Arabella Golf Club - hole 8
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Arabella Golf Club - hole 8
Scenery rules on the par-5 eighth hole at Arabella Golf Club in Western Cape, South Africa. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Arabella Golf Club - hole 1
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Arabella Golf Club - hole 1
The first hole of Arabella Golf Club plays long by climbing uphill. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Arabella Golf Club - hole 2
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Arabella Golf Club - hole 2
Wetlands and a pond gobble up shots missed left on the par-5 second hole at Arabella Golf Club in Western Cape, South Africa. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Arabella Golf Club - hole 4
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Arabella Golf Club - hole 4
The fourth hole of Arabella Golf Club narrows near the green. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Arabella Golf Club - hole 7
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Arabella Golf Club - hole 7
The seventh hole is the longest par 3 at Arabella Golf Club in Western Cape, South Africa. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Arabella Golf Club - 6th hole
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Arabella Golf Club - 6th hole
A look back from the seventh tee toward the sixth hole reveals a nice view at Arabella Golf Club. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Arabella Golf Club - hole 9
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Arabella Golf Club - hole 9
All players see on the ninth tee at Arabella Golf Club is trouble with a flag floating in the distance. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Arabella Golf Club - hole 13
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Arabella Golf Club - hole 13
Bunkers galore litter the par-5 13th hole at Arabella Golf Club in South Africa. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Arabella Golf Club - hole 14
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Arabella Golf Club - hole 14
Flowers decorate the par-3 14th hole at Arabella Golf Club in Western Cape, South Africa. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Arabella Golf Club - hole 15
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Arabella Golf Club - hole 15
The par-4 15th hole at Arabella Golf Club heads downhill toward the water. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Arabella Golf Club - hole 16
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Arabella Golf Club - hole 16
The short 16th hole at Arabella Golf Club is a scenic par 4. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Arabella golf course - hole 17
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Arabella golf course - hole 17
The par-3 17th hole at Arabella Golf Club hugs the estuary. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Arabella Golf Club - hole 18
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Arabella Golf Club - hole 18
The 18th hole is the fifth par 5 at the par-73 Arabella Golf Club in Western Cape, South Africa. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Arabella Hotel & Spa
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Arabella Hotel & Spa
The 145-room Arabella Hotel & Spa -- part of the African Pride Hotels chain -- is a luxurious place to bed down after a round at Arabella G.C. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
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Cape Town's best? Discover Arabella Golf Club, one of South Africa's premier courses

WESTERN CAPE, South Africa -- The Arabella Country Estate -- home to the spectacular Arabella Golf Club -- is either close enough to Cape Town for a day trip or far enough away to be a great getaway. It all depends on your perspective regarding the one-and-a-half-hour drive.

Arabella, ranked fifth among the country's best courses by Golf Digest South Africa in 2014, is certainly worth the effort either way. The 6,381-meter golf course overlooks the tranquil Bot River Lagoon with a backdrop of the Palmiet Mountain Range.

South African architect Peter Matkovich's best holes at Arabella either fall dramatically to the lagoon (holes 8 and 16) or hug it (holes 9, 17 and 18). The ninth hole looks ominous from the tee even though it's only 297 meters (roughly 325 yards). Golfers must clear wetlands and the waste bunker up the left side to find the fairway tilting away from them. The 18th, a par 5, is similar except the waste bunker and wetlands run up the right (opposite) side.

Those who want to stay longer than just a round of golf can book a night or two at the luxurious 145-room Arabella Hotel & Spa, part of the chain of African Pride Hotels. The estate will eventually build out to 236 homes. Large swaths will remain undeveloped, though, keeping this beautiful setting in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve mostly intact.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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Cape Town's best? Discover Arabella Golf Club, one of South Africa's premier courses