In 1995 Gerrie de Jong, a man with vision, was instrumental in consolidating 12 farms in the Merrivale area outside of Howick. The consolidation was then subdivided to form the 92 smallholdings surrounding a park like area, and Sakabula Country Estate was born.
The central portion of the estate could not be utilised for farm development or for housing as the upper portion is traversed by Eskom and Umgeni Water servitudes over a large valley and the lower portion consists of a natural watercourse and wetland area. To Gerrie de Jong this provided the perfect place for a golf course to run through and provide a focus for a property development on all sides.
After a 3 month extensive study tour of golf courses in Europe and the Western United States, Gerrie returned to South Africa with a suitcase full of books on design, development and methods of construction of golf courses, plus lots of enthusiasm. In September of 1996 construction began and from then until April 1997 it was 'all systems go'. Having been a builder, property developer, geologist, and farmer earlier in his career, he was well equipped to design, plan and construct the golf course and the club house.
In April 1997 the course and the clubhouse were completed and during May, in order to place Sakabula on the 'golfing map' no green fees were charged for rounds of golf, resulting in hoards of golfers experiencing the course during that month. In June membership of the club opened with a unique 5 year introductory offer consisting of an entrance fee, unlimited up-front green fees and subscriptions for the 5 year period, all for R2,600! The success of this offer allowed the club a financial base for those beginning stages and to develop the property into the wonderful 18 hole, par 73 golf course it is today. Sakabula has become a 'must play' course!
The word 'Sakabula' comes from the Zulu word for the longtailed widow bird, a word that denotes a 'flirt' or 'show-off'. These birds are prolific in the KwaZulu Natal Midlands and on the estate, and during the mating season the males can be easily identified by their ability to stay in the air while hovering with their exceptionally long tail feathers.