The social significance of the golf club is something that has never been underestimated in my family. With a father who once claims to have played scratch, and a grandfather whose life revolved around the Strand Golf Club, golf courses have formed the foundation of many relationships for the Van Schoors – personal, business, or both.
So, with no inclination towards introversion, my father immediately struck up a conversation with the two men next to us on the plastic-but-wooden-looking picnic tables outside the Dundee Country Club house on a recent visit to the northern KwaZulu-Natal town of Dundee. By the time we left later that evening, we had enough insider knowledge and recommendations to keep us busy for the next two days.
Here are some for the next time you’re in Dundee:
1. Have a drink at the Dundee Country Club
Who knows, you might even get better recommendations than we did, depending on who’s sitting outside. Seemingly a social hub, especially on a Friday night , if you’re there at the right time you might even get to laugh and point at the wild pigs that run rampant on the golf course like we did. No one could tell us where they came from.
2. Eat a steak at Ingudlane Lodge
One of the recommendations from our friend at the fake wooden tables, Ingudlane Lodge has a typical bush lodge feel, and decent steak. The burger was also tasty. It was a quiet night when we were there, and cold, but in summertime I can imagine that it would be a great place for outdoor dining. According to the information pamphlet you can also do game drives there.
3. Question curatorial decisions and learn about military history
The Talana Museum is one of the main tourist attractions in the town, and not it’s not surprising why. It’s one of the most expansive museums I’ve ever visited, with a diversity of both indoor and outdoor displays on everything from the area’s rich military history to local glasswork. The Anglo-Zulu war exhibit is particularly thorough, and a few hours is definitely needed to read all the accounts of the various battlefields in the area. Honestly, I was too distracted by the modified mannequin made to look like Shaka, with a plastered-over nose, to notice much else. A postcolonial conundrum that I couldn’t even begin to process. (Visit our local battlefields and 9 other interesting ways to see South Africa).
4. Appreciate the thankless effort that goes into coal mining
My father works in mining, so he found the coal exhibit, also at the Talana Museum, to be the most interesting, coal mining being one of the main economic activities in the area. Personally, I liked the collection of old school mining safety posters, written in Fanagalo, and the amusing and sometimes creepy balloon-hand plastic miner mannequins.
5. Eat potjie at the Battlefields Country Inn
With a Cessna 182, my dad is always open to any kind of aviation discussion, so it was unexpectedly appropriate that our trip coincided with the annual fly-in, and that the man we met at the club was the organiser of the event. We unfortunately didn’t get to take part in any flying, or the battlefields tour by air, but we did gatecrash the introductory dinner at the Battlefields Country Lodge– a delicious potjie with ample side dishes and some of the best homemade bread I’ve ever tasted. (Make your own potjie with this fantastic oxtail potjie recipe).