South Africa Getaway Tour: Wine, Golf & Safari

A 13 day trip to South Africa 
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This 13-day South Africa tour takes in six of the country's finest courses, complementing them with exclusive wine tastings, Big Five safari encounters, and insight into old-world beauty. Fairways are dappled with wild springbok, water hazards are enhanced by hippos, and golf courses designed by golf's biggest names glow beneath vineyards. South Africa offers a unique golfing vacation, blending the challenge of the holes with the delights of captivating landscapes.

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Franschhoek, Cape Winelands, Stellenbosch, Paarl, Greater Kruger, Kruger National Park, Sabi Sands Game Reserve, Sun City, Johannesburg

Courses Played: Pearl Valley Golf Estate, De Zalze, Leopard Creek Golf Course, Gary Player Golf Course, Lost City Golf Course, Royal Johannesburg and Kensington (East)

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Cape Town to Franschhoek – Touching Down in Wine Country

It's a beautiful drive from Cape Town Airport to Franschhoek, twisting away from the city and into the valleys of the Cape Winelands. Vineyards stretch out in all directions, the carpet of vines punctuated by dramatic slabs of mountain granite. The panoramas are quick to soothe any travel tiredness while the serenity is near absolute as you check in to La Residence, a boutique guesthouse tucked away in the Franschhoek valley. After checking in, you enjoy an introductory wine tasting, before lounging away the evening amongst the picturesque setting.

What's Included: accommodation at La Residence, airport transfer, tour

Day 2: Franschhoek – Wine Tasting and Jack Nicklaus's Pearl Valley

Pearl Valley is pleasing on the eye, the white-sand bunkers adding to the challenge of the lakes and creeks that wind through the course. A regular host of the South African Open, it's a course that captures the splendor of the Cape Winelands, the emerald fairways contrasting the deep green of the surrounding vineyards. Watch out for the par five fourth as the creek cuts across the fairway in three different places. Then stay focused at holes seven and eight, which circumnavigate the scenic delight of the valley's five lakes. This was the second Jack Nicklaus signature course to open in South Africa, and it suits placement over power. You don't need to play long, and the bunkers and water make this course a real gem.

A morning round helps negate some of the additional challenges brought by the afternoon wind, along with freeing up the rest of the day to sample the best of Paarl's wineries. The Cape Winelands is split into a series of different valleys and those in Paarl produce grittier and more intensely structured wines than those in Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. Your guide will customize a tasting journey, as there are dozens of options, including first samples of South Africa's endemic grape, Pinotage. As with most days on this South Africa tour, timings are flexible so you could return to the guesthouse by mid afternoon or stay out into the evening.

What's Included: accommodation at La Residence, transfer, tour, golf, breakfast

Day 3: Franschhoek – A Day of Stellenbosch Wine and Golf

Sprawling amongst the vineyards of the Spier Estate, one of South Africa's largest wine exporters, De Zalze epitomizes the atmosphere of the Winelands. Everything flows, and every view is pleasant, whether you're teeing off towards the Helderberg Mountains or skirting the oak-lined Blaauwklippen River. Then it's all enhanced by places or pure inimitability, like the 13th tee, situated on an island in the heart of a lake. You can drive to the fairway on the right, or play big in attempting the green in one. De Zalze hosted the World Amateur Championships in 2006 and makes for a lovely round amidst wine country. Stellenbosch is the most revered of the Winelands area, and after the round, you have hundreds of vineyards to choose from. The local guide helps match your tastes to the local flavors.

What's Included: accommodation at La Residence, transfer, tour, golf, breakfast

Day 4: Greater Kruger – Magnificent Views Over the Kruger Savannah

South Africa is a huge country but recent enhancements in its aerial network make it easier than ever to combine distant destinations. After the 45-minute journey back to Cape Town International Airport, you fly directly to Nelspruit, where it's a just a short transfer to Buhala Lodge on Crocodile River, just to the south of Kruger National Park. The safari starts from your balcony as you gaze over the river to see buffalo, springbok, giraffe, and elephant. Hippos and crocodiles inhabit the river, and you'll get to see them out of the water during the evening. And if you hear a loud trumpet sound, then it's probably an elephant roaming the grounds. Even though you're not staying within a park or nature reserve, Buhala Lodge is a great way to grow accustomed to the sights and sounds of the wild. All meals are included here.

What's Included: accommodation at Buhala Lodge, transfer, domestic flight, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5: Greater Kruger – A Unique 18 Holes Filled With Wildlife

Interruptions to your round are usually annoying. But there's something magical to stopping mid-swing as a herd of kudu bounds across the fairway. Sometimes the Leopard Creek Golf Course seems too pretty to play, the cocktail of golf and safari as unique as anything you'll ever play. Take the ninth and 18th holes, where treacherous island greens are approached by iron shots over a hippo-filled lake. Or perhaps the distant echo of a lion roar coming as you tee off on the 13th.

Understandably, such inimitability makes Leopard Creek the most talked about golf course in the country. It's the back nine that really enchants, winding against the Kruger Park boundary and offering a fabulous mix of risk and reward. Since 2007, the course has hosted the Alfred Dunhill Championships, and it rewards accuracy, especially when playing towards the hippos. Take your time on this course and then relax in the clubhouse afterward, taking in the wildlife before returning to Buhala Lodge for more safari scenes.

What's Included: accommodation at Buhala Lodge, transfer, golf, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Days 6 – 8: Sabi Sands Game Reserve – Exhilarating Big-Five Safari

Lion prides dominate the savannah in the Sabi Sands, sprawling across the landscape without a care in the world. Elephants roam past them, keeping a respectful distance as they have babies in tow. Hippos grunt from the waterways, and they'll be no stranger to you, nor will the springbok or kudu. Out amidst the savannah, you find more delights, from big herds of buffalo to the antics of baboon troops, who bash branches together as if trying start a riot. Then there's a moment of calm, a bashful rhino wandering past the vehicle or a leopard hiding amongst the trees. On a single game drive, you might see all these animals, the full Big Five encountered in just a couple of hours of each other.

Sabi Sands is a dreamy destination for a first-time luxury safari. The pace is relaxed and the landscapes relatively compact, enabling you to see a full suite of wildlife without going on long bumpy journeys across the bush. The Sabi and Sands rivers attract wildlife to the reserve, and by exploring the banks, you enjoy a wonderful intimacy with some of Africa's most elusive creatures. Many of the animals are spotted from your balcony and plunge pool at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge, giving an impression that safari is continually coming to you. On every day, you enjoy morning and afternoon activities, punctuated by a few languid hours amidst the charm of the lodge. Game drives get you close to the Big Five and sightings of rhino and leopard are legendary here. Walking safaris get you even closer to animals like zebra and giraffe. Then the safari continues in the evening, with fine dining beneath the stars and herds sipping from the river beneath the lodge.

What's Included: accommodation at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge, transfer, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9: Sun City – From Nature's Charms to Sun City's Excitement

On a final game drive, you take in the exceptional moments. Perhaps a cheetah emerging from the high grass, maybe hartebeest and waterbuck deep in the bush, or it could be lionesses stalking a fearful herd of impala. Return to the lodge and relax until early afternoon, when you transfer to Nelspruit for a flight to Sun City Airport. Sun City couldn't be more different than the Kruger. Glitzy and glamorous, it's the continent's take on Las Vegas, a huge entertainment resort that is filled with energy throughout day and night. You spend the next three nights in the palatial Palace of the Lost City, an opulent five-star hotel that's as new world as Lion Sands is old world. With views stretching onto the Lost City Golf Course, it's a quiet place amongst the lights and action of Sun City.

What's Included: accommodation at The Palace of the Lost City, safari, transfer, domestic flight, breakfast

Day 10: Sun City – A Round at the Iconic Gary Player Golf Course

The Gary Player Country Club is arguably South Africa's flagship golf course, a beautifully manicured 18 holes through bushlands and lakes. It's hosted the invitational Million Dollar Golf Challenge since 1981 (now known as the Nedbank Golf Challenge), which sees the world's highest ranked players tee off for what was the largest first prize in professional golf for many years. As you would expect, this is a stunning course to the highest of championship standards. Don't be lulled by the broad fairways and relatively flat terrain as the greens are exceptionally guarded by cunning hazards. It's very hard to get up and down after a bad approach, and it can also be a challenge to get down in three on the slick greens. After a morning round, the day is at your leisure, and it's just a three-mile transfer back to your hotel.

What's Included: accommodation at The Palace of the Lost City, transfer, golf, breakfast

Day 11: Sun City – The Lost City Golf Course

Stretching out beneath your hotel, Lost City is probably the easiest of the courses you'll play on this South Africa tour. The fairways are forgiving, and it plays almost a thousand yards shorter than the 18 holes tomorrow. So it should make for some good scoring, although a few holes require real concentration. Water winds throughout the course, creating the impression of a man-made oasis in the South African bush. The par three third and 15th require good touch, and there's an extravagant multi-tiered water feature on the ninth and 18th. But the worst hazard comes at the 13th, where a crocodile pit guards the front of the green – you won't be jumping in if your approach comes up short. Saunter up to the 18th, and you're practically back at your hotel, where another leisurely afternoon awaits.

What's Included: accommodation at The Palace of the Lost City, transfer, golf, breakfast

Day 12: Johannesburg – A Challenging Finale at Royal Johannesburg Golf Club

From the easiest course to what is probably the hardest, you complete this golfing tour at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club. The drive into Johannesburg takes around 2 ½ hours, and it's done at a relaxed pace, with the driver-guide able to stop at many points of interest. See the World Heritage Cradle of Humankind, stop in the funky districts of Central Johannesburg, or discover an alternate history at Nelson Mandela's old house in Soweto. Then the afternoon round is a whopping 7,592 yards, one of the longest courses on the European Tour. Par is a great score here as almost all the holes are long, tight and touch. In particular, the back-to-back par fours at ten and 11 are more realistically par fives for most players. The length and the challenge are matched by the course's beauty, a journey through thick parkland and captivating changes in elevation. Following the round, you're transferred to the five-star African Pride Melrose Arch Hotel, a swanky base for your final night.

What's Included: accommodation at African Pride Melrose Arch Hotel, transfer, golf, tour, breakfast

Day 13: Johannesburg – Departure

After a relaxed morning, you're transferred to O. R. Tambo International for your departure flight. Place your clubs onboard and recount the six championship courses played over the last 13 days, perhaps losing a ball to a crocodile or finding a hippo pod with an approach to the 18th. You'll have your favorite course, but the big memories come from the diversity, with a range of golf challenges celebrating the diversity of South Africa.

What's Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$5,195
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.