MAURITIUS 2 – SEYCHELLES 1 – EAST AFRICA 0
(Posted 23rd July 2013)
CNN’s latest rankings for the 10 best golf courses in Africa has come up with some stunning results, for both winners and those who lost out on the top 10.
Mauritius tops the rankings with 2 acclaimed golf courses, the Heritage Golf Club in Bel Ombre and the Bernard Langer designed Le Touessrok on the Isle Aux Cerf, but it should be noted that the island has another 5 championship courses with one more under final planning. Needless to say does this attract visitors from around the world, who want to come and play golf under the tropical sun.
The Constance Lemuria Resort on the Seychelles island of Praslin is singled out too for ‘membership’ in the African top 10, the only course on the archipelago’s second largest island and a magnet too for tourists coming to tee off on this award winning course.
South Africa too got two courses into the top 10, and Namibia, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Zimbabwe have on each featured.
Half of Africa’s over 850 championship courses are located in South Africa, testament to the popularity of the sport there and of course bringing in aficionados from all over the world to play on them.
Notably though has Kenya and the rest of East Africa missed out on the honours, inspite of such great courses like Muthaiga in Nairobi, Windsor in Nairobi, the Leisure Lodge club in Diani or the more recently introduced Vipingo course north of Mombasa in Kilifi. Golf tourism in Kenya has made its mark in recent years, voted even as the most upcoming golf destination, but generally in Eastern Africa, notably in Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, perhaps Tanzania too, golf is still seen as a game for the rich and perhaps for lack for foresight new courses are few and far between. ‘In Nairobi alone we got Railway, Karen, Royal Nairobi, Limuru, Muthaiga, Windsor and a few others on the outskirts of the city. In Mombasa we have the Mombasa Golf Club and Nyali and in every major town we have a golf club. Maybe when looking at the CNN rankings we need to take a fresh look on improving those courses or establish new ones. Sports tourism is big business, airlines carry golf bags literally for free outside the normal baggage allowance and golfers spend a lot more than average tourists for their accommodation, meals and extras they pay for. I am disappointed that none of our clubs made it into the top 10 for Africa. It is maybe a wake up call to pull up our socks and do something about it’ commented a regular tourism source from Nairobi when asked to respond to being left out of the Africa Top 10.
Indeed, a wake up call for East Africa, considering that the Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius and Seychelles took three of the top spots leaving us trailing in their wake. Kenya’s tourism board, via www.magicalkenya.com has listings of golf courses across the country, where some fancied resorts like the Mount Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki and the Aberdare Country Club in Mweiga feature their own 9 hole courses for their guests. Congrats to the winners and a well done to those which did not make it into the top 10 this year. Try harder for 2014.