1st stop after leaving the airport Zimbali Golf and Country Club. Our original start time was 1130, but as we arrived by 0750 the kind man in the pro shop fitted us in at 0900. We joined another couple on the 1st tee called Lelane and Peter. We later learned they were from Sweden and on a golf tour with a group of 30. Needless to say their English was so much better than our Swedish (where is Birgitta when you need her?). Buggies or Golf Carts as they’re called here are mandatory for Zimbali and it soon became clear why. Long distances between greens and tees were one reason, but the tracks were windy, steep and through terrain that looked more like jungle than a cart path. My lesson with Richard paid dividends, my ball striking was solid, it was the greens and my putting that was poor but I still managed a reasonable 36 points. As we proceeded round the course I regretted hurrying to get of, as I didn’t put my camera in the buggy and the photo ops for wildlife were the best ever. When we reached the 2nd green it was surrounded by a troop of Vervet Monkeys. At first it appeared as if there were only 4 or 5 but as we drew near more were jumping from the trees. There were families of them, mums with suckling babes, aggressive males and some mischievous youngsters jumping round and playing. These monkeys appeared on at least another 4 or 5 holes as we went round. I did think to myself, it’s ok I’m playing tomorrow so I’ll get the pictures then. What I didn’t realise is clearly the Vervets and most animal life, bar midges don’t like the rain. There were also a family of deers, with roes, bucks and babies. The bird life was abundant with Haw Haws, cranes and various other species of bird. Below is an old photo of Vervets taken in 2019.
Golf finished for the first day we headed to our guest house in Ballito. It was very easy to find although the entrance and drive way are exceptionally steep, probably around a 35 degree incline up and round a sharp bend. There were quite a few steps up to the front of the house, but OMG the views are stunning. We got shown to our room by a very friendly host, he was charming. Each room is named after an animal and we’re in the Buffalo room. Our door has the carving of a buffalo and we have a buffalo print on the wall of our bedroom. The guest house, is laid out over two floors with reception, breakfast room and patio with plunge pool on first level, there are 7 bedrooms on the top level. All with small balconies and sea views of the Indian Ocean. With our patio doors open a cool sea breeze finds its way around the room and coupled with the relaxing sound of the ocean waves crashing over the boulders and up the beach this place is chilled to perfection. If you are ever passing this way I’d highly recommend the Zimbali View Eco Guesthouse as a unique place to stay. The decor captures the feel of rustic Africa, the atmosphere is chilled and the service is on par with the best establishments.
As you can see from the picture below the guesthouse is high up on the hill looking down to the seafront and out to sea, note the storm clouds they are gathering ready to dispense a deluge of rain.
Tummy rumbling, food beckoned, we headed on foot down to the seafront to a pub/restaurant with amazing views down the beach and out to sea called ‘The Galley’. We ordered two buttered prawn salads, a bowl of chips to share and 2 large G&Ts. For a good part of our meal we were amused by groups of youngsters playing on the edge of the water, waiting in anticipation for the big waves to crash over them. One lad got taken out by a wave and did a backwards somersault into the water. We also saw a surfer brave the rough seas. He had a short surf board and clearly knew what he was doing, but on his way out he got taken out a few times by some big waves. On returning to the guesthouse we found we had no power. It is not uncommon in SA to have regular power outages to reserve power. How lucky are we in the UK!!!
Picture 1) View from The Galley restaurant down the beach, picture 2) some beach sculptures from an enterprising youngster. As day passed into nighttime we watched as beach goers packed up, dried off and headed home.
Day 3, woke early having slept for 13 hours. Breakfast was between 8 and 9, the seating around the tables took in the magnificent sea views. What better way to start the day than gazing over the Indian Ocean watching the waves caress the beach with each roll of thunder washing the white sea foam to the waters edge. Breakfast was a chilled affair with lots to choose from and a freshly cooked English breakfast consisting of local produce.
A quick turn around after breakfast and we were of to Zimbali Golf and Country club for our second round. Unfortunately the weather was a little wet and although ready with my camera those damn monkeys clearly don’t like coming out in the rain. The only wild life I had to deal with was the mossies and hubby 😂😂😂. Not sure which was most annoying; the mossies I could fend off with an abundance of insect repellent, but hubby and his golf tantrums not so easy. He’s his own worse enemy, the more annoyed he gets the worse he plays, negative thoughts beget negative golf. The old adage, never look back, as life is ahead of you, is the same in golf, what is done, is done move on and do better next time.
Zimbali was a lovely course, good greens and some challenging holes, great pro,s shop with an amazing array of ladies clothes. I even got my Xmas present here albeit 6 weeks late 😂.
Supper beckoned, as weather was still unsettled we drove down to Al Pescatore Italian restaurant on the front at Ballito. My chickens skewers were good but Rogers creamy pasta a little too rich for him. Service was slow so not sure I’d return. Parking is always fun in South Africa as there is always someone who voluntarily looks after your car and you then pay. The chap outside the restaurant had been there all evening and when we gave him 10 rand he was delighted, this is equivalent to around 50p at home.
Our balcony in the rain