Having heard much in praise of Zebula Golf Estate and Spa, my curiosity had been piqued. How does one please a group of people with diverse interests at one destination? Amongst our family alone, we have a golfer, spa and wildlife enthusiasts. When I finally got there and heard the exclamations of excitement emanating from my family, I knew that the accolades were well-deserved.
Zebula Golf Estate and Spa is just over 2 hours away from Johannesburg and 45 km from Bela Bela, in the malaria-free Waterberg region of Limpopo. The spectacular all-encompassing venue covers 1100 - hectares of undulating tree-covered hills and vast plains, beautifully punctuated with an abundance of dams and waterholes. Golf and spa estates in South Africa are plenty but Zebula Golf Estate and Spa is unique in that is a golf, spa and wildlife destination.
We were welcomed by the sight of our very own rock pool and boma outside our accommodation, the aptly-named African Dream House. Ideal for family get-togethers and corporate events, this spacious house with Afro-chic décor is an entertainer’s dream. The thatched, earth-toned deluxe homes are unobtrusive, barely visible from one another. Ours had two huge bedrooms with their own luxurious bathrooms featuring jet spa baths and double showers. Huge windows and sliding doors throughout the house boast panoramic vistas of the Waterberg Mountains and the Zebula nature reserve.
The state-of-the art kitchen caters for twelve settings and has a washing machine and tumble dryer, ideal for longer stays. It leads out on to the patio which has an outdoor dining table and lounge overlooking the rock pool. Upstairs, a pool table and an entertainment area with an ice machine made it easy for me to envisage entertaining large groups of people there. But my favourite part was the upper deck where one could lounge on the comfortable couches with a chilled drink in hand and watch the freely roaming non-predatory wildlife below as the orange sun set over the Waterberg Mountains and the pristine bushveld below. A dazzle of zebras, including a frisky baby, right outside our house, had me constantly mesmerised.
One of my first thoughts was that two nights would not be enough here. Even though I was loath to leave the African Dream House, there was so much to do at the resort. The Activity Centre organises game drives, quad-biking, paintball and night sky safaris (astronomical shows). The Sports Centre offers a fully-equipped gym, squash, tennis and volleyball courts. With such an abundance of activities, it’s no wonder that Zebula Golf Estate and Spa was awarded the "Best Tourist Wildlife Encounter Experience in Limpopo” at the Annual Lilizela National Awards.
The stunning Golf Course designed by Peter Matkovitch is carved out of the African bushveld. It traverses the natural terrain, blending harmoniously with the bush. At this golf course it’s quite normal to wait for a (real) “zebra crossing” before teeing-off and cheetahs pace up and down in the adjacent enclosure while they watch you get some practice shots at the driving range. My husband thoroughly enjoyed his game in the wild finding the Fairways to be very accommodating.
After all this activity, The Spa at Zebula is a tranquil haven with an indoor heated splash pool and a relaxation garden. On the open-air deck, overlooking the golf course and the cheetah enclosure, I was treated to a deluxe manicure by the friendly therapists while the automated massage chair pummeled the knots out of my back and shoulders.
Zebula Golf Estate and Spa really is an all-encompassing lifestyle destination – you can get your golf, wildlife and spa fix here. It offers a wide variety of accommodation including 20 chalets at the four-star Zebula Bush Lodge –some featuring outdoor showers and spa baths, 16 rooms at the five-star Waterberg Lodge, nine Zebula-owned rental houses for the ultimate privacy and luxury and 46 privately owned houses. Zebula Golf Estate is affiliated to Protea Hotels (which has recently been purchased by Marriott International). This means that Prokard members can reap their loyalty benefits here too.
There’s so much to do at Zebula Golf Estate and Spa that a weekend away may not suffice and you will find yourself, returning again and again like so many of their other guests - becoming a familiar old friend in the process.
Things you must do in South Africa