Did you know?
Divots on the greens are often caused by warthogs or giraffes.
Do you love golf? Do you enjoy being around wildlife? If you’ve mentally ticked yes to both, why not go on a golfing safari around South Africa?
There are a number of golf courses that are either right next to game reserves or national parks (the Hans Merensky Hotel and Spa in Phalaborwa springs to mind) or even courses that are actually on the inside, like the 9-hole course at Skukuza in the Kruger National Park.
Others are close to game reserves or are just naturally rich in game, like the Lost City golf course near Pilanesberg Game Reserve, or Leopard Creek near Nelspruit.
A brand new, spectacular golf course called Legends has been opened within the Entabeni Conservancy near the Waterberg, about 4 hours' drive north of Johannesburg. It has a 19th hole that is played from a mountain onto a green far below, shaped like Africa. There's no shortage of wild animals there either.
A general rule of thumb is that, in addition to your golfing gear, do pack a camera. Your friends back home will never believe you otherwise.
At Hans Merensky, for example, it’s par for the course to see impala or zebra grazing the fairways, giraffes nibbling the trees, warthogs rooting about in the rough, and most eye-widening of all, crocodiles and hippos in the water hazards.
Suffice it to say that a lost ball mostly stays lost. Just take that penalty and move on.
It’s not often that you’ll find dangerous predators like lions, but it has happened in the past, so be alert.
With all this wildlife about, there are also plenty of birds, so do take your binoculars and bird book if you’re a twitcher.
And just remember, if there’s an elephant in front of the pin, don’t even think of playing through.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Hans Merensky Hotel & Spa
Tel: +27 (0) 15 781 3931/2
Leopard Creek Country Club
Tel: +27 (0) 791 2000
Skukuza Camp, Kruger National Park
Tel: +27 (0) 13 735 4152/4383
Legend Golf and Safari Resort
Tel: +27 (0) 14 743 6278
Lost City Golf Course
Tel: +27 (0) 14 557 1245/6