Gauteng DestinationsIrene, Northern Gauteng
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 farmís coffee shop serves freshly brewed coffee, breakfasts, lunches and teas, and sells fresh farm milk, cheese, cream and delectable bakery goodies.
A village market is held on the second and last Saturday of every month on the grounds of Smuts House Museum, the home of Jan Smuts for over 40 years, that houses relics and mementos of the former statesman who escaped here to enjoy his family and his passion for botany, set as it is on the road leading out of the village. The market is famous for its location on the slopes of Smuts Hill and has received its share of accolades for the mix of artists and traders who exhibit carefully selected wares.