We have lunch with springbok at the Rossmund Golf Club

05 April 2013

Our almost-ascent of Dune 7 had left us rather hungry and thirsty. Fortunately, Aunty Christa knew just the place for some delightful refreshments

“Turn left at that sign,” she instructed Richard, as we were driving along the now familiar B2 towards Swakopmund (it was the road we had driven down from Windhoek to the coast two days ago). We followed a gravel road down into the Swakop River valley, and came to a cluster of extraordinary buildings, all clad in natural stone.

“This is the Rössmund Golf Course,” stated Aunty Christa.

“It is one of only five registered all-grass desert golf courses in the world,” added Reggie. “My uncle Ernst used to play here. It is an 18-hole golf course, and you can play here year-round.”

Cute little water features surrounded by palm trees
Imagine this: an all-grass golf course in the middle of the Namib Desert?!

We walked up to the main building and found ourselves on the timber deck of the Clubhouse. We picked one of the large wooden tables, shielded by a big umbrella, and ordered some cold drinks, toasted sandwiches and burgers with chips.

Our table overlooked the most extraordinary golf course. The boulder-strewn hillside in the foreground, with green bushes dotted about between the rocks, dropped down to a level plain, framed by the red-and-ochre dune fields on the horizon. In the distance towards the west, we could see the bank of mist of this morning still hovering over Swakopmund. Palm trees and rockeries surrounded large green lawns, with tall palm trees providing shade. A sequence of little pools of water indicated a sort of water-course, whether artificial or natural I didn’t know.

“Flat Kathy, can you see those animals over there?” asked Reggie.

Oh my goodness, there were buck down there!

“They’re springbok,” said Reggie.

Springbok graze peacefully on the greens
Springbok graze peacefully on the greens

“Don’t they run away, when people play golf here?” I asked, incredulous.

Aunty Christa laughed. “No, Flat Kathy, they are very used to people. They’ll move out of the way if you’re coming to play on one of the greens, yes, but they won’t run away.”

“They love grazing here. It’s easy food,” added Reggie.

Suddenly, the springbok all lifted up their heads in alarm, looking over to the side, where a large lawnmower was making a lot of noise. A man was sitting ontop of the lawnmower, steering it effortlessly along the pathway that led to the 18th hole, right below us. The herd trotted off in the opposite direction, but settled down very quickly to continue grazing. In the meantime, the lawnmower-man was driving up and down on the vaguely circular putting green. He briefly lifted the flag out of the way, but put it back once he had turned around. It was fascinating to watch him.

Our table overlooking the golf course
Our table overlooking the golf course – the food is exactly what I need!

By now, our food had arrived and we tucked in. Yumm!

Suddenly, Reggie jumped to her feet, “Oh! Look!”

She had been taking photographs of our surroundings and of the grazing springbok, and had been focusing on a pair of golfers in the distance, a man and a woman. The man was hitting the balls, while the woman was pushing the little buggy with all the clubs. There was something vaguely familiar about them, I thought to myself.

“It’s cousin Robert and his wife Manuela!” she shouted, as they came closer on the fairway, and she was able to zoom in properly. “Oh my gosh! I didn’t expect to see them here. What a wonderful coincidence!”

We watched them approaching the putting green.

This is the 18th hole
This is the 18th hole

“Robbie! Manuela!” Reggie yelled, leaning over the railing and waving. They looked up in surprise, and waved back. I too leaned over and waved.

Robert called back, “Oh hi, Flat Kathy! Are you having a good day?”

“Wonderful!” I shouted back. “We drove to Walvis Bay this morning, and saw the flamingoes in the lagoon, and we visited the new Waterfront – it’s beautiful – and then Richard and I tried to climb up Dune 7.”

“You have done a lot,” exclaimed Manuela admiringly. “You’re quite the adventurer, I knew it from the moment I saw you.”

I blushed at her praise, and nodded, then we left them in peace so that Robbie could complete his last shot. When it plopped into the hole, all of us stood up and cheered and applauded loudly! (I bet he was relieved that he had gotten it in.)

This is such a marvelous place, I found myself wishing that I too could play golf.

(Click on any of the photos below to access the slideshow with captions.)


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