Things To Do in IreneVisit Smuts House Museum
Where? Take the Botha Avenue off ramp from the N1 and turn left from Pretoria or right from Johannesburg. Carry on for 2kms towards Irene. Go under the bridge and the four way stop and turn right.
When? Monday to Sunday, 08h00 to 13h45.
How? Call +27 (0)12 667-1176
How much? Falls into price group R1 to R100 per person. Confirm with the provider.
More? See website
As the original home of General Jan Christian Smuts and his family, this museum is an important part of the South African heritage. Smuts, also known as Oubaas (‘old boss’ in Afrikaans), was a general (on the side of the Boers) in the Anglo-Boer War, a commander in World War One, and second-in-command to Winston Churchill in World War Two. He was also a chancellor of Cambridge University and the University of Cape Town; both esteemed institutions.
The Smuts House Museum has fascinating memorabilia and photographs on display, which paint the historical canvas and tell an important tale of times past. The exhibition includes the original furniture and Smuts’ original stocked library, where he would spend time reading and conducting research, dedicated mostly to his love of botany and philosophy. There are also photographs and military memorabilia of all three wars with which Oubaas was involved.
Once visitors have explored the museum and its wonderful display, there are a few other must-do’s in its grounds. The Oubaas Trail is about 2.3 kilometres long and is a circular trail up the koppie behind the house. The views are gorgeous and the birdlife prolific. Along the way, visitors should keep an eye out for and visit the stromatolitic rock formations, the arboretum, and the monument of the Smuts family. Guided trails are organised to explore these features more fully. There are bird-watching and nature walks, as well as a once-a-year spring flower walk. Jan Smuts had a deep, lasting love of plants and flowers, and spent massive portions of his life exploring the countryside and collecting them.
The garden, with original grasses planted by Smuts himself, are beautiful in their serenity. They are used to host a number of events; including an annual fête, dog walks, an organic market, a craft beer festival and the bi-monthly Irene Village Market.
If you are in Pretoria make an effort to visit this historical, remarkable house.