The Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar is situated on the Swahili Coast, just off mainland Tanzania. In strict geographical terms, it’s an archipelago of small islands and two large ones named Pemba and Unguja, with the latter informally called Zanzibar.
The 9-hole layout at Sea Cliff Resort & Spa is the only golf course on the island and it lies on the northwest coast of Zanzibar, a mere half an hour’s drive north of Stone Town, the UNESCO World Heritage site comprising the old quarter of Zanzibar City.
Set out by Peter Matkovich and opened for play in 2015, the course meanders through an old sand quarry and past a mangrove swamp, with two of the finishing holes routed alongside the Indian Ocean – indeed, the beach runs alongside the par four 7th and forms a spectacular backdrop to the par three 9th.
During construction, the architect regularly visited the site to ensure his design was adhered to and the attention to detail is evident, with a variety of holes – short and long par threes, driveable short par fours and a couple of fun par fives – to test your game or simply offer the pleasure of playing.
Although the facility is open to visitors, the hotel ensures preferential rates and times for its own guests so keep that in mind if planning a round here as a casual, daily green fee paying golfer.
Sea Cliff is the only golf course in the amazing but small Island of Zanzibar.
I traveled from the eastern part of the Island to play those exclusive nine holes and it took me about an hour drive to go there. It certainly was worth it. It was the most remote place I ever played and just because of that I felt specially privileged.
The 9th hole short PAR 3 green is literally by the water. Just two steps and you can dive directly in the warm waters Zanzibar just after making that birdie, or maybe you can try to drown yourself after making that ugly bogey :-)
I'm rating it as EAGLE because it is the only place to play the game I love and it takes a lot of courage to build a course in such a remote place. It was in great condition when I played it (August 2016) but it obviously lacks most of the luxuries of EAGLE and ALBATROSS courses in Europe and US.