Arab-influenced mega project hits South Africa

While Middle East developers launch mega-projects such as Bawadi and Dubailand, South Africa is working on a project that is ten times the area of Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island.
The Big Five mega, mixed-use development by Legend Lodges is primarily inspired by early Arabic and Phoenician architecture, as well as African styles seen at the peak of the Zimbabwe era around AD 1500.

The multi million-dollar development will be made up of privately owned bush lodges, an 18-hole PGA Championship Golf Course and an extreme 19th hole. The hole will be the longest Par 3 in the world with a tee box located on top of a 1,350 metre mountain, which can only be reached by helicopter.

“We are recreating an exact replica of one of the four monumental architectural structures in Africa,” says Peet Cilliers, CEO of Legend Lodges. “This unique, Big Five Resort will be the first of its kind in the world, where Africa’s game roam free within the resort, epitomising the unique lifestyle of the bushveld.”

The 23,000 hectare—25 by 15 kilometre game reserve—is situated in Limpopo, South Africa’s northernmost province, which is three hours drive or 45 minutes by plane from Johannesburg.

The hotel accommodation for up to 3,000 guests, recreational facilities - including a chapel, a wellness centre, a conference centre, a boutique hotel and The Field of Legends sports complex. The resort will also feature its own private airstrip.


The Field of Legends Sports Complex, which will host large sporting events, will be completed in time for the FIFA Soccer World Cup to be held in South Africa in 2010.

The country’s tourism industry is expected to benefit from the estimated three million visitors expected for the tournament. The event is expected to pump R21.3-billion into South Africa’s economy, generating an estimated R12.7-billion in direct spending, according to consulting firm Grant Thornton.

From football to golf, the Big Five golf resort, set to open in 2008, has been dubbed the “true African championship golf course”. Eighteen top international golfers, representing different countries, will design each of the eighteen signature holes on the golf course - a move which Cilliers believes will bring wealth back to the area, through arts, culture and sport.

Furthermore, educational programs of the golf academy, structured through the Legend Foundation, are expected to assist in the upliftment of sport in the local communities.

According to Peter, in keeping with the group’s eco-friendly strategy, the design and layout has been undertaken in such a manner as to minimise the impact on the natural resources and surroundings, preserving the bushveld environment.

Investors can acquire freehold title stands in this retreat, which offers 452 residential stands developed on 874 ha. Stands vary from 3500 square metres to 3.5 hectares.

Four residential designs are available - the Pedi, Waterberg, Monomatopa and Africa house - at approximately 300 to 350 square metres. Each residence can be custom-designed according to the owner’s exact specifications.