La Montagne, Pretoria

Lying virtually due east of the city centre of Pretoria, La Montagne nestles in amongst leafy, well established suburbs like Willow Park, De Wilgers and Meyerspark. La Montagne is perfect if you want easy access to highways, the N1 and N4 are effortlessly close by, shopping malls, restaurants and typical suburban living in Pretoria.

La Montagne, like its neighbours is pretty, with a range of houses, townhouses and flats fairly typical of this part of town. Gardens are large and well maintained, and there's an air of sedateness that belies Pretoria's function as a fairly large city with a buzzing economy.

There are also easy weekend escapes from La Montagne. The National Botanical Gardens are but a couple of suburbs north west of here, literally a stone's throw, with 76 hectares of garden that is something of an oasis in these parts of Pretoria. Almost 50 hectares are devoted exclusively to South African plants whilst 50% of the country's tree species provide shade and cover to a spread of green lawns and a series of pretty paths that take one through the gardens.

Faerie Glen Nature Reserve, with a teeming bird life, is just south west of La Montagne and offers one the chance to experience three hikes within the city's parameters that range from 4,5 kilometre to almost 12 kilometre trails. Dogs are welcome too.

Other great weekend places to visit include the little village of Irene, near Centurion. The Irene Village Market at Smuts House Museum on the second and last Saturday of every month is well worth the effort, and you can follow this with tea and scones at the local Irene dairy, where cows roam in pastures green almost directly on the road through the quaint village.

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