Quick Facts: Centurion
- Centurion is located about midway between Johannesburg and Pretoria in Gauteng, South Africa
- Centurion is a rapidly growing residential and commercial area of about thirty suburbs
- Its suburban spread is composed largely of gated residential estates
- It is home to a massive shopping centre: Centurion Mall
- Centurion Art Gallery
- Centurion Country Club
- Coin World at the South African Mint
- Irene Concentration Camp Cemetery
- Irene Market
- Irene Village Mall
- Rietvlei Nature Reserve
- Smuts House Museum
- South African Air Force Museum
- Zwartkop Country Club
Distance to Airport: 40 km
Distance to City: 27 km
Falling midway between Johannesburg and Pretoria, Centurion is a rapidly growing residential and commercial area of about thirty suburbs. Its suburban spread is composed largely of gated residential estates, with a massive shopping centre at its heart: Centurion Mall.
The Mall overlooks Centurion Lake, a water recreation area on Hennops River, which bisects the heart of the city. Centurion offers seamless access to the major road links between Johannesburg and the North. The establishment of a fully functional convention and entertainment centre has further augmented its popularity amongst business travellers. Centurion is also home to the Waterkloof and Swartkop air force bases.
The earliest records of human settlement in the Centurion area can be dated as far back as 1200 AD when tribal pastoralists cultivated the land. During the early nineteenth century, King Mzilikazi swept through the area, devastating the original tribal population here and unintentionally clearing a path for Afrikaans settlers who followed in his wake some twenty years later. The Erasmus family were the first Afrikaners to settle the area, establishing three farms that were to become the core of Centurion – Zwartkop, Doornkloof and Brakfontein. Later, a portion of Doornkloof would be sectioned off and named Irene.
The Irene Concentration Camp cemetery can be found here, with its original hand-carved slate tombstones of the 1,249 women and children who died in the squalid British camp during the Second Anglo-Boer War. Jan Smuts purchased Doornkloof farm and lived here until his death in 1950.
By 1962, the combined area of Doornkloof, Irene and Lyttelton was awarded City Council status under the name Lyttelton. Five years later it was renamed Verwoerdburg after Hendrik Verwoerd. This was then changed to Centurion – a politically neutral name that bears no links to the Apartheid era.
From O.R. Tambo International Airport, Centurion can be reached via the R21 airport road, travelling north towards Pretoria.