Of all the places that I have been in the World, there is nothing quite like a couple of weeks in South Africa. The following story is a condensed version of a recent Wayne Player Experience trip to South Africa in August of 2007, with two couples, the Chessons and the Brittons.
Darlene Chesson, Wife of Mike Chesson became my assistant coordinator in regard to our South African Golf Experience. I have always tried to get at least one of the wives involved, as there are so many different scenarios you can experience in South Africa. With this being said, Darlene and I spent a great deal of time coming up with the right game plan for their trip.
Unfortunately, their group decided against my advice to take a two-day stop in North West Africa in Dakar, Senegal - a refueling stop for South African Airways and Delta. In future articles Darlene will relay a blow-by-blow description on their Dakar adventure. The one positive thing was that no matter what happened after their Dakar experience, it could only improve once they got to South Africa!
The group arrives at Johannesburg International Airport two days later and is met by my right hand lady and sister-in-law in South Africa, Louise DeLuca. They are quite relieved to see civilization once again! Louise takes the two couples to her own private lodge on the outskirts of Johannesburg and later they experience a sensational meal at a restaurant called Casalinga which is owned and run by my sister Jennifer and brother-in-law Peter DeLuca (Louise’s Brother).
The next morning the group with a flies directly into one of the all time great private game reserves, Mala Mala with a promise from Louise to see them all in a couple of days to transport them in her Range Rover to Leopard Creek. Everyone is blown away by the Mala Mala experience
Two days later Louise arrives as promised and the five travelers enjoy a leisurely two-hour drive through the Kruger National Park on the way to Leopard Creek . Leopard Creek is the number one rated Gary Player designed golf course in South Africa. Only the Crocodile River stands between the wild African animals and our private home. I am waiting in our magnificent home that Louise has prepared in the most beautiful of settings one can imagine. We spend two days and nights with three incredible meals served by Louise and her staff each day. Golf each morning with the three guys, afternoon relaxation, and evening game drives with spotlights. Our Leopard Creek Experience is highlighted by an adventurous trip into Mozambique coordinated and hosted by Louise DeLuca. Please log on in months to come in regard to this particular experience.
Our time whizzes by with so much fun being had, and now we head on to the Gary Player Stud Farm in Colesburg, South Africa to be hosted for two days by my dear old Dad himself, Gary Player. We fly from Mpumalanga International to Bloemfontein with a stop in Johannesburg. Our group rents a Volkswagen Mini Bus and drive two hours to the Stud Farm. To be hosted and taken care of by the Black Knight and my Mom of course is self-explanatory. Simply marvelous!
After a tremendous amount of eating, seeing horses, and playing a little golf on my Dad’s new nine, we drive six hours to the Player home in Plettenberg Bay. We spend one night in Plettenberg Bay with great wine,the beauty of the Indian Ocean and another sensational meal and onward we go to Fancourt and The Links- home of the 2003 Presidents Cup.
We check into our private Cape Dutch style home just off the eighth fairway with the resort in the distance. The pantry is stocked with traditional foods and snacks, more great South African wine and of course Jonny Walker Black Label - our groups’ favorite 5:30 PM indulgence. The guys play golf at The Links the next morning and the gals do their spa thing at the resort. Another great evening meal followed by peaceful sleep, and then we move on to the fairest Cape of them all - Cape Town.
Our drive lasts about four hours along the Garden Route. We stop at numerous tea gardens and fruit stops. One great meal after another is being consumed, and everyone loves the South African cuisine. We arrive later that day in Stellenbosch, South Africa and check in to a great friend’s private chateau and Wine Estate, Quionne Rock, which is home of the soon to be released Gary Player 2003 Merlot Reserve.
We visit many wine farms, tasting all the way and enjoy whale watching as we head up Table Mountain. We shop till we drop at The Waterfront in the City of Cape Town and as usual eat at the best restaurants in the world. Four days later it is time to head back to the good old USA.
As the old saying goes, “The day is what you make it”, or in our case the trip is what we made it to be, as a wonderful group of people enjoying each others company in the best possible way. Darlene & Mike Chesson as well as Denny & Judy Britton remain close friends, as do all the other groups who I have had the pleasure to host in the past.
Interested in booking a Wayne Player Experience to South Africa, or another incredible golf destination? Please contact us for more information.