Trip of a lifetime: Golf & Safari

Move over Tiger Woods, it’s time for lions! Combine a once-in-a-lifetime safari with playing at world-class golf courses designed by the likes of Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus at these incredible resorts.

Sun City Resort – Situated on the outskirts of Pilansberg National Park north of Johannesburg, Sun City is one of South Africa‘s premier resorts with two brilliant Gary Player courses – The Gary Player Country Club and The Lost City Course. Lost City runs adjacent to Pilanesberg and has one of the scariest hazards in golf. A huge pit lies in wait in front of the par-3 13th, home to Nile Crocodiles!

Sun City’s accommodation options include the three-star Cabanas hotel, the four-star Soho hotel, the five-star Cascades hotel and the five-star Palace of the Lost City. Sun City is also not far from Madikwe Game Reserve. Both this and Pilanesberg are Big-5 reserves (lions, leopards, elephants, African buffalo, and rhinoceros) and are highly recommended for family safaris.

Sun City Safari

Pilanesberg National Park, adjacent to Sun City, also has zebra, hyena, giraffe, hippo, cheetah, crocodile, antelope, and springbok. The park offers the choice of self-drive tours or guided safari trips with Mankwe Gametrackers. Based at the resort, they conduct game drives, bush walks and hot-air balloon safaris, as well as quad biking and family bush walks.

Zebula Golf Estate and SpaSet in the shadows of South Africa‘s Waterberg Mountains, a couple of hours north of Johannesburg next to a Big-5 game reserve, Zebula boasts luxurious accommodation, from five-star lodges to self-contained houses, and an excellent golf course designed by Peter Matkovich. This huge estate includes wildlife enclosures for safe safari encounters and lies next to the Zebula Game Reserve, should you want to see the incredible local wildlife in its natural habitat.

There’s bush walks and Big-5 Game drives, quad and horseback safaris, and you can visit the Snake and Reptile Park for free, watch the Cheetah Run, and experience the incredible ‘Adventures with Elephants’, a hands-on opportunity to meet the local elephants.

Legends Golf & Safari – Located in the South African bush around three hours north of Johannesburg, this resort has an 18-hole course where each of the holes has been assigned its own ‘signature designer’, starting with Trevor Immelman at the 1st and ending with Retief Goosen at the 18th. The resort is built over a large estate where herds of giraffe, zebra and antelope roam free alongside the fairways. The course boats the renowned ‘Extreme 19th’ – a par 3 set on the Hanglip Mountain, accessible only by helicopter!

The resort’s suites are luxurious and built right in the African wilderness, and during your stay you can enjoy activities like game drives and hot-air balloon safaris. Also within the resort, Monomotapa Village is a lifestyle resort and part of the Big-5 game reserve in Limpopo Province. Here you will be treated to a superb Safari experience that is difficult to beat.

Fancourt Resort – Home to three Gary Player golf courses, The Links, which has hosted the Presidents Cup and the Volvo Golf Championship, Outeniqua and the Montagu, Fancourt Resort in South Africa has now added an incredible five-star English country-style boutique hotel to go with the five-star Fancourt Hotel.

Along the coastline, forests and lagoons of South Africa’s Garden Route, activities include adventure trails, hiking, bird-watching, canoeing, fishing and tree canopy slides. There are Big-5 safari experiences, ocean and forest adventure activities, mountain biking trails and the world’s highest bridge bungee jump.

Fancourt Safari

As the resort is located on the Garden Route, it’s close to a number of world-renowned game lodges, wildlife reserves and safari destinations. As well as Big-5 safaris, there is Birds of Eden, the largest free flight aviary in the world, the Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre where you can meet wild cats and cheetahs in an interactive family-orientated programme, and ocean safaris to spot whales and dolphins. Monkeyland, an award-winning primate sanctuary, is among the most popular family excursions, while Knysna Elephant Park is home to a huge herd of elephants all of which have been rescued, adopted and re-homed.

Simola Country Club & Spa – Located in the hills above Knysna, the five-star Simola resort boasts a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course. Offering guests sophisticated accommodation and contemporary comfort, the hotel and restaurant overlook the golf course, the first in Africa to be designed by the Golden Bear himself. Set in heart of the Garden Route, it’s close to the region’s incredible safaris and wildlife parks.

Kruger Park Lodge – Set on the banks of the Sabie River close to South Africa’s most famous national park, Kruger Park Lodge boasts a Gary Player par-36 golf course. With nine holes and 18 tees, it’s close to an abundance of wildlife and water features. Your golfing experience here comprises of superb facilities and accommodation in luxury thatched chalets. Just a 20-minute drive from Kruger National Park, this is the ideal base to see the Big 5 and go river rafting. The plethora of safari options at this park are arguably unrivalled.


Pezula Nature Hotel & Spa – At the very end of the African continent, where the Southern Cape meets the Indian Ocean, you will find this superb five-star golf resort. Perched on the clifftop enjoying spectacular views over Knysna Lagoon, golfers will discover one of the most beautiful championship-level golf courses in South Africa. Set amid ancient indigenous forests, mountains, lakes and beaches, the luxurious suites and villas here are exquisitely furnished. There’s also the Pezula Private Castles, some of the world’s most exclusive private villas.

Around a three-hour drive away is Shamwari Private Game Reserve, one of the most boutique of safari options. This modestly sized reserve is smaller than those further north, making it is easier for rangers to spot key species. A leader in conservation, the reserve is home to the Big 5, as well as the more elusive black rhino and cheetahs.

Combining golf and safari really would be the trip of a lifetime.

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