Aerial View of Palace of the Lost City and Sun City, South Africa

Sun City, South Africa – So Much More Than Sunshine!

So, you are planning on or have been viewing wild animals on your South Africa vacation. No doubt you will have or already had the pleasure of experiencing places such as Table Mountain, Zululand, the Garden Route, and other country highlights. Here’s another consideration for something completely different – Sun City.

Before giving a run down on what the attractions are in Sun City, let’s locate it. It is only a 2-hour drive or 45-minute flight from Johannesburg, heading north west. Imagine an area of rural countryside in which a whole self-contained entertainment centre is suddenly discovered. The best comparison I can come up with is Las Vegas being a kind of entertainment oasis in the middle of the Nevada desert. Sun City is nowhere near as extensive as Las Vegas, but it certainly provides pleasure for everyone.

Here is a nutshell list of what you will find in this entertainment complex: 5 hotels, 19 restaurants, 8 bars, a water park, 2 golf courses, a number of shops and stores, spas, movie theatres, night clubs, and a casino. Don’t, however, think of Sun City as being highly built up. It is very well designed, spacious, and very green.

One luxury hotel of note, The Palace of the Lost City, is like nothing you have seen before. It is omnipresent due to its unique design and hilltop location at the northern end of Sun City. Allow me to quote the hotel’s own description, “The fantasy of an African palace is indulged in every detail, from the stately volumes of the reception and dining areas to the mosaics, frescoes and fountains that enhance the architecture, all surrounded by lush botanical gardens crisscrossed with hiking trails.”

Suggested Itinerary:
3-Day Palace of the Lost City – Stay of Distinction

Aerial View of Palace of the Lost City Stay of Distinction, Sun City, South Africa
Aerial view of Palace of the Lost City

How to Pass Your Time
The water park, known as Sun City Waterworld, is situated on a man-made lake and offers a wide choice of water activities including parasailing, jet skiing, wake-boarding, tube rides, and rowboats. You can even indulge in water-skiing lessons.

I mentioned there were two golf courses. Both are international-standard 18-hole golf courses, one called the Gary Player Country Club, and the other, the Lost City Golf Course, both designed by golf legend, Gary Player. One thing about the latter, it is noted for the 38 crocodiles in the water at the 13th hole! Just an added attraction, wouldn’t you say?

Then there is tennis, squash, swimming, mountain biking, horse riding, and for the very active, running trails.

I don’t think I included shows in my list of attractions. In the evening, you can enjoy local and international performers here. Some famous names who have appeared in the past are the Beach Boys, Linda Ronstadt, Cher, Liza Minnelli, Frank Sinatra, Paul Anka, Rod Stewart, and Elton John.

Gary Player's Lost City Golf Course, Sun City, South Africa
Gary Player’s Lost City Golf Course

How About a Safari?
If you haven’t experienced any wildlife viewing yet on arrival at Sun City, then this is readily available at the nearby Pilanesberg Game Reserve – which borders Sun City, with its rugged landscapes and well-watered valleys. Since 1979, thanks to something called Operation Genesis, the largest game resettlement in South Africa took place, making available everything from A to Z (aardvark to zebra). The park boasts healthy populations of lion, leopard, black and white rhino, elephant, and buffalo – Africa’s “Big Five”. A wide variety of both rare and common species exist such as the nocturnal brown hyena, fleet-footed cheetah, giraffe, zebra, hippo, and crocodile. What more could you want? One way to enjoy your game viewing is to take a hot air balloon ride. This adventure takes approximately 4 hours and includes an early morning pick-up from your hotel at Sun City and a guided drive to the launch site situated in the centre of the reserve. Upon landing, you’ll discover a table is set for a lovely champagne breakfast in the veldt!

Black Rhino is Pilanesberg Game Reserve, South Africa
Black rhino in Pilanesberg Game Reserve
Elephants in Pilanesberg Game Reserve, South Africa
Elephants in Pilanesberg Game Reserve

I went to Sun City thinking of it in advance as something of a pleasure park. It was not at all like that. There is something for everyone, and I found the ambience to be relaxing, given the ability to be involved with a multiple of activities as desired. It is worth definitely considering on your next South Africa vacation!

Suggested Itinerary:
3-Day Sun City

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Robert Glazier
Robert Glazier

Contributing Writer - With over 40 years experience in the travel industry, and working for Goway for the last 19 years, British-born Robert Glazier has travelled to over 80 countries. “I have never met a destination which didn’t have something to interest me,” he says. His first foray abroad was from England to Switzerland on a school trip at the age of 14, and that was the start of a long journey. An avid runner, Robert’s favourite way of exploring a destination, is to don his running shoes and really get to know it on foot, even if it means sometimes getting lost! His advice to other travellers? Always wonder what is around the next corner!

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