Selborne has it all, and a bit more besides, including the most scrumptious breakfast spreads the next morning. Nestled neatly among the foliage in Pennington, the world-class sport and leisure estate has long been on the to-do list of many an ardent golfer.
The estate was one of the first in the country and the list of residents and former residents reads like a who’s who of the sporting world. Selborne is a getaway, a great place to bring the whole family for a break, free from the bustle of the city, to enjoy the serenity of nature.
Occasionally that silence is broken by a howl from the golf course. In that sense, it is no walk in the park, and it certainly grabs your attention as you drive in, with the immaculate water feature on the short, but perilous, par-four 18th hole.
The stories that the caddies can tell about the massive scores racked up around Selborne will skrik you to conservativeness, so woe betide those who think they can rock up and tear the track apart. Even before the wind comes up, it is a demanding test of your iron-play and short game.
Indeed, you could probably do worse than leave the driver in the car when you go there for the first time, because missing fairways is akin to losing teeth out there. It is treacherous, and always in cracking condition.
A regular host of professional tournaments, as well as the SA Women’s Open, Selborne remains a formidable challenge for golfers of all standards.
Once the golf is over, one could do a lot worse than go upstairs to the La Vita Spa and iron out the silent stress of that morning. That spa is one of Selborne’s best-kept secrets, and one of the best places to while away a few hours, floating in an oily utopia of relaxation. Being an on-site operation means the spa can also stay open for much longer, and that is no bad thing. Specific treatments, complete with a glass of bubbly, can take as long as a round of golf and drinks on the 19th, so everyone is a winner.
The hotel itself is olde-world charm, with piles of wood and fireplaces, and inviting couches in the lounge area. It’s grand, but not in an ostentatious fashion.
The design remains one of the most commanding on the South Coast, a stately reminder of a simpler time, when life was measured in considered moments rather than hurried minutes.
You want to stay in the lodge if you can, because that is where the real opulence is. It also means you saunter downstairs to the restaurant for meals, and the pub-like atmosphere of the bar.
The rooms, dotted around the estate, are comfortable, with generous en-suites that can happily accommodate even the weariest of golfers. There is a view from every room, some looking into the lush greenery.
There are some beaches on your doorstep, and the restaurant offers hearty fare if you don’t feel like venturing out after dark.
You are in the bush so there is plenty of bird life at first light, reminding one that this is Africa, and you are one with nature.
There are a multitude of courses on the coast, but not all of them are pretty. Selborne has that going for it, with some stunning vistas, and holes that tug at your heart strings, even as the water tugs for your errant shot.
Curiously, most golfers seem to quickly forget about that beauty and harmony with nature on the first tee-box, though, because many a wonky drive has rattled the poor birds out of their morning go-slow.
Selborne has something for everyone. Leave your cellphone behind - but bring a few extra balls!
Call 039 6881800 and visit www.selbornehotel.com