Epic golf courses, beautiful weather, and the opportunity to encounter some awesome beasts along the way. What’s not to love about a golf trip to South Africa? No trip to the Rainbow Nation would be complete without a once-in-a-lifetime safari and with many of South Africa's world-class courses located within close proximity to the country's beautiful wildlife, there's no reason why you can't golf and spot the 'Big Five' in one unforgettable trip.
Nowhere encapsulates the awe-inspiring drama of South Africa’s landscape quite like the world-famous Garden Route, the 300-kilometre stretch of south-eastern coastline which is home to many of the nation’s finest golf courses. A more intimate and exclusive experience than South Africa's most popular safari destinations, the Garden Route and Eastern Cape are establishing a reputation for its quality ‘Big Five’ game-viewing in a malaria free environment.
The Garden Route is home to many of the best golf courses in South Africa. Nowhere more so than at Fancourt, a luxury leisure resort that boasts no fewer than three immaculately maintained Gary Player designs, including the majestic Links course, named by Golf Digest as the best course in South Africa. Framed by the Outeniqua Mountains and characterised by the mighty dunes that encircle each hole, the Links is nothing short of a masterpiece and complemented by two other world-class layouts in the form of the Montagu and Outeniqua courses, guarantee that Fancourt is revered world-over as a bucket-list golf destination.
The breath-taking layout at Pinnacle Point, Simola, Humewood and Pezula, all of which are ranked among the top golf courses in South Africa, can also be found along this exceptional stretch of coastline, which takes in indigenous forest, breathtaking coastal vistas and picturesque lagoons.
The Garden Route is an incredible self-drive destination with scenic stops throughout, good roads – traditional highways and off the beaten track routes – beautiful scenery and a relaxed ease. This is a destination that can be tailored to your time and your interests. There is rugged coastline, forests, fresh water lakes, gorges and rivers, the Indian Ocean and long beautiful sandy beaches. Set amid this beautiful scenery are a wide variety of accommodation options.
Offering the closest ‘real safari’ experience to Cape Town and located in malaria-free areas, the Garden Route safari lodges are popular with locals and foreigners alike — an ideal combination of beach, golf and bush. For something a little more luxurious, Fancourt, Pezula and Simola all boast 5* accommodation offerings complete with world-class golf courses on-site.
While the Kruger is South Africa's most famous national park, the Eastern Cape is also home to some fabulous game experiences, many of which are on par with that which can be found further North. While different to that which can be found in Kruger National Park, the variety of wildlife on offer and the beauty of the landscape is truly remarkable. One of the many perks of visiting the reserves in the Eastern Cape is that they are Malaria-free. Meanwhile, relatively close to each other and just a few hours drive from Port Elizabeth, self-drive is a viable and popular option.
While many of the reserves, such as Kwandwe, Shamwari Game Reserve and Addo Elephant National Park, are situated close to Port Elizabeth at the Eastern end of the Garden Route, others such as Botlierskop Private Game Reserve, Gondwana Game Reserve, Ulubisi House are closer to Cape Town at the Western end of the Garden Route.
Sun City is an experience like no other. Headlined by one of the most extraordinary hotels in the world, the Aztec-styled Palace of the Lost City, Sun City is one of South Africa’s premier golf destinations. From the lavish opulence of The Palace of the Lost City to the casual elegance of the Cascades, the glamour of the annual Nedbank Golf Challenge to the tropical thrills of the Valley of Waves, Sun City delivers plenty to see and do in a beautiful malaria-free landscape.
Draw yourself away from the glitz and glamour at Sun City, and you will discover two unforgettable championship courses. Running adjacent to the Pilanesberg National Park, Lost City is worth a round just to encounter one of the most fearsome hazards in golf. Lying in wait in front of the par-3 13th green is a huge crater home to a float of Nile Crocodiles.
Lost City may have the shock factor but it is the exceptional Gary Player Country Club that steals much of the limelight. Home of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, the formidable layout is one of the longest courses in the world. Built in an extinct volcanic crater and carving its way through the heart of the bush, it is also among the best courses in the Southern hemisphere and a must play on a trip to South Africa.
Sun City comprises four hotels, the Cascades, Cabanas, Soho Hotel and the world-famous Palace of the Lost City. The latter, inspired by the myth of an African lost city, is guaranteed to make you feel like royalty with its opulent design and 5* service. Everything at the complex is built on a grandiose scale, from the magnificent frescoes and mosaics to the Grand Pool, the genteel relaxtion spot which offers the perfect contrast to the fun and thrills of the Valley of the Waves. The setting is equally enchanting, encircled by lush botanical gardens and tumbling waterfalls. Meanwhile, the 5* Cascades Hotel is set just a stone's throw from the lush greens of the Gary Player Country Club, and with its own private beach and plethora of facilities is the ideal place to put your feet up and relax after a day on the course or at Pilanesberg National Park.
Running adjacent to The Pilanesberg National Park, the resort is perfectly positioned to spot a huge variety of wildlife, including elephants, lions, leopards and rhinos. Virtually all of the animal species native to southern Africa can be found here, including the Big 5, wild dog, tsessebe, Sable antelope and more than 360 species of bird. The relatively small size of the park, and its unusual ecological richness, dramatically increase your chance of encountering the Big 5 in their natural environment. The malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve is also close to Sun City and home to the Big Five, Wild Dogs and over 60 other mammal species is sure to serve up an unforgettable adventure.
The adventure of a lifetime awaits at Legend Golf & Safari Resort, the outstanding 5* resort located in the Big Five Entabeni Safari Conservancy. Featuring the longest course in Africa, the resort epitomises the drama and beauty of the South African landscape, and herds of giraffe, zebra and antelope can frequently be spotted roaming the 50,000-acre estate.
You don’t need to travel far to experience South Africa’s amazing wildlife at this outstanding test. The 8500-yard layout at Legend Golf & Safari Resort carves its way through a 50,000-acre estate, giving ample room for the wildlife, including zebras and giraffes, to roam freely.
A different golfing legend was behind the design of each hole on the course, with local stars Trevor Immelman and Retief Goosen among those who had a hand in the unique project. Once you've negotiated the course (and its wildlife), why not head on over to the 19th? A helicopter escorts guests to the 430-yard hole, with golfers hitting down a 1,400-foot drop towards a green contoured in the shape of the African continent.
Situated in the heart of the malaria-free Entabeni Safari Conservancy, Legend Golf & Safari offers several accommodation options, ranging from the 5* boutique hotel to more intimate lodges. A three hour's drive from Johannesburg, Legend Golf & Safari Resort is one of South Africa’s most talked about luxury destinations and will inspire all those who visit with its picture-perfect scenery and 5* service. From a Hot Air Balloon Safari and Water Sports at Doorndraai Dam to an exhilarating helicopter flight complete with a romantic meal overlooking the Waterberg, Legend Golf & Safari Resort is like nothing you've ever experienced.
From the resort, visitors can embark on game drives and guided bush walks into the Big 5 Entabeni Safari Conservancy. The wildlife experience is impressive with more than 55 mammal species (including the Big 5, consisting of lion, buffalo, elephant, leopard and rhino), 300 plants species and 380 bird species….not to mention the wide variety of insects, reptiles and amphibians all co-existing in five spectacular diverse eco-systems including grasslands, bushveld, mountains and river beds. The Predator Walks are undertaken by qualified rangers, whilst non-predator walks take place at the resort. There are also Botany Walks within the Botanical Gardens and even helicopter rides which afford a bird’s eye view of their 22 000-ha nature reserve.
South Africa’s beautiful landscape and varied topography make it an enchanting place to travel by rail. Luckily the country is home to two of the world’s most luxurious train journeys, the Rovos Rail and Blue Train, both of which offer the discerning traveller the opportunity to savour South Africa’s extraordinary offering from a glorious bygone era of train travel.
Travelling aboard restored Edwardian coaches, the Rovos Rail journeys between Pretoria and Sun City, taking in championship golf courses, game viewing at Hluhluwe National Park and even a visit to one of the world's most intriguing and beautiful kingdoms, Swaziland. We can incorporate a range of different courses on your travels, with the various 8, 9 & 10-night packages offering you a tailor-made service with endless possibilities. Read more...
Meanwhile, the award-winning Blue Train Golf Safari is the ultimate in luxury rail adventure. One of South Africa's most iconic train journeys, discover the beauty of the Western and Eastern Capes. Travel through Port Elizabeth, Shamwari, Mossel Bay and Paarl, while taking in South Africa’s finest golf courses and a thrilling safari at Shamwari Game Reserve. Embarking at Cape Town, the 5* experience works it way across the country taking in mountain, beaches and the chance to spot South Africa's extraordinary wildlife. Read more...
At the very end of the African continent, where the pristine Southern Cape meets the Indian Ocean, you will find this outstanding golf resort. Perched on the clifftop enjoying spectacular views over the Knysna Lagoon and the ocean beyond, golfers will discover one of the most beautiful golf courses in South Africa. Set amid ancient indigenous forests, mountains, lakes and beaches, the Conrad Pezula is a great option to combine with a safari at Shamwari. One of the most successful and luxurious safari options, the modest reserve is smaller than those further north, making it is easier for rangers to spot key species. A leader in conservation, the private game reserve is home to the ‘big five’, as well as the more elusive black rhino and cheetahs.
When to go:
South Africa is a big country shaped by two oceans, and encompassing golden beaches, semi-arid coastlines, deserts and expansive savannahs. As a result, the best time to visit will vary substantially depending on whether you head into Cape Town (November to March) or to Durban on the subtropical East Coast (April to October).
If you’re looking to take in bush, beach and wine, two weeks should be enough, although we recommend three if you want to make sure you take in all the sights.
How to get there:
Most visitors will either fly into South Africa’s two major airports, Cape Town or Johannesburg. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic offer direct flights from London to both destinations, although indirect flights are often substantially cheaper. Emirates, KLM and Qatar are all routes to both cities.