For the fourth year in succession, the City of Ekurhuleni, South Africa’s only aerotropolis, plays host to the South African Open Championship, with the Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate having staged the event in 2011 and 2012 before handing over the reins to Glendower Golf Club for the past two years.
And for players, fans and media, returning to Johannesburg’s East Rand is becoming an increasingly pleasurable experience, as we discover there’s more to having golf’s second-oldest national championship here than simply its convenient proximity to the airport.
The name Ekurhuleni means ‘place of peace’ in the native Tsonga, and the district itself is one of five in Gauteng. Following the conclusion of the 2016 municipal elections, Ekurhuleni will absorb the Lesedi Local Municipality, thus making it the local government of both the East Rand and the rest of the south-eastern part of the province.
Manufacturing is the staple part of Ekurhuleni’s economic makeup, and it is sometimes referred to as ‘the workshop’ of the country. However, it is also a prominent base for aviation, with companies such as SAA, Mango, Comair, Kulula, Safair and others stationing their headquarters within the region.
Yet tourism is arguably one of the sectors to flourish most, with the Aerotropolis becoming a hub for heritage and architecture, sightseeing, nature and entertainment. Museums aplenty make it fascinating to re-live the days of Apartheid. Zoos and bird sanctuaries are also abundant, but for the true nature-lover, visits to the Rietvlei Dam (dug by hand) and the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve are a must.
For many of us though, the reason we go anywhere centres on golf courses, and Ekurhuleni certainly doesn’t disappoint in this regard. The picturesque Glendower and spectacular Serengeti, both regulars in South Africa’s top 20-rated courses, arguably headline the pack. However, with more than 25 courses littered around the scenic district – including the likes of Ebotse, Benoni Country Club, State Mines and the Lake Club in Benoni – there is no shortage of glorious golfing destinations for one to experience.
Be sure to pop down to Glendower for a fantastic four days of golf – tickets are available from TicketPro. But chances are you’ll be back in Ekurhuleni again soon once you’ve seen everything it has to offer!