When you think of booking a trip to South Africa for the first time you are thinking Cape Town, Johannesburg, maybe even Durban. I bet Sun City was never on your radar but with the big five on your doorstep and luxury accommodation to relax in, let me put it firmly on your must visit list.
Our only option was to fly into Johannesburg so it is a LONG transfer from there to Sun City. 2.5 hours on a fairly straight and pitch black road is not pleasant at night but the sight that greets you on entering Sun City Resort is worth it. Grand regal buildings, impressive statues and tree lined streets await and house the most intricate details I have ever seen in a hotel or resort.
Sun City Resort was built in 1979 and is the Vegas of South Africa offering glitz and glamour for locals and tourists alike. The Miss South Africa pageant is held here every year as well as regular music events. Elton John and Michael Buble are just two of the big names who have played here in the past.
Set at the back of the resort and just a mile from the entrance to Pilanesberg National Park is The Palace Of The Lost City, their five star flagship hotel and a place of pure luxury.
The entrance and reception area are adorned with intricately painted ceilings, golden zebra-hide upholstered furniture and bright mosaic artwork that really set the scene for what awaits in your room.
The large restaurant has outside seating for your champagne buffet breakfast or an intimate dinner before drinks in front of the elephant fountain. The wine list is particularly good with a fabulous South African selection from local wineries.
The guest rooms are exquisite with all the South African detail you can expect from the entrance and reception area. From the animal themed carpet to the monkey lamps, they have thought of everything and you will find a large balcony to overlook the lush gardens that have been given botanic garden status in South Africa.
As well as the large comfy bed and the regular amenities you would expect from a luxury five star hotel, there is also a comfy sofa to laze on when the sun is too hot and a pretty dining area to enjoy room service with a good film.
Molton Brown toiletries are replenished every day and with such a deep bath it is hard not to want to take a dip every day! As a pair of friends visiting there was so much room we never felt like we were invading each others privacy. The bathroom also had a changing area with sliding doors so plenty of room for 2 girls to get ready in the morning.
Touring the hotel is much more fun than you would think! You can scale the stairs to the very top of the Palace for views across Sun City Resort and beyond to see the mountains and spot as many birds as you can.
Entrance to Valley Of the Waves is included when you stay at the Palace and is a fun day for all the family. Relax on a sun lounger and soak in the sun or hit the Roaring Lagoon with 2 metre high waves every 90 seconds. There is also the Temple Of Courage for the adrenaline junkies out there who can handle a 17 metre drop down an almost vertical slide as well as some more tame rides for those who have a little more sense!
The Royal Baths is for adults only and is the perfect spot for relaxing around a beautiful pool with a cocktail in hand. We spent many a day here chatting and reading a good book.
The Hippo Gorge Walk links the Palace with the Valley Of The Waves and is such a fun walk with waterfalls, plants and hidden friends to spot.
At night the Sun City Resort comes to life with a lively casino, a range of restaurants from fast food to a la carte and even a cinema. We particularly enjoyed cocktails on the terrace at Tusk bar within the Palace but a highlight from our trip that will stay with me forever is watching the Springboks win a crucial match from the comfort of the Shebeen, which is on the outskirts of the resort and as authentic as can be. Bunny Chow and Castle Lager with the locals whilst cheering on the national side is really something and they are the most friendly people I have ever met.
Sun City is one of the most luxurious places I have ever stayed and I can’t wait to return to South Africa and explore even more. The people are welcoming and friendly, genuinely happy to show you around and give you tips for the rest of your stay. One of the best tips we were given was to take a game drive from the Resort into Pilanesberg to see the big five who live within a mile of the resort. Elephants, rhinos, buffalo, lions and leopards can all be seen in their own environment which is the most magical thing I have ever seen, but you will need to wait for the next travel post for that trip.
If you are heading to South Africa make sure you make the journey over to Sun City Resort, there really is something for everyone and if you are lucky you may also see the monkeys running around within the Resort itself.
You can book your stay here.
With thanks to South African Tourism For The UK who generously arranged this trip.