For some people, a trip exploring the great outdoors would not be complete without a round of golf.
There are a variety of excellent courses, reflecting the nation’s obsession with all things sporting. The pinnacle of these is in well-known Leopard Creek where tee-off times are hard to get and are exclusive to a number of our lodges.
Leopard Creek is an international class golf course, hosting the PGA Sunshine Tour Championship. It is an 18 hole par 72 course of 6,665m, with a signature finish on an island green at the 18th. The half way hole is a peninsula on the river. On the banks of the Crocodile river opposite and unfenced with the Kruger, those two holes may afford you a particularly close view of the resident game.
GARY PLAYER DESIGN
The course was designed by Gary Player, and sculpted into the landscape to make the most of the stunning river views over the park. He remains a partner in the enterprise. Highly ranked in South Africa, and with a long waiting list for membership, the course’s exclusivity is reflected in its green fee.
SKUKUZA GOLF COURSE
One of Kruger’s best-kept secrets, Skukuza golf course was built for senior park staff, but has extended its membership to the public. It is a magnificent 9-hole (18-tee) course inside the park, convenient for lodges in Sabi Sand south as well as the nearest government restcamps.
The course is a varied 5,950m par 72. The second has water to the left and behind the green, whilst the signature ninth is played across Lake Panic. There are no sand bunkers, but ‘aerial bunkers’ abound because of the many trees found on the course.
As the course is not fenced, animal spectators are common, including hippo, impala, warthog and baboons. A siren is sounded to clear the fairways when leopard and lion are on the course. The Clubhouse makes a very pleasant nineteenth hole venue for breakfast or drinks after lunch.
VERDANT BUSH LOCATION
Stunningly located and equipped as the former mine managers retreat, Hans Merensky Country Club offers 18 holes with a par of 72. It is of Championship standard and was designed by Bob Grimsdell. It encompasses a vast area of indigenous bush interspersed with tranquil pools and velvet greens.
BIG FIVE BORDERS
The Kruger stretches along the eastern boundary inviting elephant, lion, giraffe and a wide variety of antelope on to the course. Crocodile and hippo add spice to the normal “hazards” of a good game of golf. You can stay here overnight in a well equipped club, which has its own private Big Five reserve next door.