Hans Merensky golf course
The Hans Merensky Golf Course adjacent to the Kruger National Park in Phalaborwa, promises the ultimate African golfing experience, where golfers share the fairways with giraffe, zebra, impala and monkeys, while viewing bigger game behind the park fence.
During a round of 18, you are likely to encounter hippo and crocodiles at various watering holes, while majestic, yet inquisitive giraffe nonchalantly observe your swing from their unique vantage points.
This course was designed by the renowned Robert Grimsdell. It is largely novice-friendly, with generous fairways. Even if your drive is a little wayward, finding your ball in the rough is fairly easy. One exception is the par-5 16th, where a hooked drive will land in the game park.
The fairway grass is cynodon, while the greens are an indigenous offshoot known as Bayview grass. Due to all the wildlife traffic, the course greens have been hardened, which is something to bear in mind when deciding where to land your chip shots. The greens however offer a comfortable, medium pace and putting is as relaxed.
Hole-in-one hunters can try their luck on the two par-3 holes, which are the 8th and 17th tees. You will however have to overcome water hazards on both of these holes.
You can tee off as early as 7am to experience the awakening of the surrounding wilderness as you play. Friendly caddies with expert local knowledge are on hand.
Phalaborwa, best known as a mining town, is a fair drive from major infrastructure and an ideal place to experience the wilder side of South Africa, which is exactly why golfers and holidaymakers make the effort to travel out there.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Hans Merensky Golf Course
Tel: +27 (0)15 7813931
How to get here
The course is a six-hour drive from O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. You can hire a car at the airport and head north on the N1. Other closer airports are Polokwane (three hours by car) and Nelspruit (also three hours).
Around the area
The famous Kruger National Park borders the golf course.
What will it cost
A round of 18 holes for non-members costs around R350. Cart hire is around R180 for 18 holes.
Where to stay
You can stay at the four-star Hans Merensky Hotel and Spar.