New Ernie Els course to be built at $500m development in South Africa

  • Zimbali Ernie Els Golf
    Ernie Els Design

    Ernie Els Design is creating a new golf course for Zimbali Lakes, a luxury residential and resort development north of Durban, South Africa

  • Zimbali Ernie Els Golf
    Ernie Els Design

    Els believes this project will be one of the last golf course residential developments to be built in the country

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

IFA Hotels & Resorts has appointed Ernie Els Design to create a golf course and academy as part of the Zimbali Lakes development on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, north of Durban, South Africa.

“We are excited to partner with Zimbali Lakes and IFA Hotels & Resorts as we share like-minded ambitions and values,” said Els. “What we’re creating here is going to be very special indeed. This is a perfect opportunity for us due to Zimbali Lakes’ location, close to the King Shaka International Airport, and also with some of the best schools in South Africa in close proximity.”

IFA is the master developer of the Zimbali Lakes development, which is projected to cost R10 billion (US$500 million). The project also includes a resort, a 20-hectate lake, real estate, shopping centre, a beach club and other amenities. In addition to the golf course, the Els team will oversee the creation of Ernie Els Suites, an apartment complex connected to the golf academy, and a Big Easy Bar & Grill.

“Ballito [the resort town nearest to the development] has more gated communities per square metre than any other area in South Africa, which boasts many high-end properties that others around the world would love to call home,” said Els. “Club Med choosing to develop just north of Ballito indicates that this will now become an international destination, and with that comes huge international investment opportunities and exposure.”

Els, who primarily lives in Florida, will also set up a home at the exclusive Tatali section of the Zimbali Lakes resort. “My family will always call South Africa home,” he said. “Being able to spend time in a quality location such as this, where security, privacy and lifestyle come first, is not too hard a decision. Also, the mild weather conditions on the north coast during the winter months will be perfect to spend time with my family and friends here.”

Wayne Krambeck, senior vice president of operations at Zimbali Lakes, said: “Ernie building at the estate is one of the most exciting aspects of our relationship with him. He knows this is one of the hottest property markets in South Africa at the moment.”

Werner Burger, CEO of IFA Hotels & Resorts South Africa, said: “This collaboration will strengthen our position in the market and enable us to provide enhanced lifestyle solutions and services to our residents, visitors to the region and to South Africa as a whole. By combining our expertise and resources, we will drive innovation, customer satisfaction, and business growth.”

“We believe this will be a great fit that will benefit everyone,” said Els. “Around 20 years ago, I had initial discussions with Mr Burger about doing a project together, so I was pleased when he approached me about the opportunity at Zimbali Lakes. We believe this will probably be one of the last golf course residential developments to be constructed in South Africa.”