Sun City

An aerial view of the Palace of the Lost City.

Sun City is known as Africa's 'Kingdom of Pleasure' and combines a variety of entertainment facilities.

Province:
North West
Established:
1979
Size:
4.89 km2
Number of hotels:
4
Creator:
Sol Kerzner

Introduction

Sun City is a unique family resort in the North West province of South African. It was established by South African hotel magnate Sol Kerzner during the dark days of apartheid, when the government cordoned off independent homelands or 'bantustans' for the various indigenous peoples of South Africa.

One of these homelands was called Bophuthatswana, and was intended as an independent homeland for the Tswana people. Gambling was illegal in South Africa at the time, and Kerzner dreamed up an imaginary kingdom complete with a fanciful legend of a lost city and a lost tribe as the basis for his resort.

Today the resort lies in a tranquil basin of an extinct volcano in the Pilanesberg adjacent to South Africa's rich platinum belt. It boasts four hotels, an award-winning golf course and many other attractions for tourists of every ilk.

Reasons to Visit

1

World-class Golfing

The Gary Player Golf Course and the Lost City Golf Course, both designed by South African golfing legend Gary Player, are both internationally acclaimed courses. The Gary Player Golf Course is renowned for hosting the annual Million Dollar Nedbank Golf Challenge, whilst the scenic Lost City Golf Course is better known for the almost 40 crocodiles that frequent the 13th hole.

2

Jackpot

The Sun City Resort is at the height of gaming entertainment in South Africa, offering an impressive range of slots and more than forty table games. It also caters for those who don’t prefer gambling, with various bars and restaurants. The children can also visit the gaming arcade or go for a movie while you play.

3

Summer at the 'beach'

A man-made beach, complete with a 6500 m2 wave pool with a 2m wave every ninety seconds, will give you the impression that you are actually on holiday on the sunny coastline of South Africa, not in the remote North West. It is only one of the great attractions available for both children and adults set in the Valley of the Waves, which also includes slides, rides and a food court.

Useful Info

Getting There
Plane

By Air

Sun City Resort lies relatively close to Johannesburg and Pretoria. Guests to the resort will be welcomed at OR Tambo International in Johannesburg from where the journey will continue on the well-maintained roads of Gauteng and the North West. Private charters are also available to the nearby Pilanesberg National Park.

Car

By Road

The resort is situated approximately 200km from Johannesburg, and takes about two and a half hours to reach. It is important to note, however, that this road is the main arterial link to the north, and can get extremely busy during school and public holidays. We will make sure that your trip to Sun City is a comfortable one, and we will arrange for a charter if needed.

Weather & Best Time To Visit

True to its name, Sun City is a blue sky, sunshine destination for most of the year, and visitors don’t really have to consult their calendar because of the weather. If you plan to visit a nearby safari destination, however, the winter months from May to August are the best time to view wildlife in South Africa, as the vegetation is quite dense during the rainy summers.

It is better to avoid the resort altogether over December, as it gets extremely full during the peak season with summer school holidays in full swing. In the deepest of winter, June and July, the evenings can be cold, but not uncomfortably so. If you are planning on visiting the Valley of the Waves, make sure to contact an African Sky consultant to confirm that it is open.
History
Sun City Resort & Hotels was conceived and built by South African hotel magnate Sol Kerzner during the dark days of apartheid when the South African government of the day established independent homelands or 'bantustans' for the various indigenous peoples of South Africa.

One of these homelands was called Bophuthatswana, and was intended to exist as an independent homeland for the Tswana people. Gambling was illegal in South Africa at the time, and Kerzner dreamed up an imaginary kingdom complete with a fanciful legend of a lost city and a lost tribe as the basis for his resort.

Kerzner started life as a manager of a small family-owned hotel in Durban, a coastal city on the Indian Ocean. Through hard work and innovative marketing he built his empire into an international entity known as Sun International. Today, the company owns resorts and hotels in Africa, the Caribbean, the Americas and Europe, but Sun City is still one of the big success stories of Kerzner's career. The resort was opened on 7 December 1979.

Because of the alternative laws in the homelands, Sun City could provide entertainment such as gambling and topless revue shows, which were illegal in South Africa itself. Sun City is an easy drive from main centers such as Pretoria and Johannesburg, and as such these unique (and illegal) forms of entertainment attracted thousands upon thousands of tourists from South Africa.

Wildlife

The Kwena Gardens Crocodile Sanctuary can be found close to the entrance of Sun City. Within this sanctuary there are hundreds of crocodiles. It is even home to three of the largest captive Nile crocodiles in the world. It offers educational tours and even a chance to hold a baby crocodile. The bird sanctuary at Sun City allows one to observe a variety of birds, such as parrots, owls and vultures, up close. Animal World gives people of all ages the chance to get close and personal with a variety of animals. There are various species such as leopard tortoise, hippopotamus and a variety of antelope. Even on the golf courses, one might sneak a peek at crocodiles in the water hazards and baboons on the fairways.

Two well-known reserves, Pilanesberg and Madikwe, are in very close proximity to Sun City. Day trips are available directly from Sun City. This allows for a true South African bush experience minutes away from this luxurious resort. Both neighboring reserves contain all of the Big Five, namely the elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo, leopard and lion. Other predators one might find include cheetah, wild dog and even brown hyena. Picturesque zebra and giraffe are plentiful. Both of these reserves have documented over 300 species of birds. As these birds roam freely, bird watching may be enjoyed from Sun City itself. Similar to Pilanesberg, more than 100 species can be seen daily when migrant species arrive during summer. 

Vegetation & Terrain

Sun City is not particularly well known for its vegetation, being a luxury resort and casino, situated in the North West Province of South Africa. Its location between the Elands River and the Pilanesberg merits some elucidation. The resort is made up of different sections which includes the Lost City, the Valley of the Waves, two internationally acclaimed 18-hole golf courses, multiple hotels and share-time facilities, Sun Central (which features the Sun City Superbowl and the South African Hall of fame) and the legendary Sun City Casino. Each of these in turn have their own attractions and features which is too extensive to list.

The resort includes extensive water features, fountains, pools, natural lakes, and the waterpark and the vegetation is of a sub-tropical nature, including palm trees. The Cabanas open up onto lush gardens and waterfalls found in the Lost City. The resort, which is situated in the heart of an ancient volcano, is enveloped by the African bush, and those who want to experience true safari landscapes can visit Pilanesberg or one of the reserves nearby. The resorts, which is nearly 20km in circumference, was landscaped specifically for entertainment purposes based on the classic 1885 novel 'King Solomon's Mines' by English novelist Sir Henry Rider Haggard. 

Activities

The resort offers two golf courses of international standard, both designed by Gary Player. The Gary Player Country Club was the first course to be laid out, followed by the Lost City Golf Course. The Gary Player Country Club is the course where the Nedbank Golf Challenge is held annually and some of the best international players have competed in this tournament over the years. The Lost City Golf Course is unique in that the water feature on the 13th hole is home to 38 crocodiles.

The resort has an animal farm, an extensive aviary, the Motseng Cultural Village and, of course, its famous water-based fun park, the Valley of the Waves. The animal farm is where kids of all ages can meet animals, domestic and wild, face-to-face. The aviary is stocked with a huge collection of birds from all parts of the world. The Motseng Cultural Village is a living museum where visitors can see how the indigenous people of the area lived in bygone days. The Valley of the Waves is a recreational haven of slides, rides, a large wave pool and even a man-made beach.

The casino offers all forms of gambling, from card games and roulette to slot machines and bingo. In the Salon Prive, gamblers with a nose for big winnings can try their luck against the house or each other for almost limitless stakes. Gamblers may call on an army of servers for snacks, drinks or any other requirement they might have.

Experiences to be Savored

The Valley of the Waves at the Sun City Resort.

The Valley of the Waves

If you have children you will love this place. If you don’t, you will say that you just have to go for it without looking too juvenile. The Valley of the Waves is an enormous water park that includes a wave pool that generates 2m high waves, royal baths, super slides and a lazy river, to name a few.

The Amazing maze

One of the hidden gems of the Sun City Resort, the maze in the Lost City covers half an acre and is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. Embark on a journey through the winding passageways to be met with a well-deserved beer when you reach the end.

Game for golf

If you are a golfer, the resort offers some of the country's most pristine and renowned courses; the legendary Gary Player Golf Course, which is home to the annual Nedbank Golf Challenge, and the Lost City Golf Course which is home to almost 40 crocodiles – come prepared!

FAQ

Is surfing permitted in the Valley of Waves?
Surfing is not allowed, and also, the waves don’t reach a suitable size for surfing.
Are there restaurants in the resort?
Yes, there are plenty of restaurants and bars situated around the resort, as well as a food court by the Valley of Waves.
Are there any game reserves nearby that we can visit?
Yes, Sun City is situated quite close to the Madikwe Game Reserve, as well as the Pilanesberg National Park.
How many golf courses are at the resort?
There are two internationally acclaimed courses.
Is the resort wheelchair-friendly?
The resort is wheelchair-friendly and also offers activities that are wheelchair-friendly.
Will I have access to WiFi?
There is complimentary WiFi available in the resort.
Can you visit the resort for a day?
Day visitors are allowed, however there is small fee to pay for the day. There will also be separate fees for different activities (such as entering the Valley of Waves).

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