Rovos Rail Golf Safari

Rovos Rail Golf Safari Map

Rovos Rail (Luxury Train) has designed a delightful ten-day Golf Safari to entertain the most discerning player; with optional excursions for non-playing guests at all venues.

Travel from Pretoria to Sun City* in the hills of the Pilanesberg for game viewing. Cross the spectacular Drakensberg Mountains to Spionkop*; the perfect base for exploring the mountains, bush, birds, and battlefields of the region. Traverse the scenic Valley of a Thousand Hills to Durban* for a tour of the city and botanical gardens. Interact with artisans as they create highly decorative and geometric-shaped candles. The game viewing continues at Hluhluwe in Zululand; one of the oldest reserves in the country, Mkhaya*; eSwatini’s refuge for endangered species, and the world-famous Kruger Park in Malelane*; after which this memorable journey ends in Pretoria.

Skip to Rates and Departure Dates

*Course selection on the Rovos Rail Golf Safari is dependent on the availability
Sun City Gary Player or Lost City,
Champagne Sports Resort,
Durban Country Club or Beachwood,
Royal Swazi,
Highland Gate.

This safari travels the northeastern reaches of South Africa and will entertain the most avid golfers with a delightful itinerary for non-playing guests.

A second golf itinerary has been designed called Rovos Rail South African Golf Collage. The southbound journey starts in Pretoria to Kruger National Park, Hluhluwe, Durban, Drakensberg, Port Elizabeth, George to Cape Town. The northbound journey also includes Eswatini (Swaziland). Courses include Leopard Creek or White River or Mbombela (Nelspruit), Nkonyeni (Eswatini so on the northbound journey only), Durban Country Club or Beachwood or Zimbali, Champagne Sports Resort, Humewood, Fancourt, and Ernie Els Oubaai in Knysna.

Rovos Rail Golf Safari Itinerary

Rovos Rail Golf Safari Day by Day

Day 1

12 pm – Depart Rovos Rail Station, Pretoria. Guests may freshen up in their suites before meeting fellow passengers in the lounge car and observation car.
1 pm – Lunch is in the dining cars en route to Rustenburg.
4.30 pm – Tea is in the lounge and observation cars.
7.30 pm – Dinner is in the dining cars. Dress: Formal

The old town of Rustenburg grew as the church and administrative center for a rich farming area. It is here, in the center of a volcanic valley surrounded by the dun slopes of the Pilanesberg Mountains; a wilderness wonderland rises from the dust, the fantastical Sun City Resort. It was a vision realized through one man’s unshakable faith in the religion of tourism; the South African hotel prodigy Sol Kerzner.

Sun City Resort was officially opened on 7 December 1979 in what was then Bophuthatswana; which had been declared as an independent state by the apartheid government. This meant it could provide entertainment such as gambling; which was banned in South Africa. The UN had imposed a cultural boycott on South Africa in condemnation of apartheid. In the early 80s, several acts disregarded the boycott and performed; with substantial financial incentives from Kerzner to desegregated crowds at the venue; such as The Beach Boys, Cher, Liza Minnelli, Frank Sinatra, Status Quo, Rod Stewart, Elton John, and Queen. Today the resort is one of the world’s largest entertainment centers, a luxury theme park for grownup kids.

The two championship golf courses; one with crocodiles at the 13th hole; are bordered by the Pilanesberg National Park, which contains the Big Five and has a vigorous conservation program.

Day 2

Breakfast is from 6 am.
Golfers: Morning tee-off at Lost City or Gary Player Country Club with lunch at the club.
Non-golfers: 9 am game drive in Pilanesberg Game Reserve. Enjoy lunch at the club with the golfers and explore the Lost City.
5.30 pm – Return to the train.
7.30 pm – Dinner on board the train en route to Heidelberg.

Lost City Golf Course, Sun City (Carts Compulsory)

The Lost City Golf Course is an 18-hole desert-style golf course with spectacular views across the bushveld. Unique to this 72-par course is the most hazardous 13th hole. Inhabiting the water hazard are 38 crocodiles; some of them nearly two meters long. Golfers should not retrieve their wayward balls from the croc-infested pool. This unusual water hazard is just one of the features that make the Lost City Golf Course exciting and interesting to play.

The course was carved out of undulating and rocky terrain. Situated over a hill from the Gary Player Country Club, the Lost City’s layout is different in character. With the wide fairways and receptive greens, it is a fantastic golf experience for golfers of varying standards. The Lost City golf course covers more than 100 hectares and incorporates 28 000 square meters of water features; not surprisingly golf carts are compulsory.

Designer, Gary Player has acknowledged it as one of his favorite courses. The Lost City Golf Course is flexible, playing off the forward tee, a course length of 5 953 meters; extending to 6 983 meters off the back tee. The course provides spectacular views. Playing the back nine at Lost City Golf Course is like going on a golf safari.
In addition to the previously mentioned 13th, holes 11, 14, 15, and 16 are all played from elevated tees; offering thrill, excitement, and challenge to the golfer; with some of the most spectacular African views; to be had on a golf course.

Luxury Train golf safari
Sun City Lost City Golf Course

Gary Player Country Club, Sun City (no carts)

The Gary Player Country Club is perhaps South Africa’s most famous course; thanks to the annual Nedbank “Million Dollar Golf Challenge”; hosted here since 1981. Naturally, the “Black Knight” (Gary Player) designed the course and it’s one of the longest courses in the country; stretching out beyond 7,000 meters from the tips.

Topographically the land is relatively flat but; don’t let that lull you into thinking that this is a boring course because it certainly is not. Routed through the bush, past lakes, and strategically placed bunkers this is a serious test for any golfer. The greens here at Gary Player Country Club are simply stunning. Some are shaped like kidneys and others like clover but all the greens are well protected by cunning bunkers, water hazards, swales, or mounds.
The par fives at the Gary Player Country Club are especially exciting but; the 9th will stick in the memory for eternity. This is a genuine three-shot-hole for most golfers but; if you are a long hitter you might be tempted to go for the island green in two.

Day 3

Day at leisure en route to Ladysmith.
The train climbs to Majuba Hill; site of the decisive battle that ended the First Anglo Boer War; then passes Newcastle, which has what is reputed to be the largest cella-dome Hindu temple in the southern hemisphere; and Glencoe, site of the first battle of the Anglo Boer War and now the center of the province’s coalfields.

Day 4

6 am: Breakfast is in the dining cars until departure.

Golfers
Transfer (±60 min) to Champagne Sports Resort for tee-off and lunch.
5 pm: Return to the train.

Non-Golfers
9 am: Transfer (±30 min) to Spionkop Lodge to hear the historic tale of the Battle of Spionkop and walk in the footsteps of Churchill and Gandhi. Enjoy lunch at the lodge.
2 pm: Afternoon game drive in the 11 000-acre Reserve, OR relax at the lodge.
Return to the train at 4 pm.
4.30 pm: Tea is in the lounge and observation cars.

Both Golfers and Non-Golfers
7.30 pm Dinner is in the dining cars.

Shortly after Chieveley, on the right of the track; stands a memorial to Winston Churchill who was captured here; in November 1899 while trying to free an armored train trapped by a Boer ambush.

Champagne Sports Resort Golf Course, Drakensberg Mountains (Carts Available)

This golf course, located in the beautiful Central Drakensberg area; has to be rated as one of the most scenically memorable golf layouts in South Africa. In fact, the whole resort, and the facilities will forever be imprinted on the visitor’s mind.

The golf course undulates, sometimes severely and sometimes gently, up and around the natural contours of a valley; that nestles under the dominant peaks of Champagne Castle and Cathkin Peaks Mountains. Hugh Baiocchi and Kevin Curren’s design has received deserved accolades for successfully blending the natural attributes of the terrain and the surrounding beauty; with the modern demands of a quality golf course.

The Champagne Sports Resort at 7 400 meters is a long par 72, with the first three holes being particularly hard work when walking the course. Those that are not so fit are advised to make use of a golf cart. The weather patterns of the area have a marked effect on the experience to be encountered here. In summer everything is lush green, while in winter; due to the winter frosts, the mood changes to a rusty brown as (except for the greens) the grasses die. Apart from the visual differences, this has little effect on the playing of the golf course (though there is more roll on the brown fairways in winter); especially as the quality of the greens remains constant throughout the year.

Champagne Sports Resort Golf Course
Champagne Sports Resort Golf Course

Day 5

5 am: Breakfast is in the dining cars until departure.

Golfers
Transfer to Durban Country Club OR Beachwood (both take approximately ±15 min) for tee-off and lunch.

Non-Golfers
9 am: Enjoy a Durban city tour, a visit to the botanical gardens, and lunch at Umhlanga’s beachfront; with an afternoon at leisure.

Durban is the third-largest city in South Africa and enjoys great importance due to its industry and very large port.

Both Golfers and Non-Golfers
4.30 pm: Tea is in the lounge and observation cars.
7.30 pm: Dinner is in the dining cars en route to Hluhluwe.

DURBAN COUNTRY CLUB

Built by George Waterman and fellow professional golfer Laurie Waters; the Durban Country Club was established in 1922 and has a proud history. Renowned for its classic Cape Dutch architecture, lush vegetation, undulating fairways, sand dunes, and beautiful setting overlooking the Indian Ocean; the club has been the venue of choice for many an important celebration in its rich history.
Signature Hole: 3rd – par 5 – 468m: A tee shot from the highest point on the course into a valley below, completely exposing the drive to the ocean gusts. Trees on the right of the straightaway hole need to be avoided; as well as the large fairway bunker on the landing area to the left.

Rovos Rail Golf Safari tee-offs
Durban Country Club Golf Course

DURBAN BEACHWOOD

The seaside layout of Beachwood has deservedly received accolades for its immaculate conditioning. Originally designed by Sid & Jack Brews in 1930, it has always been famed for its narrow fairways and indigenous trees. When Beachwood amalgamated with Durban Country Club in the late 1990s; Gary Player’s design team was asked to upgrade and redesign some of the holes while introducing additional hazards. The results are to be savored as one plays a course with clever bunkering and water features with superb greens. The land follows rolling and undulating contours allowing fairways to follow natural valleys between high grassy banks; requiring precision shots and lay-ups.
Signature Hole: 6th – par 4 – 410m: One of the most demanding holes; the 6th is set high in the dunes and doglegs left with a stream, bush, and water hazard to be negotiated en route to the green.

Day 6

5 am: Continental breakfast is served until departure.
6 am: Transfer (±30 min) to Hluhluwe for a game drive. As the oldest proclaimed reserve in Africa; Hluhluwe consists of 960km² of hilly topography in central Zululand and is known for its rich wildlife and conservation efforts. It is the only state-run park in KwaZulu-Natal; with all the Big Five game animals and is also a prime birding destination.
10.30 am: Return to the train.
12 pm: Lunch is in the dining cars. The train travels towards eSwatini. Border formalities take place.
4.30 pm: Tea is in the lounge and observation cars.
7.30 pm: Dinner is in the dining cars en route to Mpaka.

Day 7

6 am: Breakfast is in the dining cars until departure.

Golfers
Transfer (±90 min) to Royal Swazi Sun for tee-off and lunch.
4 pm: Return to the train.

Non-Golfers
7 am: Transfer (±60 min) to Mkhaya Reserve. Board your game drive vehicles for a game drive.
10 am: Transfer (±90 min) to Swazi Candles for a visit with lunch and an opportunity for curio shopping. At Swazi Candles, guests are invited to interact with the artisans as they make a variety of candles. Woodcarvings, colorful textiles, and superb basketwork are also on display.
Transfer (±15 min) to Royal Swazi to join the golfers AND / OR return to the train (±90 min).

Both Golfers and Non-Golfers
4.30 pm: Tea is in the lounge and observation cars.
6 pm: Depart for Komatipoort, South Africa. Border formalities take place.
7.30 pm: Dinner is in the dining cars en route to Malelane.

The tiny Kingdom of eSwatini (Swaziland) covers only 17 000km2, most of which is mountainous. In April 2018, Swaziland changed its name to the Kingdom of eSwatini (meaning “place of the Swazi”) and is an absolute monarchy. Eswatini borders South Africa and Mozambique therefore; it is landlocked.

Royal Sun Swazi Sun Golf Course, Swaziland (Carts Available)

The scenic beauty of the mountain vistas surrounding the Royal Swazi golf course is matched by the beautiful complexity of the lie of the trees, fairways, and greens. The sweeping par 72 is usually played to a length of 6 166 meters off the men’s tee. One of its dominant characteristics is that the back of the greens slopes away, punishing those who do not pitch with pinpoint accuracy. An overrun often takes the ball down into thick rough or bush.

The not-so-serious golfer should take time out (without delaying the field, of course) during the round to admire the views, birdlife, and the spectacular flora. The hibiscus, banana palms, acacias, and flamboyant trees are magnificent in the right season.

Royal Swazi Golf Course
Royal Swazi Golf Course

Day 8

Golf at Leopard Creek on request for your own account; if available.

5.30 am: Breakfast is in the dining cars.
6.30 am: Depart for your game drive in the Kruger National Park with tea, lunch, and an opportunity for curio shopping.
3 pm: Return to the train.
4.30 pm: Enjoy afternoon tea while the train travels west across the Drakensberg Mountains and climbs the spectacular escarpment.
7.30 pm: Dinner is in the dining cars.

Leopard Creek Golf Estate (Carts compulsory)

The championship Leopard Creek golf course is situated near Malelane, in the heart of Mpumalanga; on the southern border of the Kruger National Park. It is this location, on the banks of the Crocodile River; that allows for the true essence of Africa to be experienced while playing what is recognized; by international golf journalists, commentators, and players alike, as a world-class golf course.

The course is exceptionally well-manicured; and the memory will be of immaculate sweeping fairways, dramatic and sparkling water features, and quite superb greens. Gary Player describes Leopard Creek as, “ A blend of good golf holes, a balance of short, long and medium-length holes.”

The feature hole at Leopard Creek is the 13th. This is not only because of the challenge it presents; but also because the green overhangs the Crocodile River; allowing for spectacular views over the river and the Kruger National Park.

Day 9

7 am: Breakfast is served in the dining cars until departure.

Golfers

8.45 am: Transfer (±40 min) to Highland Gate for tee-off and lunch.
4 pm: Return to the train.

Non-Golfers
9.30 am: Visit the Birds of Prey Rehabilitation Centre.
11 am: Transfer(±30 min) to Walkerson’s Hotel for a presentation on flyfishing with lunch.
3 pm: Return to Dullstroom for an introduction to whisky distilling and a tour of the Arts & Crafts Centre.

Both Golfers and Non-Golfers
4.30 pm: Tea is served in the lounge and observation cars.
7.30 pm: Dinner is served in the dining cars.

Highland Gate Golf Course

Nestled in the Steenkampsberg mountain range near Dullstroom, the Highland Gate Golf & Trout Estate boasts an Ernie Els signature course. The 18-hole layout is set at some high altitudes; among some of the most scenic terrains in Mpumalanga.

Day 10

7 am – Enjoy breakfast as the train departs for Pretoria.
10 am – Arrive at the journey’s end at Rovos Rail Station.

Accommodation on Rovos Rail Golf Safari

All the suites offer passengers the opportunity to travel in privacy, comfort, and luxury, with fittings and facilities that are of the highest standard. The wood-paneled rebuilt sleeper coaches, remodeled and refurbished to mint condition, offer every modern convenience and comfort. In the en-suite bathrooms, original fittings combine with the modern technology of hot showers, hairdryers, and shaver plugs. All are equipped with a writing surface and a personal safe for valuables. There is also a bar fridge filled with beverages of the passengers’ choice and room service is available 24 hours a day.

See our Rovos Rail page for more detailed information on the accommodation on Rovos Rail.

Rovos Rail Golf Safari Rates and Departure Dates

2022

2022 Rovos Rail Golf Safari Rates:

Pullman Suite: R78 000
Deluxe Suite: R118 000
Royal Suite: R155 000

2022 Departure dates:

20th until 28th April 2022,
12th until 20th September 2022,
2nd until 10th November 2022

2023

2023 Rovos Rail Golf Safari Rates:

Pullman Suite: R84 000
Deluxe Suite: R127 500
Royal Suite: R167 500

2023 Departure dates:

15th until 24th February 2023
13th until 22nd September 2023
23rd October until 1st November 2023

Single Supplement: +40% on all suites

Rovos Rail Golf Safari Includes and notes

Includes
Rate is one way per person sharing and includes accommodation, meals, all alcoholic and other beverages, and 24-hour full room service. Limited laundry while on board the train, as well as excursions accompanied by a qualified tour guide (where applicable) and government tax.
Golf activities: green fees, carts (where available), halfway house, and beverages.

Please note that Gary Player is a walking course and the Lost City is compulsory carts. Should you require a Golf Cart on all courses, kindly provide us with a medical certificate to prearrange this service at the aforementioned courses.

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