East Africa’s first Ernie Els Golf Course set to open in Zanzibar

01 Aug 18

The 5 Star Blue Amber Zanzibar Resort, a luxury tropical community on the exotic spice island of Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania, will soon be home to East Africa’s first 18-hole Signature Ernie Els Design Championship Golf Course.

This high-end 411-ha resort is a pioneering mixed use development, with the launch of the first phase in 2020. Plans include the 5 Star 90-suite Ritz Carlton Zanzibar and 150 luxury roomed Anantara Hotel, featuring a world-class spa and multiple bars and restaurants.

Ernie Els’s Design Championship Golf Course will form the backbone of this leisure paradise’s sports offering, which will also boast a member only club house outfitted with a state-of-the-art gym, day spa, lounge and restaurant.

The course capitalises on the dramatic beauty of the island with both beachfront and sea view holes and fairways, as well as holes that showcase the inland features unique to the course and its topography.

The minimalist design will make use of native grasses, plants, sand and rocks as locally appropriate vegetation and landscaping are the secrets to giving a golf course a sense of belonging in its natural environment.

This is also in line with the development’s commitment to sustainability, particularly water conservation and the environment. The use of indigenous and drought tolerant grasses and plants ensures that invasive species do not engulf native vegetation, while keeping water usage to a minimum.

Blue Amber Managing Director, Saleh Said says that their goal is to develop a robust sustainability program of quality standards that will support sustainable management practices through the design, development and operation of each of the project components. “Sustainable landscapes, pollution reduction and waste-stream management are just a few of the intended outcomes for Blue Amber, as are integration of local social and cultural customs, heritage and economic viability for local communities. These aspects help create the framework for a strong, vibrant tourism enterprise that provides positive economic impacts while delivering successful results for all stakeholders.”

The course is being designed to appeal to golfers of all levels, so that the novice player doesn’t feel overwhelmed while challenging the accomplished player. This is done through the use of multiple tee locations, wide landing areas off the tee and creating approaches into the greens’ complexes that give golfers shot-options. The course will also play quite firm, which gives golfers the ability to run the ball onto the greens.

Els says that he and his design team feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with Blue Amber Resorts to create a very special course that is unique to its paradise-island location. “The Zanzibar Archipelago is renowned for its outstanding natural beauty and one of our main objectives is to ensure that the hole routings capitalise on that to give this golf course a wow factor equal to its magnificent setting.

There are 18 holes in total and each nine-hole loop has a few holes that are right on the ocean with four to five metre drops down to the beach. Then we have a number of other holes that will enjoy spectacular views of the exquisite aquamarine ocean. The inland holes will balance out the very strong design plan with lush grasslands and woodland areas.”

Els’s 70 professional career victories are mirrored in his award-winning golf courses, which have won no less than 10 awards. In 2015 Els himself was voted ‘Designer of the Year’ at the World Golf Awards.
Said Saleh perfectly sums up the vision of what the resort hopes to achieve with the help of Ernie Els and his design team.

Golf has been part of Zanzibar’s history since the 1890’s with the creation of the Zanzibar Golf Link, which was one of the first golf courses in Africa.

It is our dream to create a world class golf course that can be enjoyed by all ages and levels, and to introduce a new standard in golfing locally. Blue Amber Zanzibar is a destination within a destination and, as such, we aim to offer our visitors and residents the best-in-class of all experiences.”
For further information on Blue Amber Zanzibar as both a golf or holiday destination and an investment opportunity, please visit www.blueamberzanzibar.com.