In this edition we look at how to make the Centurion station a jumping point for exploring a beautiful corner of the Gauteng countryside, taking in some major heritage landmarks and lesser-known coffee stops.
Find the rural heart of Centurion on a visit to one of these places, Your Journey Starts Here.
Centurion - countryside escapesPart of the Tshwane city metro, this peaceful suburb on the southern edge of Pretoria was first developed in the 19th-Century when a group of Afrikaans farmers established a farming community here. The early villages and farms included Irene, which gained terrible infamy as a concentration camp during the Anglo-Boer wars, and Doornkloof farm, once the home of General Jan Smuts. Nowadays, Centurion is more linked to business rather than agriculture, although despite the steady growth of offices, residential estates and malls, there are still corners of Centurion that retain a rural charm with weekend markets, farm museums, country clubs and rolling green spaces to be enjoyed.
Getting around CenturionThe Centurion station is located on West Avenue opposite the Centurion Lakes and a short walk from the Centurion rugby club and the SuperSport Park cricket ground. A series of Gautrain buses (weekdays only) link up the station with the various different office parks in the area. Centurion Central looks onto the lake with the Centurion Mall at its centre, around 10 minutes walk from the station.
Further afield, around a 10-minute drive from the station is the lovely, leafy suburb of Irene where you’ll find the idyllic Irene Dairy Farm with its farmhouse cafe and shop, the picturesque golf resort hotel Irene Country Lodge and a little further on, one of Gauteng’s best historic house museums, the Jan Smuts House Museum. 15 minutes drive south of the station is the South African Mint’s museum Coinworld, unfortunately currently closed due to the pandemic.
AFRICAN PRIDE IRENE COUNTRY LODGE
For peace, tranquillity and a dose of luxury check into the spa at the hotel’s Camdeboo Spa which looks onto acres of verdant rolling lawns and the Camdeboo day spa. In 2020 the hotel has also expanded its offerings to appeal to families as well as couples with a free self-guided nature trail around the property, craft beer tastings and the option of booking a picnic basket to enjoy on the lawns.
The Irene Country Lodge is a 10 minute drive from the Centurion Gautrain station.
IRENE DAIRY FARM
Now linked to the Irene Country Lodge Irene via a short tunnel, Irene Dairy Farm is a working 19th-century farm that is always a favourite with the kids. A relaxing spot for a farmhouse lunch you can pick up some fresh products in the well-stocked farm shop and take a stroll around the grounds. Kids will love getting up close to all the different farm animals and feeding the many ducks and swans.
The Irene Dairy Farm is a 10 minute drive from the Centurion Gautrain station.
JAN SMUTS HOUSE MUSEUM
Located on the old Doornkloof Farm in Irene, this immaculate museum brings to life the family home of statesman and general Jan Christiaan Smuts (1870-1950) who served two terms as Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa and was Boer commander during the Anglo-Boer Wars. Inside the house has been preserved to reflect how the family lived and the period items belonging to the family, including Smuts' extensive library, are marvellously displayed. In the garden you'll find the General's Cadillac and the gun carrier used to bear his coffin through the streets of Pretoria. After exploring the museum, take the short hike up the Smuts Koppie for some great views and end a visit with coffee and cake in the tea garden.
The Jan Smuts House Museum is a 10 minute drive from the Centurion Gautrain station.
Where to get lunch and coffee
Industrial Coffee Works
Every community needs a good independent coffee shop to bring some character and a personal touch to a neighbourhood and Centurion’s Industrial Coffee Works is up there with the best. As well as the coffee shop and roastery, The Works (as it is known for short) also provides exhibition space for local artists and photographers, serves cocktails and craft beers on tap and has a tasty menu of classic cafe fare including incredible bunny chows.
Industrial Coffee Works is located at 2018 Hendrik Verwoerd Drive, Centurion Central
How to use the GautrainYou can now pay for all your Gautrain trips using a contactless bank card by simply swiping in and out of the turnstiles at stations and tapping the contactless touchpoint on the bus when you enter. Alternatively, buy a Swift Card at the station and top it up to pay for your trips.
The Centurion Gautrain Station opens at 05:04 and closes at 21:15. The first train departs the station at 05:52 and the last northbound train at 20:58, last southbound train 20:49 (20:46 on weekends). Trains leave every 12 minutes during weekday peak rush hours and every 20 minutes during off-peak hours. On weekends trains depart every 30 minutes. Download the Gautrain app for real-time updates on when the next Gautrain and Gautrain bus is due or check online at gautrain.co.za.