When it comes to exceptional escapes, the South African province of Limpopo is ahead of the game. Just a few hours drive or a short flight north of Johannesburg, Limpopo offers visitors the unique opportunity of combining safari and first-rate golf. It's home to both one of the largest game parks in the world, the prestigious Kruger National Park, and a wealth of word class golf courses.
If you want to drive your South African experience into another league, check out our choice of six of the best golf spots in Limpopo.
Not content with being the world’s longest and highest par 3, Legend Golf & Safari Resort's Extreme 19th has taken the ingenious approach of combining time on the links with safari for an experience like no other. The course is situated right in the Entabeni safari conservancy and its not uncommon for golfers to share their time on the fairways with wandering antelope, zebra and giraffe.
Each of the first 18 holes at the Legend’s Championship Course has been designed by a different world-famous golfer. You'll get to test your skills on the creations of legends like Justin Rose, Colin Montgomerie, Ian Woosnam, Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia and, of course, South Africa’s own Gary Player, Trevor Immelman and Retief Goosen.
The Extreme 19th, perched atop Hanglip Mountain, can be reached only by helicopter. Once you arrive, you're faced with a shot to a green that's shaped like the African continent itself. However, it looks an awful lot smaller at 470 yards below. Your ball will take an agonising 20 seconds to land but, don’t worry, Mulligans (do-overs) are allowed, if not expected. Much more relaxing is the shorter Tribute Golf Course, where the 10 holes are each a replica of famous par 3s elsewhere in the world.
Voted the best walking course in South Africa, the fairways at the Hans Merensky Hotel and Spa also benefit from an incredible location that means bushland spectators are not unusual. The spectacular Kruger National Park borders the course with elephants and antelopes often seen ambling around the green spaces while hippos and crocodiles sometimes add an extra element to water hazards.
Hans Merensky was a German geologist who made his fortune in South Africa in the search for platinum, diamonds and coppers. The resort named for him pays tribute to the wealth created locally from his discoveries, particularly in the nearby former mining town of Phalaborwa, now a tourism centre.
The 18-hole championship course atEuphoria Golf & Lifestyle Estate
is South Africa’s first ladies signature course. It's the first-ever design by the legendary Annika Sorenstam, the female golfer with the most wins to her name. Set in the Waterberg, a mountainous Unesco Biosphere Reserve of outstanding natural beauty, the course has a river running through it and a clubhouse with spectacular sunset views over the African bush.
takes similar advantage of the beautiful landscape of the Waterberg, with its course winding its way down a wooded valley that holds a small lake. Designer Peter Matkovich believes golf is about more than just the score and players will find a course that uses its natural setting and plentiful water to attract wildlife and create a sense of wonder. It's no wonder really, that it's been voted one of the top 10 golf courses in South Africa.
Zebula is also in the Waterberg and laid out by Peter Matkovitch. While the philosophy remains the same as Matkovitch's vision for Elements, its design is very different. It’s a flat course where wide fairways are lined with indigenous trees with challenges coming from bunkers and water hazards. This open layout makes it much easier to spot the local wildlife, and the Zebula Clubhouse is an outstanding place to enjoy an amazing African sunset.
Other activities on offer range from tennis and squash to fishing and horseback safaris, not to mention the nearby spa town of Bela Bela.
's 18-hole championship course runs right into a nature reserve, allowing golfers to see plenty of wildlife as they play. The course itself is deceptively easy and many visitors think it is underrated for its challenges, particularly once you hit the greens. The resort is decidedly family-friendly and it's situated just 90mins from Pretoria. Alongside golf, horse riding is a popular attraction at the resort.
To find out more about gold and safari options in Limpopo, check out the official Limpopo microsite.
Feature image: Golf course in Limpopo © Limpopo Tourism Agency