Situated between Pretoria and Midrand (Johannesburg), Centurion has an interesting history of battles and name changes. With museums, weekend craft markets, an air force base, superb shopping, and a charming working dairy, Centurion is the perfect balance of rural and cosmopolitan life. It is easily accessible from major highways like the N1, N14, and R21, so book your accommodation and hit the road to explore this Gauteng gem.
History lovers will enjoy a visit to Rooihuiskraal Historical Terrain, a National Monument commemorating the battle for Rooihuiskraal, which took place in 1881, and is considered to be one of the most significant battles of the First Anglo-Boer War. The stone wall ruins mark the grounds where a Boer commando defeated the Officer Commanding of the Pretoria Garrison, Lt. Col. Gildea, commonly known as the "Blasted Colonel".
During the Second Anglo-Boer War, in 1900, the Irene Concentration Camp was established to house the Boer women and children that had been driven from their land by the British "scorched earth" policy. The Irene Concentration Camp Cemetery and Garden of Remembrance now marks its location. Today Irene is anything but a battleground. It is rather a scenic haven for people looking for a break away from the city. Irene Dairy is a working farm where children can pet calves and run around with the ducks and chickens while adults enjoy delicious food at one of two restaurants, before stocking up on fresh milk and home-made goodies at the dairy store. The Irene Country Club has facilities for tennis, squash, cricket, and bowls, as well as a breath-taking golf course that meanders past the dairy and over a stream lined with weeping willows.
A visit to Smuts House is worthwhile not only for a stroll through the museum, but also a scenic hike up the hill. Originally used as an officer’s mess in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, the house was reconstructed in Centurion as the home of Gen. Jan Smuts, a former Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa. A tea garden operates from the house and regular botanical and birding excursions start from the museum.
The SuperSport Park cricket stadium has become one of Centurion’s major attractions and has been rated as one of the 10 best cricket grounds in the world by Indian legend, Kapil Dev. The stadium boasts a wonderful grandstand and superb open grass embankments, with a capacity of 22,000. Other attractions include the Waterkloof Air Force Base, the Air Force Memorial at Swartkop Air Force Base, Zwartkops Race Track, SA Mint and Coin World, the Centurion Art Gallery, and Centurion Mall, a shopping centre built along Centurion Lake.
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