Elephant Hills Golf Club: a Safari on the Greens

Golfers are well aware that when they play a round, there can be obstacles. That’s all part of the challenge. When golfing in Africa, those obstacles may include warthogs trying to burrow under the fairways, elephants lumbering across the green, or monkeys snatching stray balls. Those are all common occurrences at Elephant Hills Golf Club in Zimbabwe.

Gary Player designed the 18-hole championship course. Player, a former golf pro, is now a renowned golf architect of more than 300 courses around the world. This one is unique, in that wildlife can often be seen grazing their way across the greens. If you golf in the morning, you’re likely to see animal tracks on the grass. Occasionally, a particular hole — usually around the seventh — can be closed because of wildlife grazing or just strolling across. Eight of Elephant Hills Golf Club’s holes have water hazards — not unusual for courses. The difference is that the signs say “Beware of Crocodiles.”

Zimbabwe’s untamed terrain that is somewhere between a tropical jungle and savannah bushveld is known for its good courses and ideal weather for golfing in Africa. However, nowhere else can you find such a perfect blend of wild and beauty than as at Elephant Hills Golf Club in Victoria Falls. Player took advantage of the local landscape to create the course, which is just 6,786 yards long. Located on a small hill overlooking the Zambezi River and just 2.5 miles from the thundering cascades of Victoria Falls, the lush wilderness setting is spectacular. Player used imported grasses, including Bermuda and bent, for the greens and fairways, which are lined with indigenous vegetation.

Just remember that if you must yell “fore!” that there’s a good chance the locals (of the four-legged variety) on the course won’t understand.

On the September 7, 2015, departure of Vantage’s Best of Africa: South Africa, Botswana & Victoria Falls, you have the opportunity to join an optional tour that includes golfing in Africa at four top courses. In addition to Elephant Hills Golf Club, play at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club, home of the Joburg Open; Royal Cape Golf Club in Cape Town, South Africa’s first golf club and a frequent host of the South African Open; and De Zalze Golf Club, set amid the verdant vineyards of the Cape Winelands in Stellenbosch. De Zalze hosted the 2006 World Amateur Team Championships.

Read the full itinerary and find more information about golfing in Africa on Best of Africa: South Africa, Botswana & Victoria Falls.

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