The Gauteng Province may be the smallest in South Africa but it is certainly home to some of the busiest and most exciting destinations. Centurion is part of the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, and has fewer than 300 000 inhabitants. It is situated between the two hubs of Pretoria and Johannesburg and has somewhat of a cosmopolitan look and feel to it.
Centurion is known for estate living, and these gated communities provide a safe, exclusive neighbourhood for families, couples and up-and-coming youngsters that love the vibe of city living but the security of a quiet suburb. It retains a sort of romantic, village kind of feel that the locals just love. Still, Centurion is also a commercial hotspot, the hub of a number of economic resources and initiatives, which earn it much respect amongst businessmen and women all over the world.
Being situated on the Highveld, Centurion enjoys hot summers with afternoon thundershowers (almost daily), and temperate, dry winters. Its infrastructure is well developed, catering for the locals and the many tourists that visit it every year. There is plenty of accommodation available, as well as entertainment and fun activities.
The Centurion Mall is one of the largest in the country. It is an open-air centre with more than 200 different shops and restaurants, and covers 107 000 square metres. In addition to the fast-food outlets and well-known fashion chains that we expect from a mall, there are also boutiques, salons, and top-notch eateries for those that want something a little out of the ordinary.
Here are a few more attractions and activities that are recommended in or near Centurion:
• Visitors wanting to unwind on the fairways will enjoy a morning spent at the Centurion Golf Course. Designed by the acclaimed Peter Matkovich, this course (and accompanying estate) boasts challenging holes that include water and desert for an added twist. The Blue Valley Golf Course is another renowned course, designed by world champion, Gary Player, and set within spectacular surrounds.
• The Rietvlei Nature Reserve measures 3 800 hectares, making it one of the largest urban nature reserves in the world. The Rietvlei Dam is ideal for watersports, while the reserve caters for bird-watching, game viewing, freshwater fishing and hiking. Game includes cheetah and rhino, which both make for exciting viewing. In terms of hiking trails, there is a four-hour trail and a two-day trail, depending on the capabilities of your group. The Roodeplaat Dam Nature Reserve is also fantastic for those who enjoy bird-watching and fishing.
• Smuts House Museum in nearby Irene was once the home of Jan Smuts, who was the Prime Minister of South Africa between 1919 and 1924.
• For something a little less tourist-oriented, visit the Irene Dairy Farm. You are able to buy delicious, fresh cream and milk at the shop and gain an understanding of the process from cow to shelf. This is particularly interesting for little ones.
• The Union Buildings, situated in Meintjieskop, are absolutely beautiful as they loom over the city of Pretoria. These are the President of South Africa’s offices. Their English monument style and grand gardens add to their exquisite detailing.