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Kambaku

Komatipoort - Mpumalanga

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Club manager: Jacq Nel
Greenkeeper: Harry van Dyk
Club captain: Danny Cato
President: Piet van Dyk

COURSE SUMMARY

Three tees / Par 72

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

Visitor Green Fee

Affiliated R240 (9)/R320 (18),
Seniors R120/R165
Non-affiliated R340/R480,
Seniors R195/R240

Course designer

Douw van der Merwe 2006

Contact

082 888 0188
www.kambakugolf.co.za

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.

Additional Course Facts

Club Champions

Jacques Kallis & Rose Powell

Practice Facility

Newly built putting green and Himalayan course for kids. Range suitable for short irons only.

DEVELOPMENT

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.

Did You Know

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.

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19th Hole
Course Etiquette
Course Reviews
Kambaku is one of the best bushveld golfing experiences in South Africa, and later this year it is only going to get better, as this 9-holer on the Mozambique border will have new holes and a new routing. A "wow factor" short par 4 with an island green is being built on the banks of the Crocodile River which flows past the clubhouse. It will play as the eighth and 17th. Kambaku will become more of a "hybrid" layout with 12 greens, similar to Gowrie Farm, with four separate par 3s. Kambaku is not only a course of interesting variety, with beautiful river views on several holes, it boasts exceptional conditioning. With its large swathes of green fairways (hardy cynodon grass to cope with the heat) among the bushveld trees it resembles in places Augusta National meets the Kruger National Park. You cannot leave without a cold beverage on the clubhouse deck overlooking the river. It was busy with visitors having lunch, many of them non-golfers drawn to this special destination.
Stuart McLean
23 March 2022
Played Kambaku for the first time. It is undoubtedly one of SA's best 9-hole courses. Clever tee variations and options allow for the course to be set up as two different nines. The eighth hole is a superb risk-reward par 5 of 538 metres (stroke 1) with the approach to the green protected by a large "island jungle" inclusive of fully grown trees set up in the middle of the fairway. A "bucket list" course for any avid golfer.
Trevor King
26 January 2022
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Kambaku for me rates among the best 9-holers (or non-18-holers to be precise) in South Africa. The condition of the course, the clubhouse experience with those solid wooden tables on the outside deck, the views of the Crocodile River and the wilderness from the clubhouse, makes this one of the most special of golf course experiences.
Bereng Paul Mokoena
13 January 2022

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.

Craig Gunther
16 February 2021
A gem that is unfortunately off the beaten track and will not be played by the number of visitors it deserves. The conditioning is exceptional when taking into account the extreme summer heat as well as limited funds and staff. The variation in tees ensures that you do not feel you are playing the same hole twice during a round; a problem many 9-holers suffer from. However, the playing sequence of holes must be revisited, as playing the short par 3 in front of the clubhouse twice, and as the finishing hole, weakens the course. The previous sequence of playing the long par-3 seventh twice and finishing on the long par-5 17th is a better option.
Jaco Ackermann
19 December 2020

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.

Philip Malan
10 December 2020
It's quite a journey to Kambaku, another 110 kilometres east of Nelspruit, yet the golfing experience is worth the drive. It's an exceptionally well conditioned course for a remote 9-holer, lush cynodon grass from tee to green. The clubhouse overlooks the Crocodile River and is a delightful place to relax. The course is well designed with some testing and interesting holes, and plentiful trees play a part in those challenges. The greens are large, and that on the first hole is the scariest of them all, one from which you'll be happy to walk off with a two-putt. The course has two superb par 5s, a par 4 where many golfers can drive the green, and three separate par 3s, two of which you only play once. For me the weakest par 3, No 9 and 18, is the one you play twice in 18 holes, because of its situation next to the clubhouse. Both tee shots are played from virtually the same area.
Stuart McLean
06 December 2020

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. 

Jon James
29 November 2020

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.

Stuart McLean
25 February 2020
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