Hotel check: Zebula Golf Estate & Spa

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Background

Having already established itself as one of the most popular holiday and conferencing venues in the Waterberg, Zebula Golf Estate and Spa recently underwent some change, with Signature Life Hotels acquiring the management contract of the property. At the time of Business Traveller’s visit, Signature Life had only just taken over, so no major changes had been made, although some are expected in the coming months.

What’s it Like?

Busy. And by this I mean the hub of Zebula – the central reception, entertainment, bar, restaurant, conferencing, activity and golf pro shop area, all within close proximity of each other. But, if ‘busy’ is not what you’re looking for, the rooms and lodges are far enough removed to offer quiet and seclusion in luxury accommodation within the bushveld. It’s fair to call it luxury, because all facilities, including accommodation are top-notch, whilst styled in the African-themed decor that has become the norm in most South African game/safari lodges. ‘A Venue for All’ is the Zebula slogan and they make no bones about the fact that they cater for the entire family, offering a host of activities to keep both adults and kids entertained.

Where is it?

In the Waterberg region, which is a malaria-free area. Zebula is approximately two hours’ drive from O R Tambo International Airport and 1 ½ hours’ drive north of Pretoria. It is located 40km west of Bela Bela, which was formerly known as Warmbaths and can be reached by taking the N1 highway north in the direction of Polokwane, from Johannesburg.

Room Facilities

Approximately 350 beds available, with a selection of bush chalets, lodge rooms, four-bedroom homes and other privately-owned homes – some of which are available for renting. The bush chalet we stayed in was spacious, clean and beautifully turned out, with a king-sized bed, air-conditioning, television (with DStv satellite channels), tea/coffee station, mini-bar and sitting area, which included two comfortable chairs. A sliding door led out onto a small patio with table and chairs, with the thick bushveld just metres away. As with the room, the bathroom area was spacious, with separate toilet and wash basin away from the main bathroom which contained a deep sunken bath and separate shower, with plenty of clean towels available.

Restaurants & Bars

The main restaurant is just off the upstairs bar area, which leads out onto a deck that overlooks the golf course’s putting green. We were treated to a full buffet and braai, followed by a wide selection of dessert options, with the food delicious. Breakfast and lunch is served downstairs in the Halfway House restaurant, which includes an indoor area and an outdoor deck. Meals are available from 07h00 to 23h00 every day. 

Business & Meeting Facilities

In total, Zebula can accommodate approximately 250 delegates, covering all its conference venues. The main facility in the clubhouse seats approximately 120 people, classroom style and the other venues have capacities of 30, 30 and 40 people respectively. There is also the option to use Eagles Nest, which is situated on the top level of one of the home sites and can accommodate up to 35 people.

Leisure Facilities

The main feature is the 18-hole golf course and one can often find oneself sharing a round with animals, such as the rather tame zebra I found my ball next to on the seventh hole! Then there’s the health spa, which offers a full range of services and looked very enticing when we visited. Guests also have the following at their disposal: game drives and walks, quad bike safaris, horseback safaris, fishing, clay pigeon shooting, archery, paintball, volleyball, squash courts, tennis courts, a fully equipped gym, swimming pool, bird aviary and kids’ entertainment area, which includes jumping castles and jungle gym. What your kids will really enjoy is the resident meerkats, the snake and reptile park and the baby Bengal tigers and lion cubs. Further to that, Zebula’s two cheetahs put on a show, in the form of the Cheetah Run, every Friday and Saturday evening. Oh, and there’s a tarred airstrip for the more well-heeled business traveller or holiday guest.

Verdict

Zebula ticks a number of boxes, from luxury hotel, to quality golf experience, to comfortable conference venue, to all-action family holiday destination, to quiet bush retreat. Take your pick.

Contact: +27 (0) 14-7347700zebula.co.za

Dylan Rogers