Garden Route

The area around George has, in recent years, become the mecca for golf in South Africa.  If you’re serious about your game, this is an area not to be missed.

Fancourt boasts not one, but three, championship courses, all in the top fourteen in the country

Fancourt boasts not one, but three, championship courses, all in the top fourteen in the country

Focal point is George itself with the Fancourt Estate as its starting point.  Fancourt boasts not one, but three, championship courses, all in the top fourteen in the country.  There are the Montagu and Outeniqua courses plus the truly awesome and challenging Links course, which hosted the President’s Cup.  Whilst the others are parkland in nature, the Links is a ferocious and daunting links course, which Gary Player created from an old, flat aerodrome.  To play these courses as a visitor one has to be resident at the Fancourt Hotel, itself a lovely place to stay.

Also in George is the old George Golf Club, a really beautiful layout and Oubaai, the Ernie Els signature course on the cliffs of Herold’s Bay.  Another new one,  just down the road at Mossel Bay, is Pinnacle Point, too new to be rated at this time, but apparently stunning.

Moving up to Knysna we have Simola, designed by Jack Nicklaus – a magnificent course, with a stunning Clubhouse.  And Pezula, an impressive design situated on the Knysna Heads.

This whole area is a true golfing paradise and there are lots of things to see and do after your round.  From George, Oudtshoorn is easily accessible with its famous Cango Caves and Ostrich Show Farms.  In Knysna there’s the famous Heads, the Lagoon, the Featherbed Nature Reserve and numerous interesting shops and restaurants.

the famous stretch of The Garden Route, incorporating Nature’s Valley

the famous stretch of The Garden Route, incorporating Nature’s Valley

From Knysna it’s time to do the famous stretch of the Garden Route, incorporating Nature’s Valley, the Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary, Birds of Eden, Blou Krans Pass (an interesting alternative is to bungee jump off the Blou Krans bridge – the highest in the world – or just watch other people do it!), Tsitsikamma Forest and Storm’s River Mouth before heading up to Port Elizabeth.

A worthwhile alternative if time permits is to stop off at St Francis Bay, about 100 km from Port Elizabeth for a stay in this quaint little town with the new St Francis Links course, another Jack Nicklaus design, already rated number nine in South Africa.

In Port Elizabeth itself the Humewood course is one of the oldest and truest links courses in the country and still highly rated.  Close by are some excellent, malaria free game reserves which offer interesting safari opportunities.  Highly recommended is Pumba, a private game lodge and Gorah Elephant Camp, which is situated inside the famous Addo Elephant Park.