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Trip Report (Partial) - Golf in S.A. and Zimbabwe

My wife and I recently returned from a 23-night trip to S.A., Botswana and Zimbabwe. We did not go to play golf; we went primarily for the safaris and tours. However, we have found that whenever we can break up a touring schedule with some physical diversion, it helps to keep things fresh. So we chose to golf where our itinerary had some "softness". Consequently, 1 of our 5 days in Vic Falls was diverted to golf, as was 1 of our 5 days in Jo'burg.

In Vic Falls, we played at the Elephant Hills Intercontinental Hotel. The golf course borders the Zambesi River. Nice fairways; poorly maintained greens. Both the Intercontinental Hotel and its golf course appeared to be relatively empty. I felt sorry for the many caddies who were sitting around with nothing to do and no way to make any money.

The main charm of the Elephant Hills golf course is the animals which habituate it. I often had groups of vervet monkeys watching me tee off, while warthogs gnowed at the ground nearby. Impala usually kept their distance, but ofter left piles of "presents" on the greens which had to be cleared away to put. You wanted the waterbuck to keep their distance simply because of their size; and they did.

The highlight of our round of golf was when 2 groups of vervets were arguing face to face in the middle of a fairway. One of my wife's shots, at the very end of its roll, touched one of the vervet leaders on the arm. He appeared to think that it was one of his "team members" who had hit him, and he began chasing him. That ended the inter-vervet arguments, at least for that moment. All-in-all, we had a very nice day with the animals; the golf was O.K., too.

In Johannesburg, we golfed at the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club. I made those arrangements over the internet. Even though apartheid ended 10 years ago, it still was of interest for me to play there.

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