5 weeks in golfing paradise

22 04 2011

Hi all

I will try and explain to you what we experienced in South Africa and I will do my very best to use pictures and video that best show just how beautiful South Africa is, warts and all. I learnt many things about myself and this strange game that we all love so much. I think Karl described it best when he said to me that people will not believe it until they have actually experienced it. So right from the start don’t be afraid of South Africa. We drove over 5000 kilometres across it and lived to share our wonderful tale with you.

We flew directly from Zurich to Johannesburg ( OR Tambo) International airport on an overnight flight with Swiss, lasting 10.5 hours with a one hour time difference. Arriving at 10:25 local time, the immediate thing you notice is that its a lot brighter and a lot warmer. Other than that its an airport like any other in the world, big and busy.

I was really hoping to get at least 4 people to join me but sadly only one person joined me at the start and another for the last two weeks of our five week trip. Karl was adamant that he was coming with me and at first I was uncertain as to whether this was the right thing to do. I was really concerned that he would be overwhelmed by it all as he has never travelled further than Tenerife and then always in a larger group. Having confirmed that he would prefer to spend 3 weeks with me we were off to South Africa. The fact that he then added an additional 2 weeks to his trip tells me that he was far from overwhelmed and that he really had a great time.

We started off in Pecanwood which is a Jack Nicklaus design golf estate outside of Johannesburg and stayed there for 2 weeks playing different courses in the area. Sadly Karl was sick from around day 4 of our trip and remained ill for around a week.

We also played at Blair Atholl Estate which is currently one of the top 10 in South Africa with an old school friend of mine Walter Kruger and his brother Anton.

Taking a break from golf we visited the Elephant Sanctuary as well as the Rhino and Lion Park.

We then spent a week in Sun City and played both the Gary Player Country Club as well as the Lost City Golf Course. Both these course are special and each offers different challenges. Although they are really almost next to each other they are both scenically completely different too. Of the two, the Gary Player offers a far greater challenge while the Lost City plays a bit easier. What’s less easy to control are the crocodiles but I suppose if you really have pesky pets you learn to control them!!!!

From Sun City we collected our next guest, Tamara, from the airport and then had the long road to Cape Town ahead of us. I say the long road as it took us the better part of 13 hours driving time to get to our destination. Many ask why didn’t you fly? I feel that if you want to get to see and know South Africa then the drive is part and parcel of the experience. The roads are in really as good condition as any you would find in Europe, and like any country in the world there is continual road works. Having to stop at road works on the way forced us to get out the car and take in the vastness of this beautiful country. We overnighted in a B&B called The Barracks which used to be a munition and supply store during the Anglo Boer Wars. The hosts were wonderful and I think I had the most wonderful filet steak for supper that I have ever had in my life. Almost too good to be true so of course in typical shy style I went for more…..!

We arrived in Arabella and as this part of our tour was less golf and more touring we did just that. Playing in Arabella is something you have to do if you want to experience something really special. The greens are lightning fast and the course is very challenging. Of course it’s also very beautiful and is currently at number 4 in South Africa.

On the following day we did a coastal ride and stopped at a penguin colony, visited the Botanical Gardens at Kirstenbosch, then Cape Point and the city bowl as well as the V&A Waterfront.

We did a few trips to Cape Town and did quite a lot of site seeing instead of golf! Amongst the places that one must visit is Camps Bay but you need to be brave if you swim as the water is not the warmest but it must be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Off to Knysna for the last week of our trip and again the goal was more site seeing than golf although we did play Knysna Country Club. We stayed at the Knysna Country House and I can highly recommend it as a place to stay. We spent most days travelling to the following places:

Plettenberg Bay

Knysna Heads

Tsitsikamma

Keurbooms

Thereafter it was a long ride back to Johannesburg. En route we drove through one of the biggest storms I have ever experienced in my life. Was very exciting and scary at the same time. As they say however there is always a rainbow after a big storm, we never did find the pot of gold though!

Thats all folks. If you want anymore information please send me an email.

Keep on swinging!

Cheers

Geoff

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