk, cheese, cream and delectable bakery goodies.

Some featured attractions in (or near) Irene:

Irene Country Club

Irene Golf Course, Main Road, Irene, Pretoria / The Irene Golf Club has one of the most attractive golf courses imaginable, next to Van der Byl Farm in the small, leafy village of Irene. Irene is only 15 kilometres south-east of Pretoria, yet far removed from city life. In keeping with the area, Irene Country Club has a rural, peaceful atmosphere. The course is challenging and well kept and a favourite haunt for many Gauteng golfers.

Irene Village Dairy

Almost halfway between Johannesburg and Pretoria, Irene is not only reminiscent of a country village, it is also the site of the Irene Village Dairy where cows graze on lush green grass virtually on the road through the village, reminding one more of the pleasant English countryside than somewhere just off a highway between two major cities. The peaceful dairy farm’s coffee shop serves freshly brewed coffee, breakfasts, lunches and teas, and sells fresh farm milk, cheese, cream and delectable bakery goodies.

Rietvlei Nature Reserve

The Rietvlei Nature Reserve is one of the world's largest urban nature reserves, 3 800 hectares in extent, situated south of the city but still within the city limits. The Rietvlei Nature Reserve lies very close to the highway between Pretoria and OR Tambo International Airport at a height of about 1700 m above sea level, which is about 300 m higher than Pretoria. Animals found in the Rietvlei Nature Reserve include the worlds largest antelope, the Eland, Burchell's Zebra, Red Hartebeest, Springbok, Waterbuck, Reedbuck, Ostrich, two of Africa's "big five" Buffalo and White Rhino, Bushpig, as well as a number of Black-backed Jackal, Mountain Reedbuck, Oribi, Grey Duiker, Steenbuck, Brown Hyena, Porcupine, Springhare, Aardwolf and Banded Mongoose. Recently a family group of five hippos as well as cheetah were introduced to Rietvlei. Rietvlei also offers lots to interest bird lovers.

Smuts House Museum

SmutsHouseMuseum

If you haven’t already visited the house in which Jan Smuts lived, then take advantage of staying in the vicinity and go and see the Big House, as Jan Smuts and his family used to call their home in Irene, half way (more or less) between Johannesburg and Pretoria. The Smuts House is a relaxed, slice-of-life museum in contrast to other cities, where museums are big, ornate buildings. 

The house began its life as a prefabricated wood and iron officers’ mess in Britain. It was then dismantled and taken to India, following which it made its way to South Africa, where it was bought by Smuts and taken to his farm, Doornkloof, where it stands today.

Irene Village Market

The popular Irene Village Market takes place on the shady grounds of Smuts House on the first and last Saturday of every month, and the setting alone is enough to warrant a visit to this particularly pretty part of the highveld.