White 5819 metres, CR71.5/132
Blue 5234 metres, CR69.6/127
Red 4831 metres, CR66.5/118
Women’s blue, CR75.5/134
Women’s red, CR71.9/126
Affiliated R240 (9)/R320 (18),
Douw van der Merwe 2006
082 888 0188
If you don’t have the budget to play Leopard Creek but would love a round in similar bushveld terrain, then view elephants and hippo from the clubhouse deck, you should head along the N4 from Malelane to the 10-hole Kambaku course, in the railway town of Komatipoort, on the border with Mozambique. It’s 450 kilometres from Johannesburg.
Kambaku has undergone a transformation in recent years. There’s a fabulous clubhouse to complement the course, with an outside deck looking down on the wide reaches of the Crocodile River, where you can enjoy a plate of Tiger prawns with your chilled bottle of white wine.
The course is in a forest of impressively sturdy and imposing bushveld trees, which feature prominently in the design of each hole. It is in magnificent condition for what is essentially a country layout – cynodon grass from tee to green, a beautiful lush playing surface.
Kambaku lies on the confluence of the Crocodile and Komati rivers, and several holes overlook water, offering frequent sightings of wildlife. A 10-hole layout means three different par 3s, and of these you play only the eighth/17th twice.
The club cleverly created a signature tee box which enhances the Kambaku experience for visitors. On the highest point of the property an extra-high tee was built in reinforced concrete, where golfers overlook the forest canopy and the Komati River. From there you play downhill on the short par-4 fifth, with trees as hazards in the middle of the fairway, and also the par-3 14th.
Winter is the best time to visit Kambaku, as it is remains warm and ideal for golf without the summer humidity. The club’s annual tournament takes place in July.
Jacques Kallis & Rose Powell
Newly built putting green and Himalayan course for kids. Range suitable for short irons only.
A development programme has existed since 2011 for local Komatipoort children, and several have played in the Mpumalanga trials for Lowveld Schools. Those on the programme at times enjoy the privilege of using Harry van Dyk’s private 3-hole Novasun course a few kilometres away on the banks of the Crocodile River.
1/ The course is named after one of the Magnificent Seven bull elephants which once graced the Kruger National Park. Kambaku is a Shangaan word for “bloody big tusker.” He lived from 1930 to 1985 and his tusks, each weighing 64kg, are in the elephant hall at Letaba rest camp.
2/ The golf club is a community driven project relying on the support of farmers and business people. Everyone contributes some way or other. With a membership of 165, the support of donors enables the course to be kept in quality shape.
3/ Founding members built the course and laid the irrigation. Sugar and banana farmers Chris Basson and Harry van Dyk shaped the greens to USGA specs.
4/ Cricketing legend Jacques Kallis won the men’s club championship in 2019, and had his first hole-in-one on the course. Other cricketing members are Mark Boucher and Kevin Pietersen.
Kambaku is an absolute must for any golfer visiting the Kruger National Park. The bushveld 9-holer is in excellent condition considering the extreme temperatures in summer. Some interesting holes that can punish you if slightly offline. Great fairways and greens that are somewhat slow but roll true. Be sure to visit the stunning 19th hole on the river. The food is excellent and they generally have great drinks specials.
I loved playing Kambaku, because we had an excellent and knowledgeable caddie Bryan assisting us. I would recommend a caddie for the first-time visitor. There are some very good holes here and you pay for your mistakes. The greens roll true, and the course is in good condition. The beautiful 19th hole has a view to the Kruger Park.
Kambaku is an absolute treat. Having never travelled to Komatipoort we ventured to this 9-hole course not knowing what to expect. The greens, fairways and presentation were superb. The routing is interesting with the tee box changes providing variety between the front and back nines. The fifth is spectacular and provides true risk and reward options. The Par 5s are memorable with narrow landing areas and interesting greens. Kambaku must rank as one of our best short courses.
One of the very best 9-holers in South Africa; just a great experience for any visitor to this part of the world. The beautiful trees, the rivers, and in tremendous condition. A wonderful addition to our true bushveld courses. Best played outside the heat of the summer months.
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