I’ll begin my Sun City overview with a little childhood story. When I was a little girl, growing up in the nineties in South Africa, Sun City was advertised on TV a lot! Intrepid explorers had discovered a lost city in the depths of the African jungles—it was the stuff dreams were made of!
It was only when I got older that I realized Sun City was, in fact, a resort: the most glamorous place for South Africans to spend their hard-earned rand!
I finally got the chance to visit Sun City myself when an aunt invited me to stay with her in Johannesburg for the summer holidays.
We only stopped by The Casino and The Valley of Waves Waterpark, but I was utterly enthralled by the place. One day, I promised myself, I’ll return here and stay in that grand hotel on the hill.
Sun City was developed by South African business magnate Sol Kerzner, and it opened its doors on December 7th, 1979. In the early eighties, it hosted performances from superstars like Frank Sinatra, Liza Minelli, Rod Steward, and Elton John; and the nineties saw it as the setting for Miss World in 1992-1995 and 2001.
It continues to be a popular venue for various concerts and events, including the annual Miss South Africa and Miss South Africa Teen pageants.
Day visitors, like my aunt and myself, come particularly to try their luck at the Casino inside the Soho Hotel or enjoy the Valley of Waves, South Africa’s most advanced waterpark.*
Sun City also boasts two international-standard golf courses, designed by golfing legend Gary Player, and four hotels. The Palace Hotel rests on the site of an extinct volcano. It is by far the grandest in the whole resort!
*The waterpark is closed yearly around May 30th-July 7th for maintenance. Be sure to double check before going!
The Palace of The Lost City grabbed my attention from the moment we passed the magnificent fountain at the entrance, until the end of our stay.
When we walked into the lobby, I was looking around so much in awe that I nearly unscrewed my head from my neck.
Themed hotels can easily come off as tacky. The Palace is so stylishly and carefully decorated that I felt I’d been transported into another world. I felt like a Disney princess wandering through the halls adorned with jungle- and tribal-themed sculptures, paintings, and carpets.
But the real cherry on top came when I opened the large patio doors in our spacious room. It overlooked an expanse of jungle resounding with birdcalls. There was even a sign on the sliding doors reminding visitors to keep them closed, in case monkeys wandered in! We truly were in a palace in a lost, ancient city.
The amazing Hammam-style sauna shower, luxurious complimentary toiletries, and the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in. The hotel itself is beautifully decorated and the grounds are well maintained.
Dining venues within the hotel include: The Crystal Court, where they serve buffet breakfast and a fancy afternoon tea; The Grill Room, an exclusive, reservation-only steakhouse; and The Palace Pool Deck, where you can enjoy a variety of cocktails, snacks, and pizzas. The Tusk Bar & Lounge, meanwhile, provides a fun, stylish environment to drink in.
During our two night stay, we opted for breakfast in the Crystal Court, which was really quite a spectacular affair; and we ordered room service for dinner, because we just felt so relaxed in our beautiful accommodation!
There are also numerous restaurants to choose from outside The Palace Hotel. We ate at the excellent Ocean Basket, which specializes in seafood.
For more dining options, check out this site: https://www.suninternational.com/sun-city/restaurants/
There’s fun for all the family throughout Sun City resort. Experience a morning hot-air balloon ride over the Pilanesberg National Park, discover South Africa’s ‘Big Five’ (lions, elephants, buffaloes, rhinos, and leopards) on a game drive, or join a rhino-tracking safari.
For the water-lovers among you, the 1.8-metre waves at the waterpark’s Roaring Lagoon are a must.
Is shopping or watching a movie more your style? Visit Sun Central which features a plethora of retail outlets and family-friendly entertainment venues.
For a real South African experience, dine at The Shebeen, where you can sample local delicacies such as township-style braai and pap, and the all-time favourite braai broodjies.
If you don’t feel like going out, don’t worry—there’s plenty to do inside the Palace Hotel! Lounge at the scenic swimming pool. Indulge in a treatment at the SPA, or take a stroll in the lush gardens surrounding the hotel.
In 2004, Sun City opened the world’s longest, highest, and fastest original Zipline, which you can find adjoining the Pilanesberg Game Reserve.
It held these titles for over six years, and boasts an impeccable safety record. We weren’t able to visit the zipline during our stay—but it’s a great reason to go back!
Hope you’ve found this review about Sun City informative and useful! For more travel inspirations in South Africa check out Six Great Safari Camps in Kruger National Park and Cape Town (and surrounds) on any budget.
This page may contain affiliate links, which means I will receive a commission if you buy one of these products, at no additional cost to you. I only list things that I personally love.