• Business Insider South Africa took a look at some of the country's most exclusive country clubs.
  • Membership fees cost as high as R1.2 million.
  • Some of the top clubs remain strictly by invitation only.

Business Insider South Africa rounded up some of the country's most exclusive country clubs. Membership of top clubs remains strictly by invitation, with hefty annual membership fees.

While most remain oriented toward golf, many clubs are innovating, spending millions on new or expanded fitness facilities like gyms, boutique yoga studios and spa areas. Some are even adding child care services to appeal to younger families.

Leopard Creek

Owned by one of South Africa's richest men, Johann Rupert, whose wealth surpasses R80 billion, the Leopard Creek club house is situated on the banks of the Crocodile River bordering
the Kruger National Park.

Membership of the club is by invitation only. Management tells Business Insider South Africa that to qualify for consideration, you must either own or have a share in one of the properties on the estate. The stands are owned by some of the wealthiest individuals in the country, along with large companies that use them for senior management getaways, reports Property24.  

A property located in the bush part of the estate is currently on the market for R14 million. According to the estate agency Pam Golding, the asking price could go up to more than R40 million for a river-front property.

Membership cost: Property ownership in the estate. 

River Club

Member of the River Club, businessman, Peter Vundla arriving at the country club for a game of golf.

Established in 1911, the 107-year old club reportedly counts the president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, among its distinguished members. It has one of the most prestigious golf courses in the country.

Like Leopard Creek, management tells Business Insider South Africa that membership is strictly by invitation only. A new member has to be nominated to join and all 300 members of the River Club have a say in whether a prospective member can be admitted.

Membership cost: Up to of R400,000 per annum.

The Links

The Links club in the Fancourt estate exudes prestige. Golf Digest South Africa ranks its golf course number one in the country. The course has hosted global golfing legends including John Bland, Justin Rose, Retief Goosen, Branden Grace and Ernie Els.

Established in 2000, the director of the club, Mark Fensham tells Business Insider South Africa that The Links upholds strict ethical codes, bringing like-minded individuals together. Apart from an interview with the club's president, background checks are sourced from a prospective member's previous clubs. It maintains exclusivity by limiting membership to only 100 people.

Membership cost: $100,000. So roughly R1.2 million at current exchange rates.

Bryanston Country Club

Opened by mining magnate and its first president, Ernest Oppenheimer, back in 1951, the Bryanston country club counts an 18-hole golf course, bowls, swimming, hiking and yoga among some of its activities.

The club says its always excited about expanding their close-knit community and welcoming new members. All new members are invited to the club for an induction meeting to meet fellow new members and the management team.

Membership cost: Full golfing membership could run up to R25,000 and R13,000 for social membership

Gary Player Country Club

Home to the annual Nedbank Golf Challenge, the club has a fully equipped gym and spa apart from the 18-hole course designed by the golfing legend Gary Player.

Because it is set in a resort, there are no memberships, says management. Guests fork out R900 for the green fees and pay for use of the other facilities.

Irene Country Country Club

It is the state capital's oldest country club, established in 1911. Former prime minister of South Africa, Jan Smuts, who used to be a resident of Irene, pronounced the game of golf to be too mechanical for his taste. He was, nevertheless, often seen striding over the 18-hole course on one of his long walks, according to the club's website.

Management tells Business Insider South Africa that its tradition and "being old school" are some of the distinguishing factors of the club. Apart from golfing, they offer cricket, squash and tennis.

Membership cost: About R11,390 per person for full annual club membership.

Durban Country Country Club

Durban Country Club's golf course is rated as one of the Top 100 Golf Courses in the World by Golf Magazine USA. It also counts among the Top 5 golf courses in South Africa according to Golf Digest SA.

It also offers extensive child care facilities and has two restaurants.

Membership cost: Could run up to R12,000 per member.

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