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1st Oct 2011 at 11:25 pm
Picnic by the Lake

Picnic by the Lakeside

A Century of History

Irene Village, located in Centurion district, is steeped in history. Originally known as Doornkloof farm, Irene Estate was established by Alois Hugo Nellmapius before being bought by Johannes Albertus Van der Byl –better known as Berti in 1895. Perhaps the farm’s most illustrious
occupant was former Prime Minister General Jan Smuts, the man who crafted the draft of the Covenant of the United Nations. General Jan Christian Smuts bought a third of the original Doornkloof farm in 1908.

Today the village is home to African Pride Irene Country Lodge and Irene Dairy Farm, with the land owned by the Van der Byl family who are now in their fifth generation. The family have been responsible for building up the herd of dairy cows on the farm, as well as planting hundreds of trees long before environmental consciousness became fashionable.

Irene was first proclaimed a township in 1902 by Bertie. Originally known as Doornkloof farm, Nellmapius renamed the farm after his daughter Irene. Today it is officially part of the municipality of Centurion and even though the population has grown considerably, neighbours still know one another and find time to chat, all in an extremely relaxed and safe environment.

The Irene golf course, between Irene Dairy Farm and Smuts House, was originally laid out and started by Bertie Van der Byl and Jan Smuts around 1911, and remains one of the few golf courses in Gauteng where playing golf is still like a walk in the country.

A visit to the Irene Dairy Farm is a must; with its wonderful Farm Shop selling delicious fresh milk, as well as two restaurants. This is where the locals, often carrying the old fashioned gallon pails, purchase their supplies. The shop is licensed to sell certified milk – raw or untreated milk — complying with the same standards as pasteurized milk.  Cheeses and other fresh fare are also on sale in the Dairy shop, but best of all is the rich, fresh cream which resembles clotted cream.

Adjacent to the Farm Shop is the Deck Restaurant an intimate spot ideal for relaxing while watching the sun set over the bustling farm yard.

The Barn Restaurant is situated in one of the original farm barns, built in about 1880 and used as a farm barn for over 100 years.  The barn looks out onto the dairy stable, also built in about 1880.  Today, it is still used to feed the milking herd of the Irene Estate, as it has been every day for over a century.

From the Irene Dairy Farm, one can walk across to the African Pride Irene Country Lodge which offers five star luxury accommodation and delectable cuisine from its Meadow Green Restaurant, overlooking a large tranquil dam and Camdeboo Spa & Restaurant which offers delicious light meals.  The Lodge was built and opened in 1998 and is popular for both business and leisure. Spending a weekend at the hotel will afford you the opportunity of visiting the Dairy Farm, the Smuts House Museum, the Rietvlei Nature Reserve or playing golf at Irene and
Centurion Golf course.

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