Mbombela is thought to be South Africa’s oldest 18-hole true bushveld course. And it survives in one of our major cities, undisturbed by all the development around it. True bushveld layouts can be found in several different regions, principally in the north of the country, and are defined by the range of mature indigenous trees framing and shaping the holes (Mbombela has some majestic ancient giants); dry conditions which allow for firm and unpredictable fairway bounces (Mbombela’s sloping fairways need to be carefully navigated); rough veld grass off the fairway; and a diverse variety of wildlife sharing the course with golfers (the scorecard innovatively has a lengthy checklist of creatures to tick off). A multitude of bird species can be spotted, although you have to play early in the day to do that. Snakes too. I was shown a few cracks among the rocky koppies and trees where deadly black mambas reside. Other than the greens being too soft for my liking (the heat) Mbombela was a treat to play.