I’m not a golfer, but in two places that I’ve travelled, golf carts were the common transport mode: Ko Olina, Hawaii, and Dolomite Camp in Etosha National Park, Namibia. So how did they compare?
|Overview:||Cart provided with condo rental at sprawling resort “town” that encompasses several beaches, restaurant, golf course, shopping, etc.||Cart as courtesy transport within remote and widely spread safari camp situated along a rocky ridge overlooking flat, arid plains.|
|Means of propulsion:||Electric||Gas|
|Best feature:||Allows you to park in “golf cart only” spots at otherwise full parking lots near popular beaches.||Gets you from common area of camp to your tent (maybe 600 m) in the dark without being et by a leopard (Dolomite has no fences to keep the wildlife out).|
|Road hazards:||Jealous car drivers and the pool noodle that fell out of the cart in front.||Things with big teeth and claws that roar in the night.|
|Thrill of independence:||Oh, yeah! You have to charge up each night, but other than that, the world (or, at least, the resort) is your oyster.||None. You must phone to the reception building for a cart to pick you up. Besides, there’s nowhere to go unless you want to joy-ride across the barren plains with lions snapping at your ankles through the open sides of the cart.|
|Top speed:||Slower than you want to go.||Faster than you want to go.|
|Pollution:||None, unless you throw litter out while riding in one.||Noisy and smelly.|
|Reliability:||Potential to run out of battery power. (Never happened to us.)||Frequently break down.*|
|Fun factor:||Roaring down the golf cart lanes at breakneck speed (5 kph?).||Clinging to the seats as the driver tears along the bumpy ridge trail at top speed.|
|Fear factor:||Crossing main roads where cars are king.||Nearly tumbling out as the cart tilts 35 degrees backward or sideways on steep sections of the trail.|
*When we stayed in 2012, the staff continually explained that only one cart was in working order, thus the delays in service. As I read through recent reviews, I was amused to discover that the situation hasn’t changed: there are still issues with the cart service and the staff are still explaining that only one cart is in working order.
Summary: While I’m not sure I’d want to eschew the carts to walk the distances through Dolomite on those uneven, up-and-down paths at night with ravenous carnivores lurking, I do feel there are probably better solutions. In fact, the one thing I really disliked about this camp was the noisy golf carts. From early in the morning, as soon as breakfast is starting to be served, until well into the evening, as the last guests finish their drinks in the bar, the annoying carts roar around. Since everything is built along one path that runs along the ridge, every cart passes by your unit.
Therefore, our Ko Olina cart wins this comparison easily. Now, let’s pack a picnic, throw the towels into the cart, and head to the beach!
Have you visited somewhere that golf carts are the preferred way to get around? Let me know in a comment!