Blessed with ideal weather, plenty of space, wonderful scenery and a population obsessed by sports and outdoor life, South Africa is the perfect golfing country. Add in one of the world's all-time great champions, Gary Player, as a national sporting hero, and it is little wonder that South Africans and tourists alike flock to play on some of the world's best and most affordable courses. Some resorts even allow you to combine your time on the green with safari game drives and sessions in the spa. This list focuses on 10 South African golf courses with tourist accommodation on-site.
Sun City Resort
A vast playground with six different accommodation types, Sun City offers entertainment day and night with a casino, spa, water park, nightclubs and shows. Then, there is golf. The huge desert-style Lost City course has real crocodiles at the 13th hole! The Gary Player Country Club and Golf Course is one of the most famous in the country, home to the prestigious Nedbank Golf Challenge.
A superb setting between the Knysna Lagoon and the Outeniqua Mountains makes Pezula Hotel's 18-hole championship golf course a joy to experience. Accommodation is provided by a series of deluxe suites and villas, while two restaurants and a Champagne bar offer sustenance after a challenging day. A spa, two swimming pools and nearby beaches make this a great option for non-golfers as well.
Fancourt is the country's premier golf resort. It boasts three championship courses designed by Gary Player (of which one, The Links, is rated number one in South Africa), a Golf Academy, PGA professionals on staff and a Pro Shop. There is also a world-class spa for the golf widows and a range of accommodation from two-bedroom suites in the hotel to rooms in the original Manor House.
Steenberg Golf Club
In a stunning setting just south of Cape Town, Steenberg Golf Club's beautiful 18-hole course is overlooked by mountains and winds its way through water features, vineyards and mountain fynbos. The par-three 14th hole also offers players the largest single green in Southern Africa. After close of play, unwind at the course's luxury boutique hotel complete with a gourmet restaurant and spa.
Hans Merensky Hotel & Spa
Located on the boundary of the northern section of the Kruger Park, Hans Merensky Hotel & Spa offers the opportunity to enjoy golf games and game drives in a single vacation. In fact, giraffe, zebra, crocodiles and other wildlife often finds its way onto the Bob Grimsdall-designed course. In addition to the spa, the resort boasts a choice of rooms, a swimming pool and two restaurants.
Wild Coast Sun
The Eastern Cape's Wild Coast Sun resort is perfectly positioned to take advantage of South Africa's most beautiful stretch of coastline. You can admire it in all its rugged glory on the only golf course in the country designed by renowned golf architect, Robert Trent Jones II. A short but rugged 6,000-meter course that has hosted several PGA tournaments, its 13th hole is played across a ravine and waterfall.
Mount Edgecombe Golf Lodge
Accommodation is limited at this charming colonial lodge. Located near Durban, it's situated on the 9th tee of one of two championship golf courses on the Mount Edgecombe estate, within easy walk of the clubhouse. The courses wind through lush subtropical vegetation, offering plenty of challenges in addition to fabulous scenery. There's also a driving range and two restaurants on-site.
The Fairway Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort
A 15-minute drive from Sandton City center takes you to The Fairway, a luxurious resort that overlooks Randpark Golf Club and is situated within easy reach of the clubhouse at the 1st hole. Choose between two immaculate 18-hole courses and one 9-hole mashie course, then return to the hotel for a massage in the spa or a dip in the indoor pool. The hotel is a popular venue for meetings and weddings.
Arabella Hotel & Spa
Luxurious Araballa Hotel & Spa has been thoughtfully designed around the curves of the landscape to blend into the hillside near whale-watching capital Hermanus. It stands within the Kogelberg Biosphere, and its 18-hole golf course is ranked amongst South Africa's top 10. Designed by Peter Matkovich, it has hosted Ernie Els and Gary Player along with celebrities like Samuel L. Jackson.
Zebula Golf Estate and Spa
There is action aplenty at Zebula, an entertaining Waterberg estate where you can meet lion cubs, go on an elephant-back safari, ride quad bikes or sink into the spa. Alternatively, you can play golf on a Peter Matkovich-designed course with views across the magnificent Waterberg Mountains. The course also boasts a spectacular clubhouse and a well-stocked Pro Shop.