THE 10 BEST STAY & PLAY VENUES

IN SOUTH AFRICA

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Golf Life -

FANCOURT

Recog­nised as one of the world’s best golf re­sorts, Fancourt epit­o­mises what golfers are look­ing for in a get­away re­sort des­ti­na­tion. Firstly, golf is the main at­trac­tion, and most of the guests are there for that rea­son.There are two qual­ity golf cour­ses to choose from, the Mon­tagu and Outeni­qua, plus pos­si­ble ac­cess to The Links, ranked the No 1 course in Golf Di­gest’s Top 100; out­stand­ing prac­tice fa­cil­i­ties at two dif­fer­ent sites; the choice of cad­dies or golf carts; ter­rific restau­rants and a mag­nif­i­cent club­house ter­race for af­ter­golf drinks.Then there’s the wide choice of other ac­tiv­i­ties for sin­gles and fam­i­lies, and short walks to get where you want to go. If you need a break from the re­sort, the im­me­di­ate Gar­den Route area has so much va­ri­ety to of­fer.

SUN CITY

South Africa’s orig­i­nal re­sort in the Pi­lanes­berg bushveld is more like a small casino city, very dif­fer­ent al­to­gether from the in­ti­macy of Fancourt. It caters to var­i­ous au­di­ences, mostly golfers and fun seek­ers.You have a choice of four dif­fer­ent ho­tels, rang­ing from the bud­get- and child-friendly Ca­banas, to the opu­lence of the won­drous Lost City Palace, one of the world’s Grand Golf Ho­tels, with its unique African feel. You know a Grand Ho­tel when you see it: im­pres­sive en­trances, large, stately rooms, and ex­cep­tional break­fast buf­fets. It’s where well-heeled golfers love to stay.The Gary Player CC, thanks to its host­ing of the Ned­bank Chal­lenge, is a bucket-list course to play and No 3 in the Golf Di­gest rank­ings, walk­ing only; while the Lost City Course is

cart-only golf in more dra­matic ter­rain. Vis­i­tors have ev­ery­thing on site, but an out­side at­trac­tion is the Pi­lanes­berg Game Re­serve.The orig­i­nal main ho­tel, with the casino, is now called Soho, and is home to Leg­ends restau­rant, which com­mem­o­rates mu­si­cians who have vis­ited Sun City.

BUHALA LODGE / LEOPARD CREEK

Leopard Creek is one of South Africa’s most ex­clu­sive golf cour­ses. If you don’t know a mem­ber who can get you through the front gate to play our No 2 course, then the next best way to play at Leopard Creek is to stay at the Buhala Lodge, a few kilo­me­tres east on the banks of the Croc­o­dile River, fac­ing the Kruger Na­tional Park. Guests have ac­cess to tee times at Leopard Creek (a 15-minute drive), and a ter­rific view of the lo­cal wildlife. Buhala Lodge is an old colo­nial-style farm­house con­verted by the Rhodes fam­ily into a com­fort­able bou­tique ho­tel with 17 bed­rooms.These look onto the open banks of the river, and it’s not un­usual for guests to have ele­phants or buf­falo up close and per­sonal, hav­ing forded their way across. Owner Carol Rhodes says that some guests pre­fer to stay on the ho­tel veran­dah all day and watch the pass­ing parade of wildlife, rather than go into the park in an open ve­hi­cle. Dur­ing the Al­fred Dun­hill Championship at Leopard Creek, this is the place where the TV com­men­ta­tors choose to say. In the heat of sum­mer, the re­frig­er­ated wine cel­lar is a pop­u­lar room in which to cool down be­fore din­ner while se­lect­ing a suit­able vin­tage. There are two suites that share a splash pool.

ARABELLA

A mag­nif­i­cent lo­ca­tion on the Bot River La­goon near Hermanus, just an hour’s drive from Cape Town, cou­pled with a Top 10 ranked Peter Matkovich course, makes this one of the coun­try’s top re­sorts. Here, once again, there is a big em­pha­sis on golf.All the fa­cil­i­ties, in­clud­ing the golf club­house and pro shop, are in the mul­ti­storey lux­ury ho­tel, which over­looks the scenic water­side clos­ing holes of the course. Prac­tice fa­cil­i­ties are limited, but near to the club­house and per­fect for warm­ing up be­fore a round. The Arabella Spa has won awards as a top well­ness re­treat, while the pool to the rear of the ho­tel is a clas­sic spot to not only swim, but also dine and drink.The cigar bar, Cris­to­bal’s, on the top floor close to re­cep­tion, is the ideal place to un­wind at any time of the day or night.

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