After more than two years in the making, Phakalane Golf Estate has risen up from Botswana’s hot, arid scrubland. Located a mere 15 kilometres from Gaborone, Botswana's capital city, Phakalane is a golfing haven with 15 dams, which have been used to create tricky water hazards.
Douw van der Merwe of DDV Golf Design designed the course and it opened for play in June 2002. With a brand new clubhouse and the largest pro shop in Botswana, Phaklane has set the standard.
The following article was written by Nigel Jones – Lord Jones of Cheltenham:
I first visited Botswana in 1999 as a member of a Parliamentary delegation. We arrived at Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone to be greeted by 100,000 cheering locals. How quaint, we thought, so many people turning out to greet representatives of the former colonial power. Actually, Botswana, or Bechuanaland as it was called formerly, was never a colony. It was a protectorate. But no, they were not there to greet us. They were there to welcome the newly crowned Miss Universe – Mpule Kwelagobe, the reigning Miss Botswana. I can confirm she is beautiful – and very intelligent. I can also confirm that her mother, nearer to my age group, is also on the pretty side of normal. The wife would no doubt intervene.
Eventually, after several visits, I discovered the Gaborone Golf Course, next to the Gaborone Sun Hotel – adequate for those interested in exercising between meals.
But then, on contacting Seeff, a local estate agent, I was taken to the Phakalane Golf Estate, about fifteen kilometres north of the capital city. This is a proper golf course. Eighteen holes of manicured greens interspersed with daunting water hazards and an array of bunkers. Three hundred or so houses surround the course, with eighty or so bordering the holes themselves. It is paradise.
It took a moment or so to persuade her indoors that we should invest in a house on the course. Admittedly it is almost three times as large as our home in Cheltenham. But the cost – around £200,000 – was a snip. Where on earth could you purchase a palace in paradise for such a small amount of money?
Of course it's not just the golf course. The clubhouse presents a delightful array of facilities. Feel a little under the weather? Book a table at Drotsky's, the up-market clubhouse restaurant and enjoy the latest in nouveau cuisine alongside an array of wines, mainly South African. And will it cost you a fortune? No. You will emerge satisfied with your pocket book still intact for tomorrow's events.
The course itself is challenging. Those who, like me, are never likely to feature on a winners' list, will enjoy the walk round the course. Avoid the warthogs if you can. The monitor lizards tend to stay near the water. There are no predatory cats although the four hundred or so varieties of birds may slow you down a little. I think an elephant or two would add to the excitement, while the eighteenth presents varieties of squirrels which scuttle away as you address your approach shot.
If you gain the impression that this is a course for those who prefer the wider view of life you will be correct. Yes, it is a wonderful course for the purist. But there is so much more. Wildlife, scenery, and the fabulous, competitively priced mansions all add to the experience.
Yes, we are there for a long time. You could be there too, ready to reap the reward from the bid to house fans for the 2010 Football World Cup.
Lesang Magang, the delightful manager of the estate will show you round. Frankly, if you decide you would prefer to be elsewhere then I would doubt your sanity. The President of Botswana is to have his retirement residence on the estate. You could be here too. What's stopping you?"