Golf in the Eastern Highlands

In days gone by I would travel up to Leopard Rock at least once or twice a year either for an intense Chapman Golf Boys Only Weekend or for a quiet family weekend to savour some quiet Vumba mountain time. Over the years, however, things have changed and, with the introduction of our Nzira Travel Zimbabwe magazine, I have been introduced to a multitude of alternative destinations to spend weekends away. I am also an avid golfer so, when I heard that guests at Leopard Rock were allowed to play golf, I jumped at the chance to spend a few nights there with some of my family. In an endeavour to support tourism throughout the country, Hotels are allowed to open their facilities to overnighting guests with valid bookings – this includes restaurants.

Four of us guys enjoyed a relaxed analysis of the front 9 on Saturday afternoon followed by a long weary walk around the complete course on Sunday. The golf course always affords one spectacular views of the distant “Blue Hills” in the Burma Valley. Nearby residents, Stu and Sally Preston, run HiVu Nursery and decided a few months ago to give their advice to the golfing, greenkeeping staff on how to maintain a respectable and very playable course (excellent job so far Stu and Sal!). The greens have recently been top-dressed so are all slow (for now); the bunkers are unplayable (GUR); and, balls that are hooked or sliced into the rough are given up as lost without one venturing anywhere near the Samango Monkeys. The surrounds of Leopard Rock are ideal for birders and wandering around the fairways one can often hear the Wailing cry of the large Trumpeter Hornbill – it sound just like a baby crying! We were given a magnificent display of one of the raptors soaring high about us on the 14th tee box- that spectacular, elevated par three placed well above a seemingly distant green

The hotel was close to full this weekend which must have been very welcome for Management and staff considering the drop in trade that the hotel industry has suffered over the past 18 Covid Months. A few of our friends decided to take a long (5km) walk around the game park telling us about the Eland, Kudu, Wildebeest and Giraffe that they saw on their hike. They have also introduced some Archery on the old bowling green with local enthusiasts driving up several times a year to try to entice teenage kids into this very different, yet fun, sport.One of the Must Do’s during a trip on a cold winter’s night at the Rock is to spend time chatting with your friends and / or family around one of the roaring indoor fires supping “After Dinner: Hot Chocolates. Another must do is, of course, to stop off at Tony’s Coffee shop to buy yourself a slice or two of Tony’s world famous Gateaux (Cakes with any number of ingredients). Why don’t you book a trip up to the Rock with friends? You’ll be so glad you did. Mike G.

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