Four decades of memorable moments – Sun City turns 40!

Sun City TravelJoziStyle

It has been 40 years since Sun International’s legendary Sun City opened its doors, marking the start of a new era in leisure and entertainment for South Africa. Emerging from the dry African bush in what was then known as Bophuthatswana, the resort, launched by hotel magnate Sol Kerzner, instantly captured the hearts and imaginations of entertainment-hungry South Africans. For the first time, they could explore the previously forbidden delights of topless extravaganza dancers, concerts by international bands and artists, and the thrill of glamour gambling.

Over time, Sun City has evolved into one of the most exciting and all-encompassing entertainment and leisure destinations in the country. It is where wildlife, vibrant nightlife, golf, outdoor adventure, an award-winning spa, a world-class casino and adrenaline pumping fun for all ages combine in one spectacular location. Sun City also borders the game-rich and malaria-free Pilanesberg National Park where visitors can spot the Big Five in their natural habitat from hot air balloons, in safari vehicles, on foot or on mountain bikes.

After four decades, we are still inspired to give our guests experiences that will live long in their hearts and memories” explains . “Our 40th anniversary is certainly an auspicious milestone that we will celebrate with a supercharged line-up of entertainment and events during the course of the year.

Raul de Lima | Resort General Manager at Sun City

Sun City has recently undergone an ambitious multi-million rand refurbishment to revitalise its iconic appeal and ensure that it retains its rightful place as South Africa’s entertainment mecca. Today, visitors have a choice of over 30 restaurants, lounges and bars (ranging from fine dining restaurants to casual and family-friendly eateries); state of the art conferencing facilities and a suite of spectacular activities that have broad appeal. There are now seven thrilling water slides at the Valley of Waves; the Chimp & Zee aerial rope adventure course; the Sun City Bike Park; the Adrenaline Extreme adventure hub; Breakout, the mind-boggling obstacle challenge; the Vortex Lounge, and Sun Central which houses movie houses, the SA Hall of Fame and other fantastic attractions.

Sun City boasts a choice of hotels and accommodation. The Palace is a five-star hotel offering grand African luxury; the five-star Cascades offers secluded luxury, the four-star Soho is the resort’s lively Vegas-style hotel, and the three-star Cabanas provides contemporary, island-style accommodation. The resort’s timeshare offering, Sun Vacation Club, boasts self-catering accommodation with a choice of exciting amenities.

“We will not lose momentum garnered over the past 40 years. We continue to source the latest innovations in gaming and leisure to ensure that Sun City remains an iconic premier lifestyle resort on South Africa’s tourism map for another 40 years and beyond. As the old adage goes: life begins at 40,” concludes de Lima cheerfully.

Although the opportunities to create memorable moments at Sun City are vast and diverse, here’s a list of 40 must-try experiences:

Top 10 restaurants and bars

  • Legends – a trendy grill house that pays tribute to the icons that have graced Sun City since 1979.
  • Bocado – offering one of the most beautiful settings to enjoy vibrant Mediterranean dishes.
  • The Grill Room – boasting some of best steaks and grills in the North West.
  • Plume – a chic-classic restaurant offering an evolving, crafted menu.
  • Crystal Court – for the most extensive breakfast buffet and decadent high tea.
  • The Brew Monkey – a gastropub with a decidedly rustic microbrewery feel.
  • Vibes – retro-styled sports bar.
  • Tusk Bar & Lounge – for cocktails and light meals at The Palace.
  • Luma Bar and Lounge – for lunch and sundowners on the deck at Cascades.
  • The Shebeen – for authentic South African food and beer in a laidback setting.

Top 10 leisure activities

  • The Valley of Waves – featuring an array of thrilling water rides and slides.
  • The Cascades Forest of Lights where the lush tropical gardens and waterfalls are transformed into a magnificent landscape of colour.
  • Encore – the upmarket nightclub located at the heart of Sun City’s always-on party zone, Soho.
  • Rejuvenating spa treatments at the internationally acclaimed Gary Player Health Spa and Gym.
  • Segaetsho Cultural Village – enjoy an authentic Afriganza experience, with traditional and modern infused dance, music, crafts and indigenous games
  • SA Hall of Fame – an interactive hub paying homage to South Africa’s icons.
  • The Crocodile Village
  • Slots and Tables games at the casino.
  • Ten Pin Bowling.
  • Take the Leeto-Kgolo Heritage Tour on bicycles.

Top 10 adventure/ adrenaline activities

  • The Zip 2000 – one of the world’s longest and fastest zip slides.
  • Accelerator – a heart-pumping challenge at Adrenalin Extreme.
  • Breakout – solve a series of puzzles and problems in order to escape a locked room.
  • Para-sailing
  • Jetovator
  • The Maze of the Lost City
  • Game drives
  • Balloon Safari
  • The Grizzly Quad Challenge.
  • The Chimp & Zee Rope Adventure Park – an aerial adventure at treetop level above the Valley of Waves.

Top 10 Sporting activities/facilities

  • Gary Player Country Club
  • Lost City Golf Course
  • Bike Park
  • Tennis
  • Mountain Biking
  • Hiking Trails
  • Airsoft Call of Duty (target shooting)
  • Drift Trikes
  • Rock Venture Mini Golf
  • Segway Tours

Here’s my firsthand account of spending 48 hours in Soho – originally published in Sun City’s Prive magazine.

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One comment
  1. Ingrid Clark

    Wow, I remember when Sol Kerzner and Sun City were names that dominated the newspapers for months. Gary Player golf couse, Miss SA…..Anneline Kriel.
    40 years on and it’s still in the news. #JoziStyle #TravelJoziStyle

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