Great golfing holiday combinations
Golf and safari in the north
Combining a golfing trip in South Africa with a safari is an obvious choice for many visitors to the country.
There are a number of courses in the vicinity of South Africa’s prime safari territory, the Greater Kruger National Park. Guests staying in the park, or the neighbouring Sabi Sands, Manyeleti or Timbavati; have quite a choice if they want to tag golf on to their itineraries.
Golfing tour specialist, Ken Creighton of KDA Travel and Tours, favours the Hans Merensky Hotel and Spa, Leopard Creek Country Club as well as Sabi River Sun, all of which border on or are within close range of the KNP.
The Waterberg, another wildlife sanctuary, also has some good courses in its surrounds, he says. The Elements Private Golf Reserve is on a residential estate that has numerous antelope species; and Legend Golf & Safari Resort offers game drives as well as bush walks. Nearby, Zebula Golf Estate and Spa in the vicinity of Bela-Bela, bills itself ‘Africa’s premier bush, golf and spa destination’.
Suzanne Benadie, Sales Director at Tourvest DMC, says the golf and safari mix is popular. “For the upcoming contracting season, we have two key accounts in the German and Swiss markets featuring golf in addition to the mainstream product. We are confident of increased market share due to this more specialised segment being offered. We have carefully selected golf estates and courses in Cape Town, the Garden Route, and Johannesburg, and these are packaged along with safari options.”
Golf and wine in the Cape Overberg
Arabella Golf Course is close to Benguela Cove Lagoon and Wine Estate.
The 18-hole Championship Arabella Golf Course on the Botriver Lagoon at the Arabella Western Cape Hotel & Spa, is one that many visitors to South Africa are eager to play on.
The course is in the Overberg, east of Cape Town, and one can reach it by road in an hour and 15 minutes. It is consistently ranked among the country’s top courses.
From the seaside town of Hermanus, Hermanus Wine Hoppers operates a hop-on, hop-off wine tour visiting the boutique wineries of the picturesque Hemel & Aarde Valley. Vehicles depart the town every half hour between 09h00 and 12h00 (09h40 and 12h30 on weekends), travel the 20-minute drive into the valley, and drop visitors off at various spots, leaving them to discover this part of the world at their own pace.
Also close to Arabella is Benguela Cove Lagoon and Wine Estate, which, as well as vineyard tours, conducts a ‘nose to wine’ educational experience. It’s a fun approach to wine tasting that introduces guests to a series of key wine aromas, leaving them swirling like connoisseurs in no time. Wine tasting is also held aboard the Lady Bonnie pontoon, which offers hour-long cruises on the lagoon for up to 12 passengers at a time.
Golf and hiking in the mountain air
The Drakensberg offers a range of 9- and 18-hole golf courses.
For a combination of golf and hiking, the natural choice is the section of the Drakensberg that runs through KwaZulu Natal.
In north, central as well as southern Drakensberg there are good nine- and 18-hole courses, such as Champagne Sports Resort, Gooderson Monk’s Cowl Golf Resort, Hlalanathi Drakensberg Resort, the Amphitheatre Golf Course in Bergville, Gooderson Drakensberg Gardens Golf & Spa Resort and Cathedral Peak Hotel.
Hiking in these impressive heights is equally as good, from gentle walks to steep rock climbs. Drakensberg hikes lead to waterfalls, peaks and other geographical landmarks, and to San paintings and engravings and the caves in which these early inhabitants lived.
Drakensberg resorts are, in fact, strong on a whole range of outdoor activities, such a horse riding, archery, tennis, bird-spotting and fly fishing. This diversity makes the location perfect for family travel.
Golf and steam train discovery
Rovos Rail’s Golf Safari includes visits to golf courses including Leopard Creek.
South Africa’s luxury train operator, Rovos Rail, offers a nine-day golf safari that packs in five games at top courses along with sightseeing and game viewing.
The trip travels to Sun City from Pretoria, spending a day at the resort for play on the Lost City course. A game drive is also included here for non- golfers. Next stop is Champagne Sports Resort in the Drakensberg, with a guided tour of the Battlefields.
Durban Country Club, or adjacent Beachwood, is the next venue; with a Durban city tour for those giving the game a miss. Then it’s on to Zululand for game viewing at Hluhluwe before heading to Swaziland. Here, tee-off takes place at the Royal Swazi Spa. There’s also a game drive at Mkhaya Game Reserve and a visit to Ngwenya Glass and the Guava Gallery.
The final round is at Leopard Creek Country Club, while non-golfers head into the Kruger National Park. The trip then returns to Pretoria.
The train also offers a nine-day African Golf Collage, travelling from Pretoria to Cape Town. After a game drive or golf in the Kruger Park, the train travels to Zululand for game viewing at Hluhluwe. Durban is the next stop for golf or a tour of the city and Ardmore Ceramics. Bloemfontein follows with some touring in the Free State capital, after which the train travels overnight along the Drakensberg to Port Elizabeth. A golf game is an inclusion here, or a trip to the Addo Elephant National Park.
Oudtshoorn and a visit to an ostrich farm are next. Then an impressive descent to George for another round of golf. After more golf in Knysna, the train crosses the Garden Route to the Cape winelands where one makes a visit to a brandy distillery. The journey ends in Cape Town and the itinerary can also be done in reverse.
Rovos Rail does, on occasion; need to reroute trains due to line repairs and other factors, and sometimes uses alternative golf courses.