There’s a reason Irene Farm always features in any mention of Irene, and that’s because it’s a very well presented and hospitable place! Gobble a breakfast or lunch in the Barn Restaurant, while the kids hit the jungle gym or play among the standing tractors outside. A great place to sit and eat under the oak trees, this is the outdoor living foreigners seethe with jealousy over. The Deck is the other of Irene Farm’s eateries, and it’s a quietly consistent pleasure to dine there too. The Sunday buffet at The Barn is awesome, while the a la carte menu at The Deck is worth wading through over a few months. This is a solid family venue where everyone can have their version of fun.
The Karoo Grill & Bar in Irene Village Mall might rate a “Meh” from some, but have a look at what visitors are saying about the place online. “Burgers and steak” might sound banal to diners in pursuit of exotic tastes, but if ever there was a shining example of keeping it simple while excelling at it, this is the place. Smart yet child friendly, casual yet not slacking on the preparation and presentation of their menu, the Karoo Grill deserves to see your face – it will leave smiling.
If a relaxed yet professional touch is your ideal restaurant, Piza ē Vino in the very same Irene Village Mall is worth checking out too. Previously mentioned in a number of Pretoria.co.za posts as a truly gesellige venue, don’t be fooled into thinking they’re run of the mill. For consistent cheer and yummy grub, this place is hard to beat.
Irene is literally dotted with hotels, B&Bs and an assortment of accommodation options. If you’re staying over a night or two, African Pride Irene Country Lodge, Autograph Collection in Nelmapius Drive is always a pleasure. Beautifully appointed with genuinely grand vistas, this is a venue you might just make your second home if you’re a regular Centurion visitor. There are other great B&Bs too – the aptly named Irene B&B comes recommended for a stay that really does feel like it’s your house, or Candlewoods Guesthouse, where you’ll also always feel at home. Irene is hospitable!
For those looking to shack up in Irene for a business or otherwise slightly extended stay, there’s River Meadow Manor that also has conferencing facilities, alongside its more businesslike touch overall. De Oude Herberg is a 4-star guesthouse, well used to the needs and desires of business travellers. Here, you’ll find conference facilities too, but it still remains homely and extremely comfortable.
And if it’s international norms with all attendant luxury you’re after, the Kleinkaap Boutique Hotel is a must-see. In fact, we’re going to leave it at that, as the last word on posh accommodation in Irene. A truly splendid hotel, it has all the boutique touches without any forfeit of service or facilities you’d expect from much larger hotels. Beautiful gardens surround hale buildings, rendered brand-new by renovations over the years. This hotel defines Irene for many especially international travellers. Wedding parties passing through the gardens only add to the ambiance.
True to Irene’s country character, Irene Dairy Farm might not be shots and strobe lights, but it’s a healthy form of entertainment for the whole family. Always great to visit, it leaves the kids googly-eyed from the farmy goings-on, while food here is always the best trade-off for adults. It’s the home of both The Barn and The Deck restaurants mentioned above, but also a whole lot more. It’s worth visiting for a good few hours.
Sticking with the outdoors – and, frankly, it’s the best place to be in Irene in the absence of a heavy downpour – Acrobranch Adventure @ The Big Red Barn is sure to get your blood pumping. Featuring a wonderfully restored barn serving breakfasts, lunches and high teas, here you can clamber among the tree tops to spike your appetite before lunch. Also offering company and other group excursions, these folks will be happy to see you, whether you’re there for the food, the company, or just to go ape.
Finally, since museums are rising in chic status again, you might just like to pop in at the Smuts House Museum when you’re in Irene. A rather “boutique” museum that was once the domicilium et executandi of Oom Jan, it’s similar in character to the Kruger House Museum. The ever popular Irene Village Market also swarms the grounds of Smuts House every first and last Saturday of the month, and it’s a wonderful and somewhat enchanting place to visit.