Rovos Rail: A South African Experience like no other – part 2

A South African Experience like no other -­‐ part 2

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The African Golf Collage is a nine day, panoramic journey from Pretoria to Cape
Town (or in reverse) in which guests have the opportunities to participate in a
vast range of excursions ranging from game drives to city visits to visiting an
ostrich farm and a brandy distillery. The excursions are sometimes offered as an
alternative option to playing on world standard golf courses: Leopard Creek at
Kruger, Durban Country Club, Humewood in Port Elizabeth, Fancourt and Ernie
Els Oubaai in George. However, even if golfers want to play each of the five
courses there are still excursions which don’t conflict with the schedule for
golfing; such as the visit to the KWV Brandy Distillery, the visit to Highgate
Ostrich Farm and the game drives.
Upon departure guests are immediately immersed into the South African
scenery as they can see the vast greenery and mountains that make up the
Drakensburg escarpment whilst en-­route to Kruger. An exciting morning awaits
the golfers as they are invited to tee off at the wildlife-­filled Leopard Creek
course whilst non-golfers will enjoy a game drive in the famous Kruger Park.
Overnight, the train will conEnue to travel south to Hluhluwe where all guests
will experience a game drive through the Hluhluwe Game Reserve where a
wide variety of game can be spotted in scenic surroundings.

Sur le trajet du "ROVOS" de "Buffelsjagsrivier" à Cape Town. Sur le trajet du "ROVOS" de "Buffelsjagsrivier" à Cape Town.
On the third morning of the journey the golfers tee off at Durban Country Club
whilst the non-­golfers remain on the train which ascends through the Valley of
Thousand Hills where incredible views for miles ahead can be seen. The
journey conEnues the following morning where all guests take a tour of
Bloemfontein which is home to the Botanical Gardens as well as an Orchid
House. The city is known as the “fountain of flowers” due to fact that there are
over 400 rose trees planted within the city.
Guests are invited on another game drive to the Addo Elephant Park, known
for its huge herds of elephants whilst golfers take on the challenge of
Humewood Golf Course. Guests will then be invited to visit Highgate Ostrich
Farm in Oudtshoorn where guests can feed ostriches as well as purchase any
ostrich cuisine, golfers then leave the train to play at Fancourt whilst the train
makes another breath-­‐taking descent into George through the rolling hills of
the Montagu Pass.
Non-­golfers will get the chance to relax in the exquisite surroundings of Knysna
and the lakes of the Garden Route while golfers play at Oubaai. The train then
travels through Mossel Bay and varied scenery towards the vast Cape
winelands. On the last day all guests are invited to the KWV Brandy DisEllery
before ending their once in a lifetime trip in Cape Town.

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Many guests that have travelled on the Rovos Rail describe the experience as
“stepping back in time” which can only be due to the sheer elegance of the
interior of the train with wood-­panelled rooms and beautiful furnishings as
well as the antique sebng upon the train and the calm and serenity
throughout the trip.
The Leopard Creek course is rated as the number one golf course in South
Africa undoubtedly because of the rolling scenery and bushveld surrounding
the course as well as the wildlife present around and within the course
boundaries. This course is ocen described as being “a golfer’s heaven” and is
not to be missed.
Durban Country Club’s course is universally considered to be one of the finest
layouts and is regularly ranked as one of the world’s top 100 golf courses. The
course is set on the edge of the Indian Ocean and amongst rolling sand dunes
and tropical vegetation which facilitate the incredible views which can be
enjoyed from this course.
The Links course at Fancourt is rated number two in South Africa and it’s easy
to see why, it represents a unique and difficult golfing experience. The
Outeniqua Mountains provide a stunning backdrop to the course making it one
of the most scenic golf courses you may every get the opportunity to play.
The Rovos Rail experience is one not to be passed up on and the African Golf
Collage combines the perfect golf courses, the highest quality food, drink as
well as service with the beautiful and breath-taking scenery of South Africa
making it an unforgettable and unmissable experience.

 

Rovos Rail: A South African Experience like no other ‐ part 1

A South African Experience like no other ‐ part 1

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The Rovos Rail Company was established in 1989 and has earned a reputation
for being the provider of the finest luxury train journeys in the Southern
Hemisphere and it isn’t hard to see why; from the polished crystal glasses to
the varnished wood and brass panelling to the fine bone china everything
is upper class aboard a Rovos Rail train.
South Africa is arguably one of the most magical countries in the world with its
diverse and beautiful scenery which covers the entire country. Rovos Rail gives
the opportunity for guests to take in this incredible and breath-­taking scenery,
seldom seen by others, whilst embarking on a world-­class travel experience
including fine dining, spacious living quarters and magical experiences both on
and off of the train.
Paul O’Hagan’s article in Golf Monthly Magazine epitomises exactly why the
Rovos Rail trips are so successful and popular with golfers and non-golfers alike.
Paul chose the Golf Safari trip for his honeymoon which is an eight night trip
giving golfers the opportunity to play on five fantastic golf courses as well as
take part in excursions with the non-­golfing guests. The Golf Safari starts from
Pretoria heads north up to Sun City, then south to Durban on the Indian Ocean
coast before heading north through Swaziland and back to Pretoria. Rovos Rail
also offer six other journeys ranging from short two night trips to a fifteen day
trip from Cape Town to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
Paul O’Hagan described the balance between relaxation and off-­train
experiences as “just right”; guests are given an itinerary for excursions but
there is always plenty of time to relax and just enjoy the scenery as the train
rolls through. Each Rovos journey includes multiple game drives as both a
replacement to golf and an extra for golfers but the other excursions are
different due to the different cities that are visited in each trip. Guests are
given the opportunity to do city tours along the way which gives guests the
chance to experience even more of the South African scenery and culture of
this special place.

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It seems that part of the draw of the Rovos Rail adventures is the style in which
they are taken in. Paul O’Hagan likens the food and wine to that of a top-­class
restaurant and even mentions the sommeliers who can make
recommendations which only begins to demonstrate the luxury with which
guests are presented with when they embark on a Rovos Rail adventure. It also
seems that the Rovos Rail adventures are not just attractive to an exclusive group of people but rather attractive to anyone who is interested in soaking up some of
the wonderful scenery and culture of a magical place – as Paul O’Hagan
explained – a typical Rovos passenger doesn’t exist! Even The Golf Safari was
packed with non-­‐golfers which just goes to show that although golfers are
offered the chance to play world renowned courses; the scenery and other
excursions are just as popular and sought after.

On the Golf Safari golfers are invited to play on five vastly different courses
which is described by Paul as “highlighting the fantastic variety of golf on offer
in South Africa”. On the Golf Safari golfers were invited to play five courses:
Lost City Golf Club, Champagne Sports Resort, Durban Country Club, The Royal
Swazi Golf Club and Leopard Creek. These courses all have something to offer
which is different from the last; the Lost City golf Course has around 28,000m²
of water – much of which is home to Nile crocodiles! There is also the
Champagne Sports Resort which has been rated as South Africa’s most
beautiful course and Durban Country Club’s exquisite views of the Indian
Ocean. However, not to be forgotten is the course at Leopard Creek which is
rated the number one course in South Africa; Paul O’Hagan described this
course as his “golfing highlight”. Being set on the border of the Kruger National
Park facilitates the viewing of some spectacular wildlife from some of the holes
and Paul mentioned the viewings of crocodiles and hippos – showing that even
on a golf course the natural beauty of South Africa is never far away.

Again, each trip offers different golf courses but there are overlaps in the
courses played by guests on different journeys but guests can be assured that
each course is hand-­picked to provide the best quality golfing experience for
them. Paul O’Hagan highlights the presence of the golfers on the trips being of
varying standards but how they are all “admirably catered for” and also how a
PGA professional accompanies each golfing excursion to help the golfers as well
as set up competitions for them, enhancing the overall experience of each
excursion.

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Paul O’Hagan describes himself as “left wanting more” at the end of the trip
and describes the journey as a special adventure that he and his wife will never
forget. This seems to be the general consensus of opinion after a Rovos Rail
adventure and shows how these trips really are a once in a lifetime experience.

Part 2 coming soon…..

PGA in England (South) & Golf Escapes Overseas Pro-Am (24th February – 1st March 2013)

Our 4th overseas pro-am, in conjunction with the PGA in England (South), was held for the first time in Benalmadena on Spain’s Costa del Sol. Having previously enjoyed successful events in Turkey and Portugal, everyone was keen to see how Spain would compare. A strong field of 19 teams arrived at the all inclusive Hotel Polynesia in Benalmadena, with many of the players arriving early to flee the cold weather in the UK and prepare their swings. This was surely going to be a competitive four days of tournament golf.

The evening of the 24th February saw the event formally got under way with a drinks reception and welcome meeting hosted by Peter Cowle & Mark Spratt from the PGA. This provided a wonderful opportunity for the teams to get together (not to mention size up the opposition!) in a social atmosphere, whilst we all listened to some formal rules and regulations regarding the tournament.

Day 1

We arrived at Torrequebrada for the first day of the tournament to bright blue skies but there was a cold wind blowing across the course, this was clearly going to be a testing day! This course is one of the most beautiful courses on the coast. Tight but not unfairly, you need to beware of the prevailing wind, trees, bunkers and water, a truly great golf course and a great test of golf. With a tee-off time at 0830 hrs, PGA Professional Christian Vine (Woodbury Park) was first on the tee with his team, comprising of Helen and Alan Kenworthy, with Will Godfrey.   The tournament was officially underway with a steady stream of eager teams arriving on the tee to collect their free golf balls, tees and tournament bag tags. Low scoring was always going to be a tough task, however after all the cards had been checked the leading professional was Chris Robinson (Portpatrick Dunskey Golf Club) with a fine round of 70, 2 under par.

 Day 2

The second day of the tournament saw the pro-am being played on the beautiful Santana course, one of the newest courses on The Costa del Sol, designed and built to a very high standard by Cabell Robinson who has used this orange and avocado plantation to create a wonderful course. Being slightly inland the players were blessed with bright sunshine and a welcoming gentle breeze, a relief after yesterday. The course was in exceptional condition and David Poulton from Leam Valley Golf Centre led the field away. We were expecting scoring to be better today and we weren’t disappointed with a pair of 69’s from Craig Ronald (Carluke Golf Club) and Jason McCreadie (Buchanan Castle Golf Club). McCreadie’s 69 was on the back of a level par 72 at Torrequebrada so he was leader in the clubhouse at 1 under par. All eyes were now on overnight leader Chris Robinson who held on to his lead with another 2 under par 70.

 

Day 3

We returned to Torrequebrada. Although the wind had dropped off  significantly since our first day there, along with the sun that was shining high in the sky, there was no doubt that all the players, both professional and amateur, were finding Torrequebrada the harder of the two courses. Chris Robinson shot a steady 75 but Jason McCreadie tied for the lead with a 74. We were nicely poised for the final day with both players on 1 under par.

 Day 4

The final round was played at Santana Golf Club, on a sunny day and the course was set up beautifully. We were now at the business end of the week as the leading players battled it out for their share of the £6000.00 prize fund. Lowest score of the week went to European Seniors Tour player Peter Mitchell (Le Mas Candille) with a superb closing 68. Fellow Seniors Tour player, Kevin Spurgeon (Ferndown Golf Club) and Scottish pro Craig Ronald (Carluke Golf Club) both fired rounds of 69 but the £6000.00 question was it going to be enough to overhaul Robinson and McCreadie at the top of the leaderboard? Robinson, out in the penultimate group, carded a closing level par 72 to finish the tournament on 1 under par so it was all down to Jason McCreadie who made a comfortable par on the final hole to sign for a closing 2 under par 70 which was enough to seal the victory with a total of 3 under par.   The closing ceremony and prize giving dinner was held at Hotel Polynesia, a great evening was had by everyone with the wine flowing freely. Jason McCreadie gave an excellent winners speech and Christian Vine (Woodbury Park) led his team of Helen and Alan Kenworthy and Will Godfrey to the team prize with the amateurs collecting a Sky Caddie each for the efforts.

The final morning had arrived and the reception was busy with golfers checking out for their flights home, there were a few bleary eyes after the previous night’s celebrations but one thing was certain, everyone was looking forward to returning again next year to contest the 5th Golf Escapes overseas pro-am. For excellent rates in Costa del Sol take a look at our website or feel free to contact a member of our sales team by clicking here or calling us at 01342-811777