British Airways (www.ba.com), South African Airways (www.flysaa.com) and Virgin Atlantic (www.virgin-atlantic.com) operate daily non-stop flights from London to Johannesburg and Cape Town, feeding domestic connections to some of the popular golfing destinations along the Garden Route.
WHERE TO PLAY
It?s not hard to see why some of the world?s top golfers have been drawn to design courses along South Africa?s Garden Route, which runs from the east of Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. The sunshine and stunning landscape make this one of the finest places to play golf and enjoy a glass or two of the famous wine.
Port Elizabeth is home to a whole host of truly majestic tracks, not least Humewood links, which hosted the 2006 South African Airways Open.
The established supremacy of Gary Player?s courses at Fancourt has been successfully challenged by a raft of manicured new layouts along the Garden Route, from Knysna to Mossel Bay.
Ronald Fream?s tough track at Pezula plays along windy cliffs and around what is arguably Africa?s most luxurious golf resort.
Close by is Jack Nicklaus? stunning new course at Simola Golf & Country Estate, built high on the Knysna Ridge with panoramic views over the Knysna River.
Ernie Els? coastal design at Oubaai is a joy to play while Darren Clarke had a hand in Peter Matkovich?s plans for Pinnacle Point, which plays along the clifftops of Mossel Bay.
Inland, Gary Player?s signature course at Bushman Sands plays close to the Shamwari Game Reserve. It is nestled in a tranquil setting with a backdrop of mountains and is fringed by jacaranda and giant eucalyptus.
50 minutes inland from Cape Town, Pearl Valley can be found. Pearl Valley is set in the heart of the Cape wine-growing region and enjoys a dramatic location. Surrounded by mountains and featuring a chain of interlinked lakes, the views here are perfect in every direction. The course has been designed by Jack Nicklaus and, American in style, typically rewards those who are accurate off the tee.
WHERE TO STAY
This lush, sub-tropical region offers a great choice of bases but most head for the mountains and wide, sandy Indian Ocean beaches.
The luxurious Pezula resort at Knysna provides an excellent base from which to play some of the top courses on the Garden Route, from Plettenberg Bay to George GC.
Meanwhile Bushman Sands Hotel and Shamwari Game Reserve?s lodges (where Tiger Woods proposed to Elin Nordegren) are perfectly located for golfers wishing to combine a golfing holiday with big game drives. Within an easy drive are Humewood, Port Elizabeth GC and the recently-opened St Francis Links.
There are homes under construction at Pearl Valley, with lodges soon available to rent. And, unlike at many resorts, all the buildings are set back from the course so players can continue to enjoy peace and tranquillity.
South Africa is a paradise for everyone who enjoys the great outdoors. Aside from big game viewing, there are endless hiking and biking trails available. Expect prolific sightings of colourful sub-tropical birds and enjoy whale watching, sailing and fine dining.
Bushman Sands Golf Course, Hotel and Game Reserve
T: 0027 42231 8000
Pezula Resort Hotel and Spa
T: 0027 44302 3333
Shamwari Game Reserve
T: 0027 42203 1111
T: 0027 21867 8000
www.tourismknysna.co.za, www.golfinginsouthafrica.co.za, www.oubaai.co.za, www.simolaestate.co.za, www.pinnaclepoint.co.za, www.stfrancislinks.co.za