The owner of luxury golf tour operator Chaka Travel, Mark Marais, recently whisked his wife Marcella off to explore South Africa aboard the luxury train Rovos Rail.
With a golf safari planned, he shared this blog piece with bunkered.co.uk about what would turn out to be an unforgettable journey..
A good friend from Ascot Tours arranged a private hire of Rovos Rail for a golf safari in South Africa and, having had my eye on this amazing luxury train and golfing adventure for a few years, we decided to join the Rovos trip.
On arrival, our bags were whisked away and we were taken into the cool colonial lounge. After a short briefing of what to expect, we crossed the elegant platform and boarded the train.
We stayed in a Royal Suite and the room certainly exceeded our expectations: large and spacious with a huge bed, free standing bath and, with its wonderful old fashioned ambience, we knew it was going to be a special week.
We joined our fellow travellers in the lounge and had pre dinner drinks before going back and getting dressed up for dinner. The four course dinner was simply superb and the rest of the week on the train proved seriously damaging to the waistline!
We played four rounds of golf: Legends Golf Course and the Extreme 19th, Zebula Golf Course, the Lost City Course at Sun City and Leopard Creek Golf Club (below).
Originally we were meant to be playing the Gary Player Country Club Course but, due to preparation work for the Nedbank Challenge, this was changed to the Lost City Course.
The Lost City course is a superb layout and was in great condition. Marcella had decided that she had enough time on safari and joined the golfers and we paired up with a couple from Belgium who were on their honeymoon!
Leopard Creek (below), meanwhile, had been on my bucket list for many years, as every November or December I watch the Alfred Dunhill Championship on TV and my homesickness for Africa rapidly builds.
The combination of the dry African bushveld, green fairways with superb finishing holes ending at the lake in front of a stunning thatched clubhouse really push all my buttons.
The course is very good throughout but the final holes are superb, lots of risk and reward holes all while enjoying amazing views over the Crocodile River and Kruger National Park.
Overall, the whole experience was superb. The train had large comfortable lounges and a super open-air seating area at the rear meant there was always space to relax on your own.
Even the non-golfers loved it. They spent a lot of time on safari in the different regions and, on the final day, saw 44 rhino – something I’ve never heard of before.