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The realisation of a dream of one man, Sun City is a mammoth, glitzy entertainment resort located deep in the North West Province’s bushveld. The resort was the brainchild of billionaire hotel tycoon Sol Kerzner, built on the land of an independent homeland allocated to the Tswana people by the then-Apartheid government and the perfect location to circumvent South Africa’s strict gambling laws.
No expense was spared in creating Sun City’s tropical gardens, magnificent swimming pools, realistic rainforest and waterfalls, and sprawling manicured lawns. All manner of entertainment is provided here and a sky train operates between the four luxury hotels and well-appointed timeshare units.
The resort borders the Pilanesberg National Park, the country’s 3rd largest wildlife reserve, giving visitors the added benefit of a safari experience on Sun City’s doorstep. Along with year-round warm weather, an adventure centre, golf courses and an artificial beach, Sun City caters for every type of vacation imaginable. And the 6000 seat all-purpose arena is capable of hosting any business or international event.
Top 10 reasons to visit Sun City
1. Have a go at striking it rich at the casino jammed with close on 900 slot machines and over 40 gaming tables. High stakes are played at the exclusive International Privé and for the super-rich, the Palace Salon is the ultimate gambling experience.
2. The only differences between a standard beach and the wave pool at the Valley of Waves water park are that the waves arrive every 90 seconds (up to 2m high) and the water temperature remains constant. The park has several water rides to suit all ages.
3. Take a tour of the living Motseng Cultural Village to gain an insight into the lifestyle and traditions of 8 different tribal cultures. Watch while crafts are being made or consult a Sangoma (traditional healer).
4. Sun City has two championship golf courses on site; the Gary Player Golf Course hosts the annual Nedbank Golf Challenge, attracting 30 of the world’s top golfers vying for the $6.5 million prize money, and the newer Lost City Golf Course, the resident crocodiles basking in the sun at the water features and monkeys crossing the fairways.
5. Stock up on supplies at the Sun Village shopping centre. Look out for interesting and unique African crafts and souvenirs to take home as a keepsake.
6. Visit Waterworld to enjoy the jet skis and water skiing on the lake overlooked by the Cabanas Hotel. Get the family onto the wake snake, towed by a speedboat, and try to hold on! Attempt the Jetovator, a jet system that uses water to propel the rider high into the air.
7. Families will appreciate the farm animals at Animal World, the colourful butterflies at Butterfly World and the large bird aviary next to the tennis courts.
8. You’re hot and sweating, you crossed the 100m swing bridge to reach the Maze of the Lost City and you finally made it out of the maze to be joyfully handed an ice cold craft beer at the Pilanesberg Brewery Bar!
9. For the adventurous, the Zip2000 zip slide reaches speeds of 120kph along the 2km zip line 280m above ground.
10. Developed around an extinct volcano and large dam, the Pilanesberg National Park has over 200km of gravel road to view the diverse wildlife in the park. Take an early morning or late evening safari on an open vehicle to watch the Big 5 – lion, rhino, leopard, buffalo and elephant – in their natural habitat.
The Cape Town International and OR Tambo International (Johannesburg) airports have direct flights to the Pilanesberg International Airport, 10km from Sun City and a shuttle service whisks hotel guests directly to the resort. Car rental agencies are located at all airports and one is based at Sun City. Shuttle service companies offer transport services between Johannesburg, Pretoria and Sun City.
Did you know?
Sol Kerzner was once married to South Africa’s first Miss World winner, Anneline Kriel, who won the title in 1974.
Near to Sun City is the town of Phokeng where the Royal Bafokeng nation resides. This tribe is the richest in Africa thanks to their tribal land sitting on one of the world’s richest platinum deposits.