Limpopo / North West Top 10
Near Bela Bela - Limpopo
General manager and golf director: Chris Clayton
Greenkeeper: Jerry Khonziwe (Matko Group)
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 68.7 out of 100
Conditioning13.4 / 20
Playability13.9 / 20
Aesthetics12.3 / 15
Design Variety9.8 / 15
Shot Values9.8 / 15
Memorability9.5 / 15
Four tees / Par 72
Yellow 6829 metres, CR74.9/134
White 6445 metres, CR72.8/131
Blue 6023 metres, CR70.4/129
Red 5287 metres, CR66.8/119
Women’s blue, CR77.8/137
Women’s red, CR73.3/126
Visitor green fee
R620 Monday to Thursday
sharing golf cart
R695 Friday to Sunday
sharing golf cart
Peter Matkovich 2003
014 734 7708
67 (2021) & 54 (2020)
Zebula is one of the best golf resort experiences in Southern Africa. It’s a great getaway destination at any time of the year thanks to the pleasant Limpopo weather. Its multitude of facilities means that it caters for a wide diversity of visitors, from honeymoon couples to families to golfing groups. It is an ideal weekend escape.
Zebula was the first Waterberg golf resort/estate early in the new millennium and introduced the exciting concept of golf and wildlife in a malaria-free region close to Gauteng. Encountering herds of animals during a round is common, and the birdlife is bountiful. Although fairly deep in the Waterberg, a smooth tar road all the way from the town of Bela Bela to the main entrance of the resort makes it easily accessible.
Peter Matkovich’s spacious and attractive design enables golfers to enjoy the natural beauty and challenge of a uniquely African bushveld layout. The course is an interesting and varied modern design, mostly flat, shaped through the bushveld trees which add character to the landscape. Generously wide fairways and some broad greens benefit the average handicap golfer. The greens, with some challenging contours, are in good condition and provide slick putting surfaces. They have to be roped off at night to keep the animals from damaging them.
The main attraction for visitors is the variety of leisure activities within the 1600-hectare estate. You can view the animals (no predators) in every conceivable way, while playing golf, on horseback, riding a mountain bike, on walking trails with a ranger, and a quad bike.
Adults and kids have fun around the clubhouse, going on game drives, and enjoying educational interactions with wild raptors at the bird of prey rehabilitation centre. Quad bike and horse riding safaris are available for the more adventurous.
Zebula offers magnificent after-golf hospitality, either on the deck next to the massive practice putting green or on the upstairs terrace of the clubhouse.
Additional Course Facts
61 by Darren Fichardt, 2015 Vodacom Origins Final
Peter Matkovich has his usual risk-and-reward par 5 with a water hazard to finish the round on 18, and the back nine features another unusual par 5 at 15 with two separate fairways. Long hitters can venture down the left fairway to leave a shorter but riskier approach over rough bushveld to the green. The opening hole is a challenging par 4 with a sharp dogleg right around a stand of trees. The par-3 eighth is a beauty, surrounded on three sides by water.
Protea Zebula Lodge has a spa and adventure centre. An excellent resort at which to relax and enjoy the tranquillity of the bushveld, popular as a conferencing and team-building venue. There are various accommodation options on the property, suites close to the main resort building, rooms at the 5-star Waterberg Lodge in a quieter area, plus luxury homes to rent.
Zebula has a spacious range at the first tee with a short-game area. There’s a 5-hole mashie course for beginners and kids. And a large central putting green in front of the clubhouse. Teaching pro available.
Did You Know
1/ There is an airstrip close to the main resort building for guests and home-owners who prefer to fly in. Zebula offers Big 5 game drives in a neighbouring reserve.
2/ Sunshine Tour pro Darren Fichardt had a remarkable opening round in the 2015 Vodacom Origins Final. Starting at No 10 he had six consecutive birdies from 12 to 17, and eagled the par-5 18th to turn in 28. He eagled the par-5 second, and holed out at the par-4 third for a 2, the third eagle of the round. He was 12-under after 12. He had one more birdie, but two bogeys saw him sign for 61. He won on 14-under.
3/ The practice green in front of the main building is reputed to be the largest in southern Africa. All 18 greens on the course are roped off in the evenings to prevent game running on to them.
4/ GM Chris Clayton, a PGA of SA professional who has worked at Zebula for 14 years, has an albatross two to his name on the par-5 18th hole, and aces at 8 & 17.
2022 Hein Engelbrecht & Pam Senior
2021 Thinus Laas & Mariette Weideman
2020 No championships
2019 Thinus Laas & Charmain Kinsella
Course and Facilities Rating
The Limpopo bushveld can be visited at any time of the year with its superb climate. Zebula is close to Gauteng with great resort facilities, abundant wildlife, an excellent course, and superb service and entertainment. The 18 holes are in good condition with the greens running true. Zebula has a number of interesting holes, beginning with a demanding dogleg par-4 to a well-protected green among trees which catches your attention. The signature par-3 eighth with its water hazard is a beautiful hole with stunning aesthetics and an attractive green. The par-3 17th is another strong hole where the dam to the left of the green has been restored and will be full to the brim after summer rains. Zebula, combined with other bushveld gems in the Waterberg region, makes for an excellent tour group destination and base.
07 November 2022
Zebula's greens are superb, as good as I've seen them, and the conditioning of the Waterberg resort course is improving markedly. Surprisingly green at this time of year due to regular irrigation throughout the winter months. Being part of a game reserve, all 18 greens still need to be roped off overnight to deter animals from trotting over them. The antics of the wildlife on the course are part of the experience, and they often make you pause during the round. We watched a wildebeest having a sand bath in a fairway bunker, rubbing its back, leaving a calling card, and then dashing off. Plenty of bird species to be spotted. At the end of the day there was an excellent vibe around the outdoor 19th hole, and the enormous practice putting green was being put to good use by a large group of tourists.
03 November 2022
Well maintained course. Real test of golf.
29 March 2022
Good rains and an improved irrigation supply has transformed Zebula into a verdant oasis in the bushveld. The course conditioning keeps getting better, and while the fairways might not be as perfect as those at Gauteng courses, you have to consider that a few years ago there wasn't much grass on them. You can plainly see how much effort is being put by the staff into upgrading the visitor experience. The Sunshine Tour is happy with the results, awarding Zebula a European Challenge Tour event in March 2022. The pros are going to love the quality and speed of the greens. I like Zebula's par 3s, a varied quartet of challenging holes. The magnificent long 17th is enhanced by having water left of the green in what used to be a deep empty hole. It doubles up as a watering hole for the wildlife. And No 8 has a new back tee to increase the challenge of the tee shot to a green surrounded on three sides by water.
15 December 2021
This bushveld gem is in great condition. Greens hard, fast and unblemished. Bunkers consistent and well sanded. Programme underway to remove stones but this doesn't interfere with play.
17 May 2021
Zebula has undergone a transformation in both conditioning and presentation. The greens are among the best you can putt on and were running true. Significant work has been put into the course's irrigation programme, including measures to upgrade the system and reach. These efforts are delivering excellent results. The course is clearly headed in the right direction. It provides a good test with some small greens which demand accuracy. The bunkers have good consistency with only some minor debris clearing required to make them top notch.
13 May 2021
The course was extremely dry.
Zacharias van den Berg
12 February 2021
Fun course in the bush. Condition of the greens could be better. Some interesting holes and pretty par 3s. Vibey clubhouse with lots of holiday golfers. Families can be seen walking on paths around the course.
24 December 2020
Enjoyable course to play with a relaxed holiday feel.
22 December 2020
One of the delights of playing at Zebula is the range of animals and birdlife seen on the course. It adds to the enjoyment of the golfing experience. Some appear incredibly tame, the nyala especially, remembering that this is a game reserve and not just animals captive on a golf course. The best time to encounter wildlife is by playing in the late afternoon or early morning. I met a herd of zebra and giraffe on the 14th. The giraffe were shy, but the zebra weren't to be moved from their fairway feasting. A large family of mongoose were entertaining to watch on the 18th, and there was a small group of impala rams on No 6. One animal not popular with the maintenance staff at Zebula is the male wildebeest which enjoys digging up the kikuyu fairways. All the greens are roped overnight to prevent bigger animals trotting over them. The course itself is greener than it has been for some years, thanks to good rains and a new water supply to irrigate the fairways, which are a vast improvement on this time a year ago.
10 December 2020
Course in good condition and some rain would make it very good. Greens are very good, bunkers need work. Overall a great experience in the bush.
06 November 2020
The way I make the most of the Zebula experience is to stay overnight and savour the sights and sounds of the African bush at dusk and early morning. This is paradise. I rented a 4-bedroom house for the family close to the clubhouse. After golf I cooled off in a splash pool with cold beer in hand, and then lit a boma log fire. Up early to tee off again before the day visitors arrive, plus you see a greater variety of wildlife on the course.
27 January 2020
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