Monday 13 May – Thursday 30 May 2019
Two exceptional types of game – golf and African wildlife – are at the centre of our 2019 South African Golf and Safari Tour.
This journey is already shaping up to be an unforgettable, exclusive bucket-list adventure. The 18-day PaR nz Golfing Holidays hosted tour will take in eight rounds of championship golf, six nights at deluxe game reserves on safari, a classic-train journey to Cape Town, and tours of historic Robben Island and the mighty Table Mountain.
With extended stays at Kruger National Park and the privately-owned Gondwana Game Reserve, there will be plenty of opportunities for close encounters with Africa’s Big Five – lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and Cape buffalo – in their natural bush settings.
Be prepared to fall in love with the country’s people, beauty, and diversity right from the start, when we travel from the country’s biggest city, Johannesburg, to the Kruger National Game Reserve.
The safari experience is amazing. We recommend heading out with the experienced field guides and trackers both early in the mornings and late in the day to experience the extraordinary sights, sounds and smells of the ancient natural environments. The wildlife is most active at these times, and the temperatures more moderate.
Walking safaris give you a completely different perspective from the comfortable seats of a game-drive vehicle. All your senses will be on full alert as you taste the sweet grass of the veld, smell the musky scent of wild animals … and hear the tell-tale crack of a branch.
Walks generally take place after breakfast and last about two hours, depending on the fitness level of guests. During exceptionally hot weather, a walk may be incorporated into the morning game drive before everyone heads back to the lodge for breakfast.
Treated to rounds on eight highly-rated courses considered among South Africa’s best, the tour takes in four designed by South Africa’s own Gary Player and two by the acclaimed African course architect Peter Matkovich. Jack Nicklaus and Ernie Els round out the mix of top designers.
Leopard Creek is closely associated with the immense Kruger National Park and nature conservation authorities. Sightings of crocodile, hippo, antelope, buffalo and wild boar are commonplace throughout the course, along the banks of the adjacent Crocodile River, and in the neighbouring national park. Designer Gary Player had a lot of naturally beautiful forms to work with, and lakes and small streams have been diverted through this sophisticated, five-star course to enhance its beauty – and challenges. The par-five 18th, for example, presents a tricky shot over a lake to an island green.
Pearl Valley has become known for its diverse and plentiful bird life, its environmental efforts, as well as its spectacular setting beside the Berg River and beneath the Simonsberg and Drakenstein mountains. This award-winning Jack Nicklaus signature course north-east of Cape Town is widely regarded as among the top 10 in South Africa. Golf Digest magazine ranked it as fifth best in the country for 2018/19. Spotted eagle owl, African fish eagle, malachite and pied kingfisher, buzzard, kite, cormorant, coot and African duck are among the area’s avian residents.
Choosing a signature hole at the Arabella golf course in the Western Cape is an extremely difficult task. An extraordinary, well-designed Peter Matkovich parkland course on the shores of Bot River Lagoon, it has panoramic views of the Palmiet mountain range, wide kikuyu fairways, scalloped sand traps, and pristine greens. Both leading South African golf publications consistently rate it in the country’s top five, and it challenges all levels of golfers.
No golfing trip to South Africa is complete without at least one round of the so-called Fancourt Trilogy comprising the Montagu course, the Outeniqua course, and The Links at Fancourt. Gary Player’s design team spent months studying classic links courses in Scotland and Ireland before embarking on the ambitious task of recreating some of golf’s finest holes for The Links on what was once an airfield. It was voted the number one golf resort in the world at the 2018 IAGTO Golf Awards. Celebrated parkland courses Montagu and Outeniqua both have the Outeniqua Mountains as a backdrop. Downloadable, player-friendly course guides with wildlife icons are a useful and fun souvenir.
If you are looking for drama in a golf course, then Pinnacle Point might be the answer. Seven of its 18 holes play across chasms to clifftop greens perched above the Indian Ocean. This championship golf course was designed by well-known South African golf course architect Peter Matkovich, who opened the course together with top Irish Tour Professional Darren Clarke in November 2006. It was voted South Africa’s Best Golf Course in the 2016 and 2017 World Golf Awards.
We will finish our 2019 South African Golf and Safari Tour in style at the Ernie Els masterpiece, the Oubaai Golf Club. Like nearby Pinnacle Point, the Oubaai links-style course with veld grasses lining its fairways provides golfers with huge views of the Indian Ocean. Parts of the course are played alongside the steep, tree-lined Gwaing River Valley – including one hole requiring a 120-metre drive across a gorge to reach the fairway.