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Golf on Safari

Want get in a few rounds while on safari? Here's a list of some great golf courses in East and Southern Africa that can be easily built into a safari.

South Africa

For a serious golfer on safari, South Africa is your best bet for a world class course. There are more than 800 golf courses across 50 countries in Africa but 450 of those are in South Africa. Some of the best include:

Gary Player Golf Course - Sun City, South Africa

One of two courses designed by Player at Sun City, the Gary Player Country Club (GPCC) course is the better of the two. According to CNN this course is "definitely worth playing, with Augusta-fast putting surfaces, frequent elevation changes, five water hazards and plenty of large and small bunkers to test every part of your game." It's staged the Nedbank Golf Challenge every December for the last 32 years since its inception in 1981. This 12-golfer invitational event has featured Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Lee Westwood, Jack Nicklaus, Player himself, and Seve Ballesteros. The pros play the course from 8,000 yards, par 72, but the rest of us can play from a variety of other tees at between 5,881-6535 yards.

Gary Player

Fancourt Links - Western Cape, South Africa

Golf Digest voted Fancourt Links the best course in South Africa in 2013. Measuring 6,919 yards, par 72 from the club tees, the Links course can be stretched to 7,535 from the back tees to accommodate the world's best players. The course has hosted the 2003 Presidents Cup (which ended in an historic tie between Tiger Woods and Ernie Els), the 2005 Women's World Cup of Golf, the 2006 South African Open and 2012 Volvo Golf Champions tournament on the European Tour. You can only play the Links course if you're staying at the Fancourt Hotel or the Manor House. There are two other courses (Montagu and the Outeniqua) within the same resort which are also excellent and made the top 20 in the "Golf Digest" list of the best courses in South Africa.

Legend Golf and Safari Resort - Polokwane (Pietersburg), South Africa

At Legend you can combine golf and game-viewing on a 22,000 hectare safari conservancy. Legend is also home to the Extreme 19th, a bucket-list must for any golf enthusiast. Accessible only by helicopter, with the tee set up on the majestic Hanglip Mountain and played to a green the shape of Africa some 1300 feet below! In a shoot-out with French star Raphael Jacquelin, 2008 Open Champion Padraig Harrington famously became the first person to make a Par 3. Since then, Legend has made a name for itself as one of the most incredible golfing experience out there.

Extreme 19th hole

Zimbabwe

Leopard Rock Golf Resort - Mutare, Zimbabwe

One of 30 courses in Zimbabwe, this 1993 Peter Matkovich design is regularly voted number one in the country by Golf Digest. Measuring 6,724 yards, par 72 Leopard Rock is located in lush subtropical surroundings about 180 miles southeast of the Zimbabwean capital of Harare and has superb bent grass USGA-standard greens. The course has been carved out of dense woodland in the shadow of the Leopard Rock mountain, though many of the trees still line the fairways. As befits a course lying in the foothills there are some serious elevation changes on many holes.

Namibia

Windhoek Golf & Country Club - Windhoek, Namibia

Namibia may not come first to mind for golf in Africa, but this southern African nation has 15 courses and Golf Digest recently voted the 18 holes at Windhoek Golf & Country Club the best of them. Laid out on 72 hectares of natural Namibian bush on the outskirts of the capital city, Windhoek measures 6,675 yards, par 71 with lush winding fairways that wind their way through the trees.

Tanzania

Kili Villa Golf Course - Arusha, Tanzania

The Kili Villa Golf Course was listed as one of the "Top 10 Best Golf Courses of Africa" even before its offical opening. This brand new course was designed by David Jones and perfectly placed inthe foothills of both Mt Meru and Mt Kilimanjaro. With stunning views all around and wildlife roaming the neighboring Arusha National Park, this location is perfect for combining golf with a typical safari itinerary. Not to mention, the villas at Kili Villas are stunning!

Kenya

The Mugie Conservancy - Lakipia, Kenya

At the Mugie Conservancy in Laikipia guests can enjoy a round on Kenya’s most northern golf course as well as game-viewing and other activities. Designed by Kenya’s most famous golf course designer, the six holes are played from three different sets of tees, making a full round of 18: good enough to stretch players at any level. Buffalo and elephant are kept at bay with an electric fence, and a well maintained running track within the fence allows all guests the rare opportunity of walking in the bush in complete safety. Tee boxes are covered with astroturf and the fairways are well manicured but not irrigated, so ‘winter’ tees are allowed all year long. A replica of Mount Kenya is deemed a water hazard in the middle of the 1st/7th/13th fairway, and a similar feature of Mount Kilimanjaro stands in the middle of the 5th/11th/17th fairway. The crater is, naturally, a sand bunker (as if it wasn’t hard enough already). Men’s and ladies’ golf clubs and balls, as well as caddies, are provided. Travelers interested in playing golf in Mugie can stay at Mutamaiyu House or Ekorian Mugie where you can participate in game-drives and community visits in addition to a few rounds!

Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf Resort - Naivasha, Kenya

Just an hour an a half from Nairobi, this lodge is famous for one of the longest holes in Kenya – the 17th ‘signature’ at 654 yards! The lodge itself is built on the Eburru, a mountain that the Maasai call Ol Donyo Opurru, meaning mountain of smoke. The lodge sits at about 7,000 feet and offers magnificent views to the west and east. The vistas stretch from the sparkling waters of Lake Naivasha to the jagged volcanic crater of Mount Longonot and the sloping shoulders of the Aberdare Mountains – Kenya’s most important watershed. From the lodge you can explore the national parks at Lakes Naivasha and Nakuru.

Baobab Golf Course - Kenyan Coast, Kenya

The Baobab Golf Course at Vipingo Ridge is one of Kenya's newest golf courses. It exercises the most cutting edge green keeping equipment, utilizes a computerized irrigation system, and has Bermuda grass to promise excellent conditions. This 18-hole par 72 course was designed by David Jones and includes lakes and winding streams throughout the course and offers incredible views of the Indian Ocean. Vipingo Ridge offers luxury villa accommodation and a plethora of on-site and nearby activities, making it fun for the whole group. This challenging and fun golfing experience is perfectly combined with the the beach and safari.

Nairobi Country Clubs

There are several country clubs in and around Nairobi including the Karen Country Club, Muthaiga Country Club and the Nairobi Country Club that have golf courses. For all of these you would need to be accompanied by a member but if you had your heart set on visiting one, we could work something out!

Seychelles

Lemuria Golf Course - Praslin Island, Seychelles

The 5,827-yard, par-70 course at the Lemuria Resort on Praslin Island in the Seychelles is the only 18-hole course in this Indian Ocean archipelago. Designed by Rodney Wright and Marc Farry, and opened in 2000, the first 12 holes play through narrow palm-lined fairways beside the resort itself with plenty of water and sand waiting for wayward shots. The remaining six holes rise up into the island's hills providing panoramic views across the course, the island, and other islands in the distance, while the fairways get narrower and the challenge harder.

LRP-04-06

Other world class golf courses in other countries in Africa (Source: CNN)

  • The Cascades at Soma Bay - Hurghada, Egypt
  • Heritage Golf Club - Bel Ombre, Mauritius
  • Le Touessrok - Ile Aux Cerfs - Mauritius
  • Mazagan Golf Club - El Jadida, Morocco
  • Flamingo Golf Course - Monastir, Tunisia

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Elizabeth Gordon