The majority of the house’s interior has been reconstructed to reflect the period between 1909 and 1950, courtesy of furniture, pictures, and equipment donated by the Smuts family. The display includes various artefacts and gifts that were presented to Jan Smuts during his global travels.
Smuts transformed the billiard room into his study/library, which now houses numerous rare and antique books on various subjects, including law, philosophy, botany, and religion. It was in this space that he developed his theory of Holism.
The Doornkloof estate is still owned and managed by the General Smuts Foundation, with the tea garden, caravan park, and Arts and Crafts Market serving as sources of revenue for the museum’s daily operations.
This management model for the Smuts House Museum provides an intriguing example of cultural preservation in modern-day South Africa.
With limited government funding for the preservation of cultural heritage, it falls upon individuals and organisations with a passion for preserving historical sites and artefacts to take up the mantle.
Any financial contributions or donations of Smuts-related memorabilia would be greatly appreciated.
Experience the enchanting Ouma Isie’s Tea Garden, located on the historic farm of General Jan Smuts and his wife. Our delectable cuisine is prepared fresh in the kitchen, and we welcome your furry friend to join you for a walk in our dog-friendly garden. With plenty of space for children to run and play, Ouma Isie’s Tea Garden is the perfect family outing.
Established in 1976, Ouma Isie’s Tea Garden was created to generate revenue for the upkeep of the Smuts House Museum. The tea garden is named in honor of General Jan Smuts’ remarkable wife, Isie Krige Smuts, also known as Ouma.
Visit our Facebook page for more information: https://web.facebook.com/oumaisies
Located at the Smuts House Museum in Irene, we serve breakfasts and lunches and provide a covered area in case of rain. Delicious pre-ordered picnic hampers are also available for your convenience.
For bookings and picnic hamper orders, please contact us at Tel: 076 716 6845 or email: th****@ou******.za. Ouma Isie’s Tea Garden provides an ideal outdoor setting to refresh your body and soul while maintaining proper social distancing. Our restaurant offers a wide range of menu items and caters to various events, including functions, children’s parties, kitchen teas, weddings, conferences, year-end functions, and other special occasions. Or simply indulge in our homemade soulful cuisine.
Tranquility and harmony with nature are at the forefront of the Arboretum project, located near the Place of Quiet and undertaken by the Friends of the General Smuts Foundation.
The initiative involves the planting of various native trees and shrubs with the aim of attracting birds and butterflies to the area.
Smuts had initially planted non-indigenous trees such as blue gums and pine trees to support local mining operations and supplement his income.
Additionally, Ouma Smuts had planted Australian wattles for their striking yellow flowers. However, these exotic trees, now considered invasive, are gradually being removed and replaced with native trees.
Over time, the natural grasslands have recovered and are now home to a stunning display of wildflowers in the spring, making it a delightful walk.
Indulge in tranquility and solitude at Doornkloof
Revel in the serenity of Doornkloof by spending time in the Place of Quiet, constructed in honour of Guy Braithwaite, an ex-serviceman who prevented the Big House from being converted into a sanatorium and established what is presently known as the General Smuts Foundation.
The Place of Quiet doubles up as a wedding chapel, and we welcome bookings. Kindly get in touch with us to make arrangements.
Introducing the Oubaas Trail – A picturesque 2.3km walk by the General Smuts Foundation
Take a stroll along the Oubaas Trail, a 2.3km path that meanders through one of Gauteng’s last unspoiled dolomitic grasslands, designed and laid out by the Friends of the General Smuts Foundation. The trail culminates at the top of Smuts Koppie, where an obelisk commemorating the Smuts family can be found.
Families, nature enthusiasts, hikers, and botanists can marvel at the diverse array of plant life present on Smuts Koppie while catching glimpses of the numerous small animals, including hares and antelopes, that inhabit the area. The critically endangered fruit chafer beetle, Ichnestoma stobbiai, makes its home on Smuts Koppie, with the female being flightless and the males only active for a brief period following the spring rains.
Don’t miss the chance to observe the splendid coppery-colored exterior of this beetle, measuring around 1cm in length, during the mating season.
Smuts Caravan Park offers the caravanner, camper and nature lover a unique venue in quiet country surroundings but still within easy access to shops and sports facilities.
There are 24 stands available with SABS certified and European adaptor electrical plugs. Most sites are set under shady trees in pleasant and ablution facilities are within easy reach. One small dog per caravan is welcome but must be kept under strict control.
For tarriffs and further details please contact Adri Geldenhuis, Cell: +27(0)82 837 8453
Jan Smuts Ave, off Nellmapius Drive