Lying just outside of Midrand on the N1, part way between Jo-burg and Pretoria, Centurion is probably best known for its mall – one of the largest shopping centres in South Africa with over 200 stores and restaurants. But the suburb has become a ‘lifestyle of choice’ for many who don’t want to live in either city, yet need easy access to both, whilst managing to retain a country feel at the same time. Centurion is fast becoming the leading choice for corporate and leisure travellers to stay and the main advantage is the ease of access to major roadways linking it to Johannesburg, Midrand, Krugersdorp, Pretoria and Oliver Thambo International airport. Centurion is alive with possibilities especially since it is home to a lot of major corporate companies plus it’s a hub of restaurants, bars, pubs, fitness centres, entertainment venues and a huge convention centre in the pipeline.
Centurion Golf Estate
Located on the Hennops River in Centurion, this Golf Estate and Country Club offer up a wonderful 160 hectares of lush golfing bliss. Designed and constructed in 1995 by Peter Matkovich the Centurion Country Club was given the royal treatment from the get go and stands today as one of the finest ‘inner city’ courses in the country. Unique features of the course include three completely different themes incorporated into one course, namely –a desert zone, which is completely void of water; there is a parklands section and there are a few holes that are completely surrounded by water. In fact on ten of the holes the lakes and Hennops River come into play. Despite this, the 44 bunkers and the course is still relatively easy to play for the golfers that are able to hit with accuracy. The total length is 6373m with three different tees available. Other facilities include a four-hole mashie course, driving range, chipping green as well as a large putting green. A fully stocked Pro-Shop and caddies are also available.
Irene Dairy Farm is a picturesque gem that nestles between the sprawling cities of Pretoria and Johannesburg. A visit to this old-style, storybook dairy farm is a must. Started in 1895, the Irene Dairy Farm has been run the whole time by the van der Byl family who are now on to five generations and has become an iconic landmark in the Gauteng countryside. The Dairy Shop sells certified raw milk (one of the last places to do so) that is produced right there on the Irene Farm. The old gallon buckets of fresh farm milk are a sight unique to Irene. The Shop also has a wide range of cheeses, cakes, rusks and other fresh fare, including a favourite of the locals who frequent the shop is the Irene Dairy’s unique and luxurious thick cream which can’t be found anywhere else and is a must for scones with afternoon tea. Moving through the farmyard, visitors should stop by the Deck or the Barn Restaurants, both of which serve a wide variety of freshly-made breakfast and lunch options. The Barn Restaurant, which retains so much authentic ambience, because it is situated in one of the original farm barns, also serves sumptuous breakfast and lunch buffets every weekend.
The Gautrain, which travels at 160 km an hour, links Johannesburg and Tshwane (Pretoria), sending a total of 24 daily luxury trains between the two cities with the aim of stopping at ten stations in total. You can expect a smooth, air conditioned ride, and enough space for bags, suitcases and prams. There is also a card system perfect for frequent passengers that you can use on the bus, the parkade and the train. You can find fares, timetables and more info at: http://join.gautrain.co.za/Fares.aspx
The Rietvlei Nature Reserve
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. There were always some small mammals on the farm Rietvlei. The Rietvlei Nature Reserve has been restocked with game that is endemic to the highveld and is now home to large herds of game and because of its open grassland landscape it offers visitors a unique opportunity to view many species of animals. Some of these occur naturally only in South Africa (for example the Black Wildebeest and the Blesbok).
Other animals found in the Rietvlei Nature Reserve include the world’s 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. In recent years a family group of five hippos as well as cheetah were introduced to Rietvlei. Rietvlei also offers lots to interest bird lovers. South Africa’s national bird, the Blue Crane, is seen here from time to time, the Secretary Bird is a regular visitor and Rietvlei is home to a breeding pair of Fish Eagles. In addition many other species of bird can be seen including the Orange-throated Longclaw, the Little Egret, the Darter, the Reed Cormorant, the White-breasted Cormorant, the Goliath Heron, the African Finfoot and the Green-backed Heron.
Rietvlei nature reserve is open to private vehicles and offers superb sightings of the wildlife of the South African highveld. There is a bird hide and an area set aside for pic-nics at Marais Dam upstream from Rietvlei Dam and there are day and overnight hiking trails as well as horse trails (all accompanied by reserve staff). There is also a fishing area/camping site along part of the banks of Rietvlei Dam. The Rietvlei Nature Reserve is open daily from 08h00 to 18h00 on weekdays and from 06h00 to 18h00 on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. Entrance to the reserve closes at 16h00.
An entrance fee is charged. Enquiries at the gate and at +27 (0)12 345-2274.