Centurion is situated in the Gauteng province of South Africa between Pretoria and Midrand. Centurion was previously known as Verwoerdburg and Lyttleton. The center of Centurion is located at the intersection of the N1 and N14 freeways, with the R21 also passes through the city. Centurion has easy access to major roadways linking to Johannesburg, Midrand, Krugersdorp, Pretoria and Oliver Thambo International airport. Two of South Africa’s air force bases, Waterkloof Air Force Base and Swarrtkop Air Force Base, are located in Centurion.
The earliest evidence of modern habitation in the Centurion area dates back to 1200 AD when African communities settled in this area. The Matabele people settled here from 1825 to 1826 after defeating the Bakwena tribe under the leadership of Mzilikazi. The Erasmus family settled in the area in 1841. The battle for Rooihuiskraal during the First Boer War, took place in 1881 in this area. It was also here that the Irene Concentration Camp was established on the farm Doornkloof during the Second Boer War.
Centurion developed from the initial Lyttelton Township that was marked out on the farm Droogegrond in 1904. It was granted City Council status as Lyttelton in 1962 when it was formed by combining the areas of Doornkloof, Irene and Lyttelton. In 1967, Lyttleton was renamed Verwoerdburg and the surrounding suburbs become known as suburbs of Verwoerdburg. After the end of apartheid, the name Centurion was chosen by residents in 1995. Centurion became part of the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality in 2000.
Centurion has a typical Highveld climate with dry, sunny winters, and warm to hot summers with late afternoon showers often accompanied by thunder and lightning. Winter temperatures range from around 20 °C in the afternoon to an average minimum of 5 °C in the mornings. Summer temperatures range from mid-20s to the mid-30s °C. Occasional flooding of the Hennops River, that flows through the center of Centurion, can happen when heavy rainfall occurs.
Since 1994, Centurion has experienced rapid growth and many businesses have relocated here. The boost in property development in the area has meant that there is now little break between the outskirts of Pretoria in the north, an Midrand and Johannesburg to the south. Centurion features modern shopping malls such as Centurion Mall, Mall@Reds and Forest Hill City Mall. The Centurion Mall is one of the largest shopping centers in South Africa featuring over 200 stores and restaurants. Accommodation in Centurion includes several hotels as well as a variety of smaller guest houses. It is home to The Unitas hospital, the largest private hospital on the African continent. The Gautrain has a station in Centurion and several companies such as Aerosud, Accenture, Denel Dynamics, Siemens, SAAB Grintel Technologies, Telkom, GMC Aircon and others are situated in Centurion.
The following suburbs fall under Centurion: Amberfield, Bronberrick, Claudius, Clubview, Cornwall Hill, Doringkloof, Eldo Glen, Eldo Park, Eldo View, Eldo Meadows, Eldoraigne, Erasmia, Hennopspark, Heuweloord, Heuwelsig, Highveld, Irene, Kloofsig, Kosmosdal, Laudium, Lyttleton, Louwlardia, Monavoni, Olievenhoutbosch, Pierre van Ryneveld Park, Raslouw, Rooihuiskraal, Sunderland Ridge, The Reeds, Valhalla, Wierdapark and Zwartkop.