MoAfrika Tours offers a Sun City transfer shuttle that will take you to a place of fantasy and excitement. A Sun City day tour involves everything from hair-raising waterslides to sipping cocktails at a pool bar, long walks in tropical gardens, quadbike riding and trying your luck at the roulette table. There are so many things to do in Sun City you’ll have to come back one day for more.
The Sun City transfer shuttle picks you up at takes you on a scenic journey to Sun Central; the entertainment hub of one of South Africa’s most popular tourist destinations. Located in the North West Province of South Africa, Sun City is a luxury resort and casino situated next to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve.
The Sun City transfer shuttle offers guests a choice of a wildlife safari aswell as more fun than you can pack in a day. MoAfrika Tours have been taking tourists on wildlife safaris to Pilanesberg Game Reserve for many years, with professional safari guides who know the popular national reserve like it’s their second home.
The only problem with taking a Sun City for a day tour to the exciting fantasy city is deciding what to do and what you’ll miss. Your MoAfrika Tours guide will point you in the direction of the most popular attractions at Sun City but here’s more information to help you plan the perfect day at Sun City.
A Sun City Day Tour is just one of the many excursions you can enjoy with MoAfrika Tours. Others include a Johannesburg tour, a Soweto tour, a Kruger Safari tour and a Cape Winelands tour. MoAfrika Tours offers something for everyone; whether it’s history, culture or wildlife you’re interested in.
THE HISTORY OF SUN CITY
Sun City Resort & Casino and the breath-taking Palace of the Lost City were developed by a visionary hotel magnate, Sol Kerzner. It was opened in 1979 with the dream of offering South Africans and international tourists a fantasy escape and the freedom to play and relax in a top-quality environment.
In the late 1970s, South Africa was embroiled in the liberation struggle to free itself of the ruthless apartheid system; the United Nations had imposed a cultural boycott on South Africa and international artists refused to perform in the country. Sun City was a “rebel development” and widely acclaimed for being the first truly free and safe place for all South Africans to enjoy.
Kerzner created what can only be described as a magical oasis in a fairly arid corner of an independent state, known then as Bophuthatswana. Sun City is a two-hour drive from the economic hubs of Johannesburg and Pretoria and its location was just one reason it became an overnight success.
Kerzner offered substantial financial incentives to international artists to perform at Sun City and the likes of the Beach Boys, Linda Ronstadt, Cher, Frank Sinatra, Rod Stewart and Elton John performed to sold-out audiences in Sun City’s Superbowl auditorium. The resort also hosted racially-mixed world heavyweight boxing championships; the most famous being American Mike Weaver and challenger, South African Gerrie Coetzee.
Bophuthatswana was eventually re-incorporated into the new democratic South Africa in 1994 and the novelty of international performers, gambling and risqué entertainment has worn off somewhat. However, Sun City has a particular allure that keeps people coming back for more; it’s a place to escape where you can immerse yourself in a fantasy world not found anywhere else in South Africa.
THINGS TO DO IN SUN CITY
The Sun City transfer shuttle drops you off at the terminal at Sun Central; South Africa’s most exciting entertainment hub located in the heart of Sun City. Sun City has recently been refurbished to the tune of R1-billion and Sun Central is now offering visitors even more to do in a spectacular newly-refreshed environment.
Sun Central offers everything from adrenalin-packed kid’s entertainment to gaming, betting and motor racing for adults. A new addition is the Hall of Fame that honours South Africa’s famous legends in sport, culture and history.
The Sun City Superbowl remains a popular destination with live performances by local and international performing artists. Sun Central boasts an amazing collection of restaurants with a wide choice of favourite meals for the whole family.
Sun City Casino
The Sun City Casino facility was central to the success of Sun City when it opened in the late 1970s. Deprived of gambling facilities in South Africa at the time, this exotic casino destination has always offered visitors round-the-clock entertainment and a chance to escape from reality for a while.
Sun City Casino has recently been refurbished and offers hundreds of exciting slot machines and over 40 popular table games. Sun MVG cardholders have exclusive access to the Salon Privé and VIP gaming facilities.
Valley of Waves
The Valley of Waves is a major attraction at Sun City and regarded as one of the most exciting water parks in the world. You could spend the whole day at the Valley of Waves and still want to come back for more.
The main attraction at Valley of Waves in Sun City is the Roaring Lagoon; a 6 500 square metre wave pool with hydraulic mechanisms that generate waves of nearly 2-metres high every 90 seconds. The artificial beach created in the central bowl is so realistic you feel you’ve been shipwrecked and landed on a remote tropical island.
The Temple of Courage is for the brave and daring; it’s an exhilarating adrenalin rush with a 17-metre drop down a 70-metre slide. Only centrifugal force prevents you from hurtling off the almost vertical slide. There are two body slides and two tube rides to enjoy and a designated area for children with safer activities.
When all the adrenalin gets too much, enjoy a leisurely ride on a tube on the Lazy River which takes you around an island. Parents can slip away to The Royal Baths which is a decadent experience reserved for exclusively for adults.
There are a number of stunning walkways leading off the Valley of Waves amphitheatre that can be explored. Discover the Spider Web Sway Bridge and the Hidden Cave Waterfalls while on a stroll through an exotic tropical forest.
The walkway from the Valley of the Waves to Sun Central takes you across a bridge that’s flanked by a herd of stone-crafted elephants. The bridge erupts every hour in a theatrical display of vibrations, rumpling volcanic sounds and smoke.
The Palace of the Lost City
A major attraction on a Sun City day tour is exploring the magnificent Palace of the Lost City. This incredible premier hotel is the vision of a man renowned for his brilliant architecture and imagination. The 5-star luxury destination at Sun City lies nestled on an extinct volcanic site flanked by the pretty Pilanesberg Mountains and surrounded by a lush tropical garden that will take your breath away.
The Palace of the Lost City is inspired by the myth of a lost African Kingdom and the fantasy is indulged in every detail; from the stately entrance hall to meticulous detail in the expansive mosaic flooring, hand-crafted carpets and frescoes.
The mythical kingdom is adorned by awe-inspiring statues, stone carvings, vaulted ceilings, flame topped towers and animal sculptures. The sheer scale and grandeur of the regal masterpiece of The Palace of the Lost City and its surrounds has to be seen to be believed.
The Maze of the Lost City
The Maze of the Lost City at Sun City resembles a half-ruined Mayan stone maze and offers visitors a challenging and exciting experience. It fits in with the mythical theme of the Palace of the Lost City and covers an area of 2 200 square metres. The Maze is reached by crossing a 90-metre long suspension bridge that in itself is an engineering masterpiece.
The pathway to and from the Maze takes you on a scenic walk through lush vegetation with stunning views of the Palace of the Lost City, the Bridge of Time and the Valley of the Waves. The Maze restaurant and bar is the perfect place to end a fun time exploring the mythical stone ruins.
Gary Player Golf Course
The Gary Player Country Club Golf Course was designed by South Africa’s iconic golfing legend and is famous world-wide as an elite golfing destination. The developers of Sun City aimed to create a golf course that would rival the best in the world. Today, in spite of stiff competition, the Gary Player course and country club house is ranked as one of the most prestigious golfing facilities on the African continent.
Sun City hosts a number of annual golfing championships that attract both local and international players, the most prestigious being the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
This is one of two golf courses at Sun City; the other one being the Lost City golf course. Gary Player’s course is an 18-hole, par-72 walking course with a 5 kilometre running trail around the perimeter. You won’t have time to play an 18-hole round of golf on a day tour to Sun City but you can enjoy a leisurely stroll around the course, taking in the spectacular scenery and lush rolling lawns.
Waterworld offers thrill seekers and adrenalin junkies a wide choice of water activities which include parasailing, jet skiing, wakeboarding and tube rides. Skilled water skiing instructors can give you lessons and experienced parasailing instructors will take you on a tandem ride high up into the sky.
Waterworld is located on a massive man-made lake nestled below a spectacular mountain range. If you don’t fancy anything to energetic, you and your family can enjoy a leisurely boat cruise around the lake which is home to free-roaming game and indigenous water birds.
Sun City employs the services of Adrenaline Extreme that offer visitors to Sun City a wide range of outdoor activities. They range from more serious 3-wheel drift trikes and 4×4 quads suitable for adults to hovercrafts, a giant human catapult and dirt buggies for the whole family.
The Kwena Gardens is a crocodile sanctuary that is both highly educational and exciting. You can get up close and personal with some of the biggest crocodiles you’ll ever see in your life. Plan your visit to Kwena Gardens at feeding times when the crocodiles erupt into a frenzy of strength and power to get the most they can eat.
A tour guide will introduce you to the different characters at Kwena Gardens and you’ll get the chance to hold a baby crocodile and take a few photos. There is a small restaurant at Kwena Gardens and affordable accommodation set in a warm African village atmosphere.
If you haven’t had the chance to visit one of South Africa’s premier game reserves, Predator World is the ideal family destination for a whistle-stop wildlife safari. Guided tours take you to well-kept enclosures that are home to an array of indigenous animals.
A tour of Predator World offers visitors a chance to see lions, cheetahs, leopards, the African serval, meerkat and the spotted and brown hyena. An exotic resident at Predator World is a Bengal tiger which is the national animal of Bangladesh.
FASCINATING FACTS ABOUT THE PALACE OF THE LOST CITY
Construction began in August 1990 and was completed within 28 months. This is a very short period of time for a project of such scale and extravagance. The construction was a huge boost for the local economy at the time as some 5 000 people were employed to work on the building site. Almost 2 million cubic metres of earth was moved from the site and some 85 000 cubic metres of concrete were used to create the fantasy city.
Africa’s abundance of wildlife and our love of nature have been captured in magnificent detail in every facet of the construction. The developers paid homage to our wonderful animals with moulded towers topped by palm-frond domes, while elephant tusks and wildlife carvings adorn the exterior. Six elephant tusks arch in pairs over the Tusk Lounge & Bar, made from Indonesian Square wood which is heavier than ivory.
The atrium is dominated by a life-size bronze of Shawu, one of Africa’s most famous elephants. The Big Tusker’s realistic form is bought to life in the leathery texture of its skin, ragged ears and cracked feet. Shawu towers 4.5 metres off the polished floor surface and is one of the most photographed animal sculptures in the world.
The grand interior is fitting of a royal palace with a domed roof enhanced with serpentine paintings and floors that shine with textures of intricate mosaics. The rich detail in the décor belies the fact that everything was sourced locally; one imagines that the stylish pieces were brought in from some exotic country.
Everything in the legendary royal kingdom was hand-crafted by local artisans. Hand-carved furniture and décor items are used throughout the hotel with the most impressive décor feature being the massive 8-high doors at the royal entrance. The carpets were custom-designed exclusively for the hotel; hand-crafted specifically to Sol Kerzner’s uncompromising standards.
The ceiling dome of the royal entrance chamber is an engineering masterpiece. It rises 25 metres above floor level, measures 16 metres in diameter and is held aloft by six sculptured columns. The domed roof in the Crystal Court was a major architectural challenge, spanning 29 metres and supporting five floors of suites above it.
The floor of the entrance lobby is adorned with elaborate mosaics comprised of 38 different shades. Each individual mosaic was laid by hand, creating a design of a lush forest floor surrounded by six African animals. The outer circle is an intricate design of circles of zebra stripes. The concierge desk was hand-carved from sapele pommele with tops of rosa verona and quagga marble.
The painted ceiling of the vast Royal Entrance Chamber was created in the same way Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel in Rome. It took talented artists some 5 000 hours to create the royal masterpiece.
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The King’s Tower stands at 70 metres above floor level and is the tallest of the ten Palace towers. Guests can enjoy views of the crystal-clear pool below, the lush tropical forest and the rocky surrounds that encase the magical oasis.
The King’s Suite is the embodiment of regal opulence. The walls are hand-carved from maple wood and every item in the room is custom-designed and crafted by hand. There are two massive bedrooms in the suite, each with a king-sized bed, a sitting area, armoire and an opulent en-suite bedroom. There is also a small library in the suite, a guest powder room, a sauna and a butler’s pantry.
WHERE TO EAT AT SUN CITY
Sun City offers a vast selection of culinary delights with everything from fine dining to family-friendly restaurants, fast-food outlets and themed cocktail bars. The food court at Sun Central offers family-friendly options catering for South Africans on a tighter budget while the hotel restaurants and cocktail bars offers a more decadent experience.
There are so many places to eat in Sun City; it only depends on how fancy or fast you need it to be.
Cabanas Pool Bar at Sun City
This is a popular spot for the hotel residents. It’s open every day and serves tasty light meals and colourful cocktails to guests spending a lazy day relaxing at the hotel’s pool. A fun waterslide at the Cabanas pool keeps kids busy while adults enjoy the grand gardens.
Treasure Island Snack Bar at Cabanas Hotel
Enjoy a delicious meal while soaking up the sun on the pool deck. It’s a picture-perfect spot to break a day of fun at the Sun City Waterworld.
Harlequins at Soho Hotel
Decadent cocktails and elegant meals make Harlequins a sought-after restaurant in Sun City for the hipster crowd. The atmosphere is classy and elegant.
Luma Bar & Lounge at Cascades Hotel
For a light lunch or a leisurely evening at sundowners, the Luma Bar & Lounge at the Cascades Hotel is the ideal restaurant in Sun City if you need a calm lull in a busy day. It’s well known for its outstanding coffee and fine selection of wines and whiskey.
Tusk Bar & Lounge at The Palace of the Lost City
Escape to an imaginary world and enjoy safari-themed cocktails in an exotic setting. The Tusk Bar & Lounge is set in a spectacular setting that transports guests back in time, stirring up memories of days gone by.
The Maze Bar at Sun City Resort
This popular establishment at the main Sun City entertainment complex offers a selection of the finest local craft beers aswell as the best of South Africa’s wines. The Maze Bar is located at the end of the Maze Walk and has an incredible view, overlooking the lush gardens of Sun City and the hazy mountains in the distance.
PLACES TO STAY IN SUN CITY
Places to stay in Sun City range from budget-friendly self-catering chalets to high-end luxury hotels.
The Sun City Vacation Club is a popular destination for South Africans and operates as a separate entity to the Sun City complex; with its own restaurant, convenience shop and outdoor entertainment which includes a heated pool and mini golf course. It was created by converting the original staff accommodation into self-catering chalets that are sold on a timeshare scheme. Half-hourly shuttles ferrying visitors to the popular attractions at Sun City.
There are four stunning hotels; all designed to the highest architectural standards with fantasy themes and mystical garden surrounds. Choose accommodation at Sun City that is located close to the entertainment hub or something a bit more private away from the busy crowds.
Soho Hotel in Sun City was the first hotel built in Sun City and is often called the main hotel. It offers guest 4-star accommodation in the heart of the resort. The exquisitely decorated hotel is set in a lush tropical garden, providing a tranquil setting despite being so central to the busy casino and entertainment complex.
Cascades Hotel in Sun City is a superb hotel, named for the spectacular waterfalls and crystal-clear natural pools that create a fantasy moat around the hotel. It offers 5-star accommodation and an array of facilities in the calm midst of Sun City.
The Cabanas at Sun City is situated on the banks of the Sun City Waterworld Lake, offering guests a contemporary twist and a delightful base to explore the natural wonders of the resort. Enjoy tasty meals and colourful cocktails in a festive island-style setting, surrounded by lush tropical gardens and rolling lawns.
The hotel is positioned next to a world-class golf course at Sun City and you can enjoy a relaxed stroll around the lush course when the golfers have retired to the 19th hole.
The Palace of the Lost City
The Palace of the Lost City at Sun City is an architectural masterpiece and part of Sun International’s premier collection. The regal Palace offers guests an experience that is both awe-inspiring and surreal.
The 5-star hotel is designed around the theme of a mythical lost palace; with intricately-painted ceilings, mosaic artwork and African-styled décor. It is set in a striking setting, with each lavish room overlooking a magical pool and the lush tropical surrounds.
The Pilanesberg Game Reserve is Sun City’s northerly neighbour and only a short 15-20 minute drive in a Sun City transfer shuttle to the park’s main gate. Moafrika Tours has been operational in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve for the past 6 years and offers tourists a unique and memorable safari experience.
The Pilanesberg Game Reserve is South Africa’s third-largest national wildlife park and a popular destination due to it being more accessible for Gauteng-based tourists than the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga. It is a malaria-free eco-zone which has massive appeal for visitors who don’t want the hassle and expense of taking malaria tablets on a whistle-stop wildlife safari.
An abundance of game roams the Pilanesberg hills and valleys that lie nestled in the crater of an ancient volcano in the North West Province of South Africa. It boasts an interesting array of biospheres from the drier Kalahari Desert belt in the north-western corner to the more lush vegetation in the south-east corner.
The Pilanesberg Game Reserve is home to the Big 5, a stunning array of indigenous and migratory birds and an abundance of antelope and predators. The area is rich in tribal history and the story of its creation is fascinating in itself. The massive wildlife translocation programme needed to establish the reserve was a joint venture with the Bakgatla tribe and conservationists, and regarded as one of the most ambitious programmes of its kind undertaken anywhere in the world.
Speak to someone at Moafrika Tours and a combined excursion that is a combination of beach and bush can be arranged. The Sun City transfer shuttle can include a tour of both South Africa’s famous imaginary city and its most popular national park.
BEST TIME TO VISIT SUN CITY
You can basically visit Sun City any month of the year as the tropical climate in the North West Province is pleasant all-year round. The really hot summer months are cooled down with indoor air-conditioning and days spent at the pool. The colder winter months are spent at the heated pools or indoors where all the action takes place.
Deciding when to take the Sun City transfer shuttle depends on what you want to do and if you want to avoid the crowds.
The North West Province of South Africa is a summer rainfall region but it is located in a region that experiences lower-than-average rainfall. When it rains, it’s usually for a short period of time and it’s mostly appreciated as a brief respite from the hot weather.
Summer months: October to March
The days are usually hot and bathed in sunlight with intermittent rainfall. The Sun City hotels and the Sun Central entertainment hub are air-conditioned so there is always somewhere to go mid-day to escape the heat. Of course, the stunning pools and beach are perfect for a refreshing swim.
Winter months: May to August
The days are usually pleasantly warm and mild but it can get quite cold at night. If your Sun City shuttle coincides with a visit to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, the winter months are the best for excellent game viewing. There are a number of heated pools at Sun City to keep children entertained in the colder months.
Spring (April/May) and Autumn (Sept/Oct):
Spring is a great time to visit Sun City as the days are not too hot and the nights not too cold. Autumn is an excellent time for game viewing at the Pilanesberg Game Reserve as the animals drop their young after the cold winter months and the migratory birds have arrived in their hundreds.
South African holiday-makers descend en-mass to Sun City during the school holiday breaks. The busiest times are December/January and March/April. To avoid the very busy holiday season, check the local calendar for the annual school breaks.