Africa Golf Safari
Mark Marais

Mark’s Favourite African Golf Courses

Travel Tales

Hello, fellow golfers! I’m Mark Marais, CEO of Africa Golf Safari, and a man whose love for golf has taken me around the globe over the past three decades. I recently set off on a 3.5-month golfing adventure across Africa, visiting South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, and Zambia. As a native Zimbabwean, returning to the continent where my passion for golf began was nothing short of extraordinary. Today, I want to share my top five mainland African golf courses, each offering a unique blend of challenge, beauty, and unforgettable experiences.

1. The Links Course at Fancourt, South Africa

Picture this: a crystal-clear day, not a breath of wind, and the majestic mountains standing sentinel in the background. That was my experience at The Links at Fancourt. This course is so perfectly designed that if it weren’t for the unmistakable African sun, I could have sworn I was back on a links course in Ireland. The most memorable day on this tough but fair course was when I managed to shoot under my handicap – a rare feat and made more enjoyable by the rugged charm of traditional links with the raw beauty of South Africa.

2. Royal Harare Golf Club, Zimbabwe

As a Zimbabwean, Royal Harare holds a special place in my heart. Established in 1898, this course is a testament to the golden age of golf course design, where courses were crafted to fit the natural lie of the land. There’s something wonderfully nostalgic about walking its fairways, lined with mature trees and whilst playing here feels like stepping back in time the challenges are as contemporary as ever. The highlight for me is having a sundowner with my fellow countrymen chewing the fat about Nick Price and others who have graced this magnificent course.

3. Bonanza Golf Course, Zambia

The Bonanza Golf Course in Zambia is a true test of skill and strategy. One of my favourite aspects of Bonanza is the sheer variety of challenges it offers. The wide fairways may seem inviting, but the punishing rough quickly reminds you to manage your shots carefully. This course at times demands a conservative approach, with numerous water hazards providing those thrilling risk-and-reward opportunities.

4. Vipingo Ridge, Kenya

If you’re looking for a golf course that combines stunning views with a touch of wildlife, Vipingo Ridge in Kenya is one of my favourites. Situated on a ridge with breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean and with a cooling sea breeze this course offers the unique experience of playing alongside giraffes and other plains game. I love walking the courses and my playing partner was an off duty caddie and we had a really enjoyable game whilst sorting out Africa’s problems!

5. Omeya Golf Club, Namibia

Omeya Golf Club is where I experienced true Namibian hospitality. Playing here during a corporate day, the members made me feel incredibly welcome, and the après-golf was as memorable as the round itself. The course has lovely views of surrounding mountains and is set in a harsh dry savannah dotted with gnarly Camelthorn trees. The combination of natural beauty and warm hospitality makes Omeya a standout in my golfing adventures.

Honourable Mentions

While these five courses hold a special place in my heart, I must give a nod to Leopard Creek and Muthaiga. Both are world-class courses that narrowly missed making my final cut but are definitely worth a visit for any serious golfer. The trip that I’ve taken to Africa’s golf courses has been nothing short of spectacular. Each course provided a balance of obstacles and beauty, making each course an adventure. If you ever find yourself on this magnificent continent, make sure to bring your clubs and experience these gems for yourself. Happy golfing!

Mark Marais
CEO, Africa Golf Safari