Escape from the city at African Pride Irene Country Lodge

29th January 2012 at 9:58 am

Win – Escape from the city at African Pride Irene Country Lodge worth R26 000.

Break away from the daily slog of modern day living and escape to the beauty of the countryside at African Pride Irene Country Lodge This exclusive country retreat, in the heart of historic Irene village in Centurion, is an oasis of peace and relaxation.

Set on 500 acres of lush meadows overlooking a stunning lake, the lodge is a blend of historical charm and modern luxury. Here time fades away as the splendour of nature and a fresh country breeze serenade you.

Enjoy sumptuous breakfasts, a picnic at the dairy farm and intimate dinners.The lodge’s Camdeboo Day Spa is a pamper haven offering beauty and body treatments that will leave you rejuvenated.

The Prize:

Escape from the city at African Pride Irene Country Lodge

Enjoy two nights accommodation, for two people sharing, in a deluxe suite.The lucky couple will be treated to all meals, two spa treatments, flights and airport transfers, as well as a fruit basket and complimentary bottle of wine.

Question: What is the name of the lodge’s spa?

For more information contact Irene Country Lodge on 012 667 6464 or visit

For more information on how to enter see the February 2012 issue of Country Life Magazine. Competition expires on 29th February 2012. The prize is valid until 16 April 2012..

Follow link to read Country Life Magazing online issue of this article Escape from the city at African Pride Irene Country Lodge.

Weekly Quiz: As we have noticed you are

25th January 2012 at 1:30 pm

Weekly Quiz:
As we have noticed you are learning all about our property we have decided to run a weekly quiz for our fans every Wednesday @ 15:00, where you can win a variety of wonderful spot prizes!
Please note we have a few minor T&C, the first person that answer the right question will win the prize which will have to be collected at our premises. No person under the employment of our property or affiliating properties to Irene Estate is allowed to enter the quiz or competition.
The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered to.

So good luck and hope you enjoy our quiz!

City Skyline

24th January 2012 at 10:25 am

Street in Rennes

23rd January 2012 at 11:43 am

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Postcard from Venice

22nd January 2012 at 11:28 am

This is some dummy copy. You’re not really supposed to read this dummy copy, it is just a place holder for people who need some type to visualize what the actual copy might look like if it were real content.

If you want to read, I might suggest a good book, perhaps Hemingway or Melville. That’s why they call it, the dummy copy. This, of course, is not the real copy for this entry. Rest assured, the words will expand the concept. With clarity. Conviction. And a little wit.

Postcard from Venice


20th January 2012 at 6:33 pm


January 2011: TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards 2012 were announced yesterday and besides Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! Cape Town clinching second place in the “Trendiest Hotels in Africa” category, five other Protea Hospitality Group (PHG) hotels also made the top 20 list.

Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! Cape Town was also voted 11th trendiest hotel in the world.

The other PHG hotels to feature in the Trendiest Hotels in Africa list are:

  1. African Pride Tribe – The Village Market Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya (5th)
  2. Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! Melrose Arch, Johannesburg (7th)
  3. Protea Hotel OR Tambo, Johannesburg (9th)
  4. African Pride Melrose Arch Hotel, Johannesburg (16th)
  5. African Pride 15 on Orange Hotel, Cape Town (17th)

PHG chief executive Arthur Gillis said that in terms of hospitality, Africa was setting world trends, rather than following them.

“Being trendy isn’t only about being in a beautiful designer building; it’s about the feeling and the vibe. No hotel can hope to make this list if it doesn’t have the right atmosphere, which is by and large created by having the best STAFF and the best service,” Gillis said.

“We are particularly proud of having the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! ranked so high in the world and in Africa. It’s an exciting brand that plays on delivering the delightful and unexpected. It has a lot of talkability and travellers are clearly picking up on that.”

Gillis said the number of South African hotels, in particular, that had made the top list rankings was impressive. 15 of the top 20 hotels in Africa are located in South Africa, and 11 of them are in Cape Town, which was TripAdvisor’s City of the Year in 2011. “Cape Town has firmly established its place as one of the top global destinations because if its staggering beauty, friendliness, favourable exchange rate and service culture.

“Cape Town is a top leisure destination, but for those same reasons it’s also a top meetings and conferencing destination. Despite global economic challenges, I believe we’re looking at a relatively strong year ahead and another good showing of Protea Hotels and African Pride Hotels in the 2013 awards.”

Bank Station

20th January 2012 at 10:18 am

This is some dummy copy. You’re not really supposed to read this dummy copy, it is just a place holder for people who need some type to visualize what the actual copy might look like if it were real content.

If you want to read, I might suggest a good book, perhaps Hemingway or Melville. That’s why they call it, the dummy copy. This, of course, is not the real copy for this entry. Rest assured, the words will expand the concept. With clarity. Conviction. And a little wit.

In today’s competitive market environment, the body copy of your entry must lead the reader through a series of disarmingly simple thoughts.


19th January 2012 at 9:31 am


January 2012: The Protea Hospitality Group has started a roll-out across South Africa of a purified water system that will replace bottled mineral water in their conferencing venues and ultimately save millions of plastic bottles from ending up in landfills.

Africa’s leading hospitality company has partnered with the international leader and originator of premium water systems, Vivreau (which sees to President Obama’s water needs in the White House as well as the finest Hotels and Michelin starred restaurants across Europe and America), to introduce a system of on-site bottling of purified water served in stylish glass bottles.

Protea Hospitality Group Operations Director William Ford said the roll-out was beginning this month and the initial phase would comprise approximately 20 hotels that include:

  • Protea Hotels Fire & Ice! Melrose Arch and Cape Town;
  • African Pride Melrose Arch Hotel;
  • African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa;
  • Protea Hotel Umhlanga Ridge;
  • Protea Hotel Wanderers;
  • Protea Hotel OR Tambo;
  • Protea Hotel Vineyards Estate and
  • Protea Hotel Victoria Junction

“We will be serving complimentary Vivreau water, purified on the premises in our conference rooms, rather than bottled mineral water as is the case now” said Ford, explaining the changes. “We will also be offering complimentary chilled Vivreau water in our receptions and to diners in our restaurants as well as in the bedrooms of hotels where we currently offer complimentary bottled water. We will of course continue to make available for purchase bottled mineral water for those of our GUESTS who would prefer to have this option.

“We have been given to understand that the material from which the plastic mineral water bottles we currently use is recyclable, however there is a lack of facility nationwide which is convenient and cost-effective for our hotels to expedite the recycling process and resulting in the majority of used bottles ending up in land-fill. Ford said it took between 3 and 7 litres of water to produce a 1 litre bottle of mineral water if one included the bottle manufacture and transport processes.

“The Protea Hospitality Group doesn’t view sustainability as an additional strategy or range of new activities, we have been sensitive to the environment and our responsibility in this regard for many years and are continually looking for ways to improve the environmental sensitive behaviour of our hotels and reduce the carbon footprint impact of our operations.  It is also about influencing all corporate strategies – creating integration and deepening our work to bring effect to profit (Prosperity), society (People), and environment (Planet). We recognise that this calls for a shift in the way we approach the very issues that face our business on a daily basis and that is what the move to Vivreau water is all about.”

Charles Tapanlis, MD of Vivreau Advanced Water Systems for Sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean islands, said by providing an in-house purification system and endlessly sanitising and reusing the same glass containers, dispensing just 100 Vivreau bottles per day, would replace more than 73 000 plastic bottles in one hotel over a two-year period.

Citing a National Geographic report, he said in America alone some 30 billion bottles of water were consumed per year. In order to make those bottles, manufacturers used 17 million barrels of crude oil – enough to run 1 million cars for a year.

“Vivreau’s mission is to offer the highest conceivable quality alternative to bottled water, whilst eliminating the carbon footprint, ‘water miles’, landfill waste and Bisphenol A (BPA) linked to health concerns from bottled water.

“We are immensely excited to be partnering with the largest and leading hotel group in Africa on this project that will not only give GUESTS a premium water product, but also massively reduce their environmental impact.”

We realized that our tweets “did you kno

18th January 2012 at 10:47 am

We realized that our tweets “did you know…” should have concentrated on our own facts, so watch this space for exciting facts about Irene…

Testing the Elements

17th January 2012 at 6:28 pm

This is some dummy copy. You’re not really supposed to read this dummy copy, it is just a place holder for people who need some type to visualize what the actual copy might look like if it were real content.

If you want to read, I might suggest a good book, perhaps Hemingway or Melville. That’s why they call it, the dummy copy. This, of course, is not the real copy for this entry. Rest assured, the words will expand the concept. With clarity. Conviction. And a little wit.

Police Horse

16th January 2012 at 2:54 pm
© Philipp Klinger Photography All Rights Reserved

© Philipp Klinger Photography All Rights Reserved

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Rietvlei Nature Reserve – Attractions near Irene

9th January 2012 at 11:04 am

Rietvlei Nature Reserve – Attractions near Irene.

The Rietvlei Nature Reserve, as one of the worlds largest urban nature reserves (3800 hectares), is situated at near Irene in the south of Pretoria, close to the R21. It consists of open grassland with undulating hills.

Great game viewing and excellent angling are the main drawcards at the 3 800ha Rietvlei Nature Reserve that lies 18km from Tshwane and 38km from OR Tambo International Airport.

The reserve has its origins in the 1930s when the Rietvlei Dam was dug by hand. Today the dam is fed by the Sesmylspruit (Six Mile Stream), five fountains and five boreholes. Upstream lies Marais Dam that acts as a sludge dam for the Rietvlei.

Originally the dam was not open to the public, but in 1948, following the creation of a nature reserve and the introduction of endemic game species by the then Pretoria City Council, the Rietvlei Nature Reserve was proclaimed.

In addition to supplying Tshwane with 15% of its water requirements, the two dams have become popular yachting and angling spots, where catfish, yellowfish, carp and tilapia are caught.

The designated fishing section includes ablution and braai (barbecue) facilities, as well as a campsite and chalets for overnight guests. No canoes or baitboats are permitted.

About 60km of well-maintained tar and dirt roads allow for great game viewing. Look out for cheetah, rhino, leopard, buffalo, blesbok, black wildebeest, red hartebeest, eland, Burchell’s zebra, waterbuck, reedbuck, springbok, mountain reedbuck, steenbok and grey duiker.

Guided night drives – rounded off with a braai under the stars – expose visitors to the delights of nocturnal species such as the brown hyena, black-backed jackal, ant bear, aardwolf, porcupine, springhare and bush pig.

Day walks of 10km (four hours), game viewing bus tours, horse trails and a 21km (two-day) overnight hike from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon, are also offered. Hiking facilities include two overnight huts with beds, mattresses, hot and cold water, some cooking utensils, and firewood. The hiking trail takes you past a group of historical British embankments used during the occupation of Pretoria.

Booking is essential for all activities.

The reserve enjoys a Highveld climate characterised by dry, frosty winters with temperatures rarely dropping below zero. There is an average 724mm rainfall during summer, when daytime temperatures reach up to 34°C.

Part of the Rietvlei Reserve is populated by endangered Bankenveld grassland, where undulating hills are dotted with clumps of indigenous trees. Exotic and invasive flora such as the Australian silver wattle tree is being systematically removed to restore the vegetation to its natural state.

Educational programmes presented by qualified guides allow you to learn more about the reserve’s environment.

Three distinct habitats – grassland, open-water and wetland – make Rietvlei excellent for bird watching and both dams feature bird hides.

Popular with visitors is the lovely picnic area at Marais Dam, an ideal location to while away an afternoon under the trees while watching water birds and hippos.

To see some amazing bird pictures taken here: Click here…

Operating hours

The reserve is open from 06h00 to 18h00 daily. Entrance is via the angling gate on Nellmapius Road.

Entry fee

Adults R20, children R10, toddlers R5 and pensioners R20.


On the R21 take the Irene/Rietvleidam off-ramp and turn in an easterly direction (towards Rietvleidam). At the first four-way stop turn right towards Olifantsfontein and the St George’s Hotel. Drive for 1.5km, crossing the Sesmylspruit. On the left is the signboard for the reserve. Turn left and follow the road up the hill to the main gate. Drive past the stone entrance until you get to the offices and entrance gate.

Irene Concentration Camp and Garden of Remembrance

3rd January 2012 at 4:17 pm

Irene Concentration Camp and Garden of Remembrance.

Overview of the Irene Concentration Camp

Opened on 2 November 1900, the Irene Concentration Camp was built with the intention that it would be one of the camps that would house Boer woman and children, driven from their land by the British “scorched earth” policy. This policy dictated the destruction of the farms and lands of Boer soldiers.

The conditions in the camp, located on the chilly southern side of the town, were extremely primitive. Life was exceptionally hard, and very little notice were taken by the authorities of the deaths that their lack of interest in the inmates caused.

The population increased rapidly in these poor conditions. In April 1901, it was recorded that the Irene Concentration Camp accommodated approximately 3 703 inmates, of which 317 were sick and 49 had perished. By the end of 1901 more than 800 people had died.

The Irene Concentration camp received much more attention than any other concentration camp, for a number of reasons. Located so close to Pretoria, it was under the eye of senior camp authorities. A group of Boer women from Pretoria who started a nursing corps in April 1901, gave the Irene Concentration camp additional notoriety.

The Irene Concentration Camp later extended, creating a second camp, known as Nylstroom. By the end of 1902 more than 5 400 people were held captive in the two camps. Although peace was declared in May 1902, the Irene Concentration Camp was allegedly closed during 1903, since no reports for the camp appears after 1903.

Today, the Irene Concentration Camp is a national heritage site, under the protection of the SA Heritage Resource Agency. The cemetery has more than 2 000 people buried there, although the cemetery’s name list only lists 1 149 people.

During excavations, a name plate with the number 2156 was found. However, only 850 heaps of soil, indicating graves, were uncovered. The original gravestones, generally hand-engraved on slate, were removed and placed under cover to prevent further weather damage. Later, the graves were formalized with stone plaques engraved with the names of people who had died during their horrible time in the Irene Concentration Camp.

You can read more on the history of the Irene Concentration camp here.

Review of the Irene Concentration Camp

In all honesty, I did not even want to write this review. This was one of the saddest places I have visited in a long time. And to find memorial plates with my family surname printed on it was even sadder, having to think what conditions these people had to endure.

Printed on paper slips in the windows of the entrance building, are the reasons why some of the people died.

Diseases that normally would have been under control, reigned in terror. So many unnecessary deaths. I am extremely thankful for not having to live in those times.

View photographs of all the headstones in the Irene Concentration Camp

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