THE 10 BEST STAY & PLAY VENUES
IN SOUTH AFRICA
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.
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.
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.