It’s kind of hard to believe that I have been back in Cape Town for almost a week already, the experiences of my Garden Route Tour already placed in the memory bank for safe keeping and the reality of starting to work again very real!
Tomorrow I will be heading up to Jo’burg again to start my next overland journey through Southern Africa, so the next 28 days I will be truck bound on the roads of South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, but I will have my Golfer’s Survival Kit with me in the event that a morning opens up for a few holes, Vic Falls being on my radar as a possibility!
In trying to keep it brief, I can assure you that all aspects of the Passport were easy to use, the service I received from the office was prompt and professional and the ease of booking my tee times, well, easy! The different options available also give you flexibility of price, region, season and number of rounds you want to play.
Although I didn’t make use of the service, they can also help you with your accommodation and car hire bookings at discounted prices.
Probably the most important thing you want to know is, how much money did it save me, well, I made use of the Standard (Winter) Passport which cost R990 and is valid from April 15th until October 31st, so you do not have to use all the tee times in one week like I did, if you live in the area or travel frequently, you can spread the rounds up over this whole period.
A benefit of the Passport is also that you do not need to be affiliated to any club to get the discounts on offer. Affiliation can sometimes save you money on tee times at other clubs, but some of the clubs in the Garden Route only recognise affiliations to other clubs in the Southern Cape and not all clubs in South Africa.
Playing as a visitor on the courses I played would cost you; Plettenberg Bay R390; Pezula R695; George R380; Kingswood R300; and Mossel Bay R200. Some of which are Winter Specials they are currently running. The total for those five courses would then be R1965 at an average of almost R400 per round, a price almost double that of the Passport.
Golf aside, for transport I made use of the Baz Bus, a Hop-On Hop-Off bus when travels all the way from Cape Town to Johannesburg, stopping in almost every town of interest along the way picking up and dropping off at the Hostel you choose and carrying like minded individuals from all over the World around our beautiful country. Between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, the Baz Bus runs every day of the week in both directions, further up the coast the schedule varies slightly, but their schedule is accurate and easy to follow for those planning longer trips. My journey from Plettenberg Bay to Cape Town cost R600, which is a little more than a intercity bus ticket of the same distance, but has the convenience of the door to door service with you backpack, surf board, guitar or in my case, golf clubs! The ticket also allows you time to travel, with a whole 6 month window in which to use it. Their website has a breakdown of all their stops, ticket options and prices.
Being in each town without a car, did have its drawbacks, but I was able to get taxis very easily to each of the different golf courses, and with the towns being fairly small, it was never more than a R50 journey or a quick walk in any direction. In total my taxi fares came to about R450.
The next big thing for anybody while travelling is accommodation. I have gotten used to backpacking around the World, so am fairly easy to please when it comes to a place to stay. I’ve had my fair share of dodgy dorm rooms, snorers, the guy, or most times girl, with each item of clothing individually wrapped in a plastic packet , who normally gets up to pack and leave at 5 in the morning!
South Africa has a very good network of backpacker hostels and almost all of them offer a variety of rooms, from large dorms with double bunk beds, to private rooms with double or twin beds. Some rooms offer en-suite bathrooms and others share facilities between a few rooms. Most hostels also have a travel desk with information about sights and activities in the area, a communal lounge or bar area to meet other travellers and sometimes a communal kitchen, with storage space and all cooking equipment needed for preparing your own meals and cutting down on costs in that way.
In terms of costs, a dorm room normally costs between R100 and R120 per night, or you can get a double or twin room for R150 to R200 per person, depending obviously on where you are and the season.
When I was browsing the web, checking out prices for golf tours in and around Cape Town and the Garden Route, it is actually quite hard to find them. Most tour companies too scared to actually tell you what the prices are, because they know it will scare you off. The few that I did find worked out to about R3000 per person per night, playing at very similar, if not the same courses I played at.
It is not surprising that everybody thinks Golf Tours & Travel are only for those with lots of money, but I say “No! It doesn’t have to be that way”. Take the bus. Stay in a Hostel. Find a way to make a golfing holiday work for you! That’s what I did and my 10 day golf tour of the Garden Route only cost me just over R3300, that’s R300 per day instead of R3000!
Don’t ask questions, just make it happen!