Leaving ordinary golf behind is easy when visiting South Africa, as golf has never been ordinary in this remarkable country.
A vast canvas of varying landscapes, cultures, sensational scenery with wraparound beauty have inspired numerous local and international golf course designers to weave a quilt of memorable layouts throughout the land.
The country now boasts over 400 golf courses, many having hosted word class golfing events and it must be mentioned that two South African courses are now listed in the top 100 in the world! The region has been split into four distinct golfing regions namely the Cape, the Garden Route, Gateway Johannesburg with Limpopo and Kwazulu-Natal.
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South African also has an ideal climate for spending time on fairways under a dazzling African sun and the selection of choices adds spice to the challenges available. Coastal courses, mountain locations, wine lands, valleys and rivers, high altitude and the courses bordering the wildlife game parks all create a kaleidoscope of wonder for any visiting golfer.
Among these environments golf has blossomed continuously since Henry D’Oyley Torrens, commanding the British forces based in Cape Town, first introduced golf to the southern tip of Africain 1885. As a sporting nation, South Africans took to the game with remarkable enthusiasm and golf courses sprouted apace. It is a testament to how quickly the game grew when noting just how many golf clubs have celebrated their centenary in the past two decades.
Without doubt, however, an additional ingredient to leaving ordinary golf behind came in 1994 with the advent of democracy and the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela. International travelers were suddenly pleased to visit South Africa following the demise of apartheid. In the arena of golf, legendary golf course designers found our ‘world in one country’ an attractive lure for their talents. Jack Nicklaus, Tom Weiskopf, Robert Trent Jones have all subsequently left a legacy to complement the highly regarded local designs of our own legends such as Gary Player and Ernie Els.
Today’s South African golfing landscape is blessed with a mix of the traditional historical tree-lined wonders of the past and the modern glorious designs, many of which are at the heart of real estate or resort developments.
Wherever the visitor travels, the impact of South Africa’s scenic wonder will be foremost on the eye. Much has been done in recent years to protect and care for these environments, both on course and off course, and all those involved in promoting this extraordinary golfing destination look forward to fulfilling the promise that on course we are great and off course we are the best!
Why South Africa – The Cape – extraordinary Choices
Golf in the Cape began in 1885 and soon spread into the wine lands, on to the west coast, into the farming regions and by the ocean locations so readily available on the southern tip of Africa. Many of the courses are in the shadow of Table Mountain, while others have vineyard, river, lagoon, lake and mountain locations. The resulting big picture of golf in the Capeis that of extraordinary scenic surrounds.
A visiting international golfing journalist aptly described this as a ‘a picture perfect golfing experience’ and added ‘While on- course you’re great – off-course you’re the best!’
Indeed, off course, the choices abound. Table Mountain overlooks a vibrant cosmopolitan city, voted by Trip Advisor in 2011, as the World’s Best Destination. Pristine beaches, cellar door experiences in the wine lands, shopping and dining in the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront development, a leisurely picnic in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens (voted as the world’s best picnic venue in 2011 by National Geographic), travelling via Chapman’s Peak Drive around the Cape Peninsula, a visit to Robben Island to grasp the content of our chequered history and a trip to Hermanus to watch the whales, supplemented by a sundowner overlooking Camps Bay – and golf in-between! How many reasons do you need why South Africa is a perfect holiday destination.
Why South Africa – Garden Route & the Eastern Cape – South Africa’s Golfing Eden
The Garden Route, voted the golf destination of the year for Africa and the Middle East, portrays the popularity of an area blessed with award-winning golf venues, and remarkable choices for relaxation pre- or post-time on the fairways.
Ocean views abound, while beach and river locations are complemented with indigenous forests and sparkling lagoons and lakes. The golfing journey nowadays extends along the coast to the Eastern Cape up to the Friendly City of Port Elizabeth. Added to these wonderful locations is the abundance of malaria-free game parks offering the Big Five experience?
Known as the golfing Garden of Eden, here the Ernie Els design in Oubaai, the three courses at Fancourt, with its number one rated Links and the Simola and Pezula courses, both set high above the Knysna Lagoon, create the aura of a golfing heaven. Further along the route to the Eastern Cape, St Francis Links and Fish River Sun both provide an advisable stop before heading to the famous links layout at Humewood in Port Elizabeth. A worthwhile detour from the coastal road is to Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of South Africa and famous for the Cango Caves. How many reasons do you need why South Africa is a perfect holiday destination.
Why South Africa – Gateway Gauteng – Golf on the Wild Side
Gauteng is the economic hub of South Africa, with Johannesburg, its vibrant capital, known as the City of Gold. This is where a melting pot of fashion, culture and business fuse into a compelling, pulsating energy creating what has been termed an ‘Afropolitan’ society.
This area could also be called the gateway to golf, as in its broader area it has over seventy golf courses, many of them at the top of the ladder of our golfing gems. Classic tree-lined fairways are the benchmark layouts, brilliantly portrayed on the Glendower Golf Course, one ofSouth Africa’s best and most challenging venues.
Gautengis also the gateway to the wonders of the bush and game experiences, which lie further to the north and east. Golf and game are to be enjoyed at the legendary Sun City Resort and in the Limpopo, where four excellent golfing estates – Legend Golf & Safari Resort, Zebula Golf Estate & Spa, Elements Private Golf Reserve and Euphoria Golf Estate & Hydro have partnered to present their golf and game offerings. Mention should be made of Legend’s Extreme 19th hole, the highest and longest par 3 in the world, accessible only by helicopter!
On the southern border of the Kruger National Park, which remains the flagship destination of the area, lies the remarkable Leopard Creek Golf Course. After a round here, many private game lodges will offer the luxury of ending the day in a boma, dining under a never to be forgotten African sky. How many reasons do you need why South Africa is a perfect holiday destination.
Why South Africa – Kwazulu-Natal & the Wild Coast – Golf under the African Sun
KwaZulu-Nataland the Wild Coast offer spectacular sweeping beaches bordering the warm Indian Ocean, mountain splendour in the Drakensberg and the captivating culture and history of the powerful Zulu nation. The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, South Africa’s first Natural World Heritage Site, provides an astonishing habitat for fish, mammals and bird life.
Among the many golfing wonders is the Durban Country Club, regarded as one of South Africa’s best traditional and classic golf courses. Situated on the border of the holiday atmosphere of Durban, this venue has hosted the South African Open Championship on seventeen occasions.
To the north and south of Durban, golf is offered in lush coastal subtropical environments, with vast sugar cane plantations bordering many of the courses. The Wild Coast Golf Course, set on rugged cliffs overlooking magnificent beaches and ocean under an African sun, truly captures the essence of golf in this part of the country.
Inland, the Drakensberg Mountains are spectacular and the opportunity to savour the history of dramatic battles and the culture of the remarkable Zulu nation can be enjoyed in conjunction with breathtaking vistas. Another off-course prospect is a visit to one of several Big Five game reserves. How many reasons do you need why South Africa is a perfect holiday destination.
10 Interesting facts about Why South Africa is a great place to visit
• The Tugela Fallsis the second highest waterfall in the world, where the water tumbles down 850 metres.
• Four of the five fastest land animals live in Africa– the cheetah (100 kph), wildebeest, lion, and Thomson’s gazelle (all about 80 kph).
•South Africa has the oldest meteor scar in the world, just across theVaal River near Parys, called the Vredefort Dome.
•South Africa is ranked number one in the world for its floral kingdom.
• South African grasslands have 30 species per square kilometre, greater than the biodiversity of rainforests.
• The only street in the world to house two Nobel Peace prize winners is in Soweto. Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu both have houses in Vilakazi Street in Soweto.
• There are only 12 countries in the world that supply tap water that is fit to drink, and South Africais one of them. Our tap water quality is third best overall in the world.
• The Transfrontier Park set in South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe is a world first. The 38 600 square kilometre park will be bigger than the Yellowstone National Park in the US, and bigger than Switzerland, Belgium or Taiwan.
• The world’s largest diamond was the Cullinan, found in South Africa in 1905. It weighed 3,106.75 carats uncut. It was cut into the Great Star of Africa, weighing 530.2 carats.
• South Africa has 11 official languages.