Golf in Africa
Africa is well known for her incredible safari experience, diverse and spectacular scenery and multi-cultural flair. What many don’t know is that the continent is also home to 828 golf courses. Many of which are on par (we had to do it) with the likes of Europe and North America’s best courses. Golf-lovers, we think it’s safe to say we’ve caught your attention.
In fact, one-fifth of the 1.6 million golf tourists (as of 2013) choose Africa as the destination for their golfing holiday. Playing golf in Africa is a wonderful experience – the weather is beautiful, and the courses overlook spectacular views of mountains or beach. Not to mention their proximity to incredible tourist destinations – it’s difficult to resist a trip where you can play golf one morning and see the Big Five the next.
Here are our top 10 golf courses in Africa:
South Africa is home to 450 of Africa’s golf courses, and some of the world’s best golfers call it home. It’s an incredible place to play on world-class courses under sunny skies surrounded by incredible views (and occasionally wildlife).
1. Gary Player Country Club, Sun City
This iconic course, designed by Gary Player, is home to the annual Nedbank Golf Challenge. The Gary Player Country Club is on many avid golfers’ list of ‘must-play courses’. The view from every tee is spectacular. However, the course requires concentration as greens are complex and the bunkers well-placed. The par-5 9th hole and par-4 18th hole have both ranked in Golf Online’s list of golf’s 500 best holes.
2. Montagu at Fancourt, George
This is South Africa’s 8th best golf course according to Golf Digest SA. Also designed by Gary Player, the Montagu course is challenging to all levels of players with high mounds and dunes, tricky greens and each hole presenting a unique challenge.
3. Arabella Hotel and Spa, Hermanus
Situated below the scenic Kogelberg mountains, close to the world-renowned whale-watching town of Hermanus, lies Arabella Hotel and Spa. The golf course is top ranked in South Africa. Professionals such as Ernie Els and Gary Player have both played this course, designed by Peter Matkovich. The 8th hole has been called one of South Africa’s most beautiful par 5’s; and the 18th hole has been rated as one of the best finishing holes in the country.
INDIAN OCEAN ISLANDS
The Indian Ocean Islands are not short of some of beautiful and championship golf courses. Mauritius itself has seven fantastic golf courses and some of the best golf courses in Africa. The setting is enough to sell these as golf destinations – with courses surrounded by white-sand beaches, crystal blue water and palm trees.
4. Heritage Golf Club, Mauritius
Heritage Golf Club is home to a beautiful course designed by Peter Matkovich. Situated on the idyllic Mauritius, it is fringed with mango, papaya and palm trees and boasts incredible views of the Indian Ocean. Set between luscious mountains and a turquoise lagoon, this multi-award winning course is wonderful to play for all levels of handicap.
5. Belle Mare & Lemuria Golf Courses, Mauritius/Seychelles
Belle Mare, designed by Rodney Wright and Peter Allis, offers a Links and a Legend course. Lemuria Golf Course, the only one in the Seychelles, is a par-70 course designed by Rodney Wright and Marc Ferry. Despite being a relatively short course in length, it is not short of challenges. Take plenty of balls though, the record number of lost balls stands at 40! However, the spectacular scenery and panoramic views of the islands make up for the challenge it presents.
6. Le Touessrok, Ile Aux Cerfs
Le Touessrok is situated on its own island, Ile Aux Cerfs, off the coast of Mauritius. This course is only accessible by boat or helicopter and has been described as a “work of art”. All 18-holes have glimpses of the glimmering ocean; white-sand bunkers and deep blue water pay perfect complement to the variety of tropical trees and plants. It’s accessible to all levels of players and has been listed among the World’s Top 100 Golf Courses.
Famed for the incredible wildlife and spectacular Maasai Mara, some may be surprised to learn that Kenya is no short of golfing opportunities. There are approximately 40 golf courses in Kenya, many of which are world-class.
7. Muthaiga Golf Course, Nairobi
Muthaiga Golf Course is a wonderful combination of Kenya’s ancient golf tradition and a modern 18-hole championship golf course. After its redesign by Peter Matkovich, it has become one of East Africa’s most prominent and challenging courses. With undulating terrain, lush woodlands, ponds and lakes, it is a beautiful course.
Namibia, despite being defined by its dry desert and orange sand dunes, does have some green for the avid golfers.
8. Windhoek Golf & Country Club, Windhoek
On the outskirts of Namibia’s Windhoek, this par-71 course is home to lush, winding fairways, deep bunkers and beautiful trees. Golf Digest has voted the course at Windhoek Golf & Country Club as one of Namibia’s best 18-holes. It’s a wonderful course for all player-levels.
Zambia’s climate and expansive spaces lends the country to having some of Africa’s best golf courses. There are 20 beautiful courses throughout the country for amateurs and pros alike. This coupled with the Victoria Falls makes it a destination difficult to resist.
9. Lusaka Golf Club
This 18-hole, par-73 golf course beautifully blends into its surrounding Zambian bushveld. Lusaka Golf Course has its fair share of challenges with its undulating terrain, sand traps and various ponds. However, with its wide fairways, perfectly maintained greens and rows of luscious trees, the beauty and challenge of the course attracts a number of both amateur and top-class golfers annually.
Golf has been played in Zimbabwe for over 100 years. As a result, there are almost 50 golf courses throughout the country. It’s the perfect place to combine a safari with a golfing holiday.
10. Leopard Rock Golf Resort, Mutare
Another course designed by Peter Matkovich, Leopard Rock is regularly voted as the number one course in Zimbabwe by Golf Digest. The course is 72-par with USGA-standard greens. Carved out of dense woodland shadowed by Leopard Rock mountain, the course is full of elevation changes on many of its holes. The teeming bird life, wild orchids, tree ferns and other indigenous flora makes it a stunning course to play.