Green Fees: 9 – BWP100 ($15) / 18 – BWP180 ($25)
Rental Clubs: BWP100 ($15)
Phone Number: +267 625 0300
The Mowana Safari Lodge, on the banks of the Chobe River in Northern Botswana, plays host to the Chobe Golf Club.
Set on the floodplains of the Chobe River, this is a gem of a course, and with one of the highest concentrations of animals in Africa, there is a good chance you could see some of the local inhabitants during your round.
The Chobe National Park is renowned for it massive elephant population, estimated at around 50 000, making it one of the best places to see these spectacular mammals in the natural habitat. Cruising the Chobe River at sunset is probably the best way to spot them and at the same time standing a chance to see many other species, including Hippos, Crocodiles, Buffalo, Lions, Wild Dogs, the indigenous Puku antelope, and many bird species.
The cruise is one of my favourite activities in Botswana and I always recommend it to guests in my group, as it never fails to provide amazing wildlife viewing and an incredible sunset. Another advantage is the three hours of free time it gives me, which on this occasion I managed to get nine holes of golf in, instead of the usual grocery shopping and paperwork!
To be honest, I have been eyeing out the course at the Mowana Safari Lodge ever since the first time I visited Kasane nine years ago, and until now, I haven’t been able to get out on it. I didn’t know much about the course, so after dropping the group at the jetty for their cruise, Ruan, my colleague and I pulled the truck in to the golf club parking and went in to find out how much it would be to play.
The green fees, we were told, would be 100 Pula ($15) for 9 holes, and the club rental another 100 Pula, which we thought was fair. Fortunately I had my Golfers Survival Kit with me, so didn’t need to buy any golf balls or tees and before we knew it, we were standing on the 1st tee. As with most courses I have played in Southern and East Africa, caddies were available and due to the lack of golfers out there, were very keen for us to make use of their services, but being on the budget we were, we thought we would attempt the course without them, and if we needed them after a few holes we would pick one up. A definite possibility if the rough was as unforgiving as that in Livingstone and our if balls were disappearing too rapidly.
The rental clubs were decent, although the driver in my bag was a Ladies Miscela, so I was a bit tentative to try it on the first hole, especially with thick trees all the way down the right hand side. Having learned my lesson with altitude last year, I decided that at 700m (2200 feet) above sea level, my irons would do the trick.
The first few holes, were possibly the most beautiful on the course, numbers 1 and 2 playing down towards the Chobe River, the 2nd Green sticking out, half island like in the river itself and the 3rd, a long Par 4, the Stroke 1 hole, playing over a dangerous water hazard into the green.
That is not taking anything away from the rest of the course though, with enough water to keep it green all year round and a myriad of animals to keep the grass trimmed at no cost, the course was in beautiful condition and I truly enjoyed being out there, especially in September when the intense summer heat has yet to arrive and the possibility of afternoon thunderstorms is at a minimum.
The golf started well, paring the first two holes and bringing in a string of bogeys thereafter, I was able to enjoy my round, avoid any baboons, hippos and crocs on the course and come in with 44 on the card, then still get back to camp and start preparing dinner before the group got back from another successful cruise.
Now I can’t wait to get back to Kasane to have another round at the Chobe Golf Club, maybe trying the alternate tees that make up the Back Nine.
Until then though, keep an eye out as The Shoestring Golfer makes his way back to Cape Town and brings you more insight into the affordable golf options the Mother City has to offer.