Africa Thoughts

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Top Ten Golf Courses in South Africa

1.    Leopard Creek Golf Course is currently rated the number 1 golf course in South Africa. This 18 Hole Championship course was designed by Gary Player and is 6723m long and is a Par 72. Leopard Creek Golf Course is located at Malelane in Mpumalanga Province and is only open to hotel residents. The Gary Player design team worked very closely with local conservationists and the Kruger National Park Game Reserve, which the golf course overlooks, to ensure that Leopard Creek blends in with its natural surroundings.
2.    The Gary Player Country Club Golf Course in Sun City in the North West Province is rated the number 2 golf course in South Africa. The course was designed by Gary Player and Ron Kirby in 1979 and its Championship course is 6938m long and is a Par 72. The Gary Player Country Club is home to the Nedbank Challenge and is renowned for being a challenging and difficult course. The course is not open on Mondays but otherwise visitors are welcome.
3.    The Links Course at Fancourt Hotel and Country Club Estate in George in the Western Cape of South Africa is currently rated number 3 golf course in South Africa. The Links Championship Golf Course is 6532m long is a Par 70. The Gary Player Design Team spent some time studying the famous Links courses of Scotland before finalising the design of this testing round of golf. The course is open to Fancourt members and their guests and also to hotel residents by prior arrangement.
4.    The Arabella Golf Course in Kleinmond in the Western Cape of South Africa is currently rated the number 5 golf course in South Africa. This Par 72 course is 6381 metres long and was designed by Peter Matkovich in 1999. The Arabella Golf Course has lovely views across the Bot River lagoon and across to the Kogelberg mountain range. Visitors are welcome everyday although there is a booking restriction of 7 days in advance if you are not staying at the hotel.
5.    The Pearl Valley Golf Course is rated number 5 golf course in South Africa and was designed by the great Jack Nicklaus. Situated in the beautiful Cape Winelands area  between Paarl and Franschhoek the Pearl Valley Golf Estate and Spa is surrounded by the Simonsberg Mountains and Drakenstein Mountains. This creates a spectacular setting for this Par 72 course which is 6503 metres long. Golf clubs are available to hire and there is a driving range on site.
6.    The Durban Country Club, in Durban KwaZulu-Natal, actually has two 18 hole championship courses designed by Laurie Waters and George Waterman. The course has been created alongside the Indian Ocean creating a semi-links style course. The course is more geared towards the experience golfer and the third hole here is said to be the best third hole on any course in the world. Visitors are welcome to play here any day apart from Saturday.
7.    The Royal Johannesburg Golf Course actually has two 18 Hole Championship courses – the East Course and the West Course. The East Course has hosted numerous SA Open Championships and is 6846 metres long and is a Par 72. The West Course is marginally shorter at 6382 metres in length and probably favours the less experienced golfer although you may well be punished for any wayward shots. The course is open to visitors everyday apart from Saturdays and Sunday mornings.
8.    The Montagu Course at Fancourt is rated the number 8 golf course in South Africa. This course, designed by Gary Player, is located in George in the Western Cape of South Africa. The course has recently undergone a transformation with two new holes being created and several others being completely redesigned. The course is open every day to Fancourt Hotel residents only.
9.    The St. Francis Links Golf Course is situated in St. Francis Bay on the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Yet again Jack Nicklaus has used his skills and experience to design another challenging Links course reminiscent of those you would find in Scotland. As with all links courses the wind plays a major factor in your round of golf. The St. Francis Links Golf Course is open to visitors every day of the week.
03.    The Elements Private Golf Reserve is located in the stunning scenery of the Waterberg region of Limpopo Province in South Africa. This golf course is rated number 03 in the Top Ten Golf Courses of South Africa and is a Peter Matkovich designed golf course.

If you are looking for accommodation in South Africa for your golfing holiday try Where2Stay-SouthAfrica.
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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Less than 2 weeks now to the Splashy Fen Festival 2014

With less than two weeks to go before this year’s Splashy Fen Music Festival there is as you can imagine a hive of activity on site at the tranquil Underberg Farm in South Africa’s Southern Drakensberg. Splashy Fen Festival starts on Thursday April 21st through to Monday April 25 and there will be over 90 acts performing over the two stages which means there really will be something for everyone’s musical tastes.

The site is very busy at the moment with a host of skilled tradesmen putting the final touches together to ensure that the festival is ready for the thousands of music fans who will attend this popular event.

New fields are being cleared ready for the camping sites, new fences are being erected and of course those all-important toilet and washing facilities are being prepared. Even the cellular networks are being upgraded especially for this event.

As always Pedro Carlo, the festival organiser, is making sure that music fans will have even more to look forward to than last year. This year there will be more bars, more food stores, a new comedy tent and an all new Freestyle Tribal Village. For festival fans coming as a family there is a separate family campsite area which is perfect for those with younger ones in tow. The Children Centre will put on a full programme of childrens activities as well as providing a child minding service.

As usual all profits from the festival’s main bar, run by Sani 152 Round Table, will go to helping out deserving causes and community upliftment projects.

At this year’s Splashy Fen Festival you can expect to see acts like Vusi Mahlasela, Boo!, Goodluck, Karen Zoid, Ard Matthews, The Rudimentals, Valiant Swart, Holiday Murray, City Bowl Mizers, Madala Kunene, Wrestlerish, Dan Patlansky and former Tree63 frontman, John Ellis, among many others.

Supported by East Coast Radio and Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, Splashy Fen was established in 1990 and is the longest-running music festival in the country.  Tickets cost R500 at Computicket and selected Game stores.  The price includes camping for the entire festival.  For more information and the full programme, visit www.splashyfen.co.za or contact 031 563 0824. For news on other events across South Africa visit South Africa Events Page.
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ski in South Africa - not yet but maybe soon !

Since 2002 Snowboarders and skiers in South Africa have had to endure long trips to Europe or America to get their skiing fix but there may be light at the end of the tunnel. The mothballed ski resort of Tiffindell in the southern Drakensberg Mountains is due to go up for auction soon with a number of local and foreign buyers proported to be interested. The auction is to be managed by the High Street Auction Company.

The Tiffendell Ski Resort covers an area of 031 hectares and includes a main lodge, chalets that can accommodate 142 guests, a beginners slope, a bar, shop, ski school and place to hire ski equipment. The main ski slope does have its own ski lift. More news to follow.

Going to South Africa on holiday in the future - visit where2stay-southafrica for all your accommodation needs.
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Formula 1 returns to South Africa in 2014

Formula 1 Racing is returning to South Africa at the famous Kyalami Race Track on 20th November 2014. Due to the cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix earlier this year there was a gap in the schedule that needed to be filled and South Africa has won the race to host the replacement. This is great news for South Africa and the economy as it will bring a real boost to local businesses and tourism around the Kyalami Grand Prix track.

David Coulthard recently drove around the Kyalami Race Track to test its suitability and gave the race track a ringing endorsement with just a few minor changes required to ensure a safe and successful race. The last time South Africa hosted a Grand Prix at Kyalami was back in 1993 when the likes of
Alain Prost was racing.

The Grand Prix at Kyalami will be followed by a huge concert with big acts such as U2, Shakira, Beyonce and Usher all playing. Kyalami Grand Prix Race Track is in Midrand in Gauteng Province, South Africa.

Gauteng Province has excellent self-catering accommodation, guest house accommodation, hotels and Bed and Breakfast accommodation to ensure your visit to this Grand Prix is an enjoyable one.
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The Great Annual Sardine Run

There are some truly spectacular natural events that occur around the world every year and none more so than the awesome Sardine Run which takes place off the East Coast of South Africa. Every year between the months of May and July the Sardine Run takes place off the KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape coast.
The sardines start their epic journey off the Cape Point of South Africa and journey north to escape the cold waters. Millions of sardines congregate and travel up the Eastern Cape up to the north coast of the KwaZulu-Natal coast. The huge numbers of sardines create a mass so big that it is visible from satellites orbiting the earth. The vast shoal reaches lengths of 15km, a width of 3km and a depth of 40 metres.

This spectacular event attracts a wide array of predators that come to feed creating amazing feeding frenzies which are spectacular to watch. Some of the predators that come to feed include dolphins, sharks, whale, birds and game fish. This natural event ranks alongside the huge migration of wildebeest across the African savannah.

This unexplained phenomenon is not to be missed whether viewing from a boat or, if you are an experienced diver, from beneath the sea. The Annual Sardine Run passes along some of the best coastlines in South Africa, passed the Garden Route, the Sunshine Coast, and the KZN South Coast and up to what was once known as the Transkei.

If you are planning a holiday to South Africa during May and July then you may want to consider a trip to see this marvellous event. Visit Where2Stay-South Africa for all your accommodation needs.
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Monday, March 31, 2014

James Blunt Live in Concert in South Africa

Its exciting news to hear that James Blunt is coming to South Africa as part of his 'Some kind of Trouble World Tour'. James Blunt will be playing on the 24th August 2014 at the ICC Durban Arena and on the 26th August at the Coca Cola Dome in Johannesburg. This is terrific news and follows on from other international artists that have played in South Africa this year including U2 and Neil Diamond.

It is really great to see artists such as James Blunt choosing South Africa as part of their World Tour. His latest album 'Some Kind of Trouble' has seen him team up with OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder in terms of songwriting and James is really looking forward to getting back out on the road and infront of his fans. Tickets for these concerts can be obtained from Computicket.

If you are looking for accommodation for either of these events check out where2stay-southafrica.
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Friday, March 28, 2014

South Africa upgrades its Establishment Grading System

South Africa's Minister of Tourism has launched a new star grading system for accommodation establishments across South Africa. The new star grading system is an update to the current system which was introduced in 2002. Over the last three years the current system has delivered a world class standard in grading accommodation and provided visitors with a real level of comfort in booking accommodation for their holidays.

The new star grading system which was unveiled by Marthinus van Schalkwyk at the Kind Edward Hotel and Forest Hall Guest House in Port Elizabeth will increase the grading criteria and minimum requirements for establishments. The grading system is managed by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) and is an official measure of an establishments quality assurance. The changes to the new grading system will ensure that South Africa provides tourists with a promise of quality when booking their holiday accommodation. It will also ensure that South Africa remains a key destination for international visitors. The Minister of Tourism's aim is also to maintain South Africa as world leaders in terms of quality assurance.

Look out for the Star Grading on all venue listings on where2stay-southafrica.
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