The former mining town of Phalaborwa is situated on the western edge of the Kruger National Park, a couple of hours drive away from the Mozambique border. The town has reinvented itself as a modern tourist destination and one of its major attractions is the Hans Merensky Golf Estate.
Named after the German mining geologist who came to South Africa in 1904 to make his fortune discovering tin, platinum, diamonds (and more locally, phosphates and copper), the Hans Merensky course was established in 1967 as the place “where golf meets African wildlife.”
The course was designed by Bob Grimsdell and it’s considered one of his best layouts. It hosted a Sunshine Tour event in the 1980s which saw regular confrontations between golfers and animals.
For golfers who choose to stay here, there are thatch-roofed chalets discreetly positioned beside the 11th and 12th fairways. The four par fives on the scorecard are all very good holes, particularly the 16th where a pulled or hooked drive will end up in the Park next door!
Don’t be surprised to see elephants, antelopes, giraffes, monkeys and baboons in and around the perimeter of fairways, whilst hippos and crocs can be found at some of the water hazards. Cameras are not mandatory equipment at Hans Merensky but they are highly recommended!