I just came back from South Africa. I've been fortunate to do a lot of touring, and I can tell you that it was by far the most stunning country I've ever seen. I will definitely go back. As for the hotel you mentioned, well, I didn't make it to Sun City, but I'm told it's just like a really expensive version of Las Vegas.
We stayed in Protea Hotels in South Africa. I would definitely recommend them to others, particularly the Protea - Paul Kruger Gate at Kruger Park, Sumunye (in Kwazulu-Natal) and the President in Cape Town.
Johnboy From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 2537 posts, RR: 7 Reply 5, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 3097 times:
I haven't stayed there, but came thisclose to reserving a room during a trip a couple of years ago.
The rooms are very pricey, so I stayed at Bakubang Lodge in Pilanesberg National Park instead (thinking, ultimately, that it was better to stay IN the park itself). If i had to do it a second time, I probably would spring for a couple of nights at the Palace just to say I'd done so.
I did, however, take a ride over to the Sun City area. There are several hotels there, but the Palace is definitely the top notch facility. They would not even let us in the lobby of the hotel (they had "tours" of the hotel that you had to pay for). There is definitely more to do if you stay in one of the hotels at Sun City....rather that in Pilanesberg at one of the lodges.
The casino is actually in a separate building, and I was not impressed with the facilities there. However, there are a few shops, and a cinema complex, as well as an extensive food court (with the usual suspects as in every mall in South Africa).
Canuckpaxguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 7, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 3086 times:
We started at Paul Kruger Gate (Protea Hotel) near Skukuza. We then spent 4 hours driving through the park a few days later en route to Swaziland.
We stayed mostly in the south end of the park and we're lucky enough to go on a 6 hour safari with a psycho tour-guide.
We were pretty lucky to see the animals we did. We saw 4 of the "Big 5" (no lions) and that pack of wild dog were great. The best safari was at Bongani Mountain Lodge (near Nelspruit). Our tour guides took us "off-roading" and we even drove over a small tree to get a better view of a rhino.
Unfortunately, we had to cut our trip short due to a family emergency. The good part is that we now have an automatic excuse to go back. We had to skip the Garden Route, but I was fortunate enough to make it to Hermanus and Cape Town before flying home.
B747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 8, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 3077 times:
I was at a conference in Sun City just last week and spent a lot of time at the Palace. The Hotel itself is very opulent but nothing earth shattering. Definitely not worth the ridiculous price tag they place on it.
I was definitely underwhelmed by Sun City overall. Sure, it has great natural beauty and fantastic golf for those who are into that, but the casinos, hotels and other facilities are strictly middle-of-the-road. They don't even come close to Las Vegas and barely even compare to Emperor's Palace (Caesar's Gauteng) or Montecasino down in Joburg.
Leskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 71 Reply 10, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 3051 times:
I'll second B747-437B on his comments about The Palace - rather underwhelming when compared to the price tag.
South Africa certainly is one of the most beautiful and diverse countries on the face of this planet - you've got the whole bandwidth from watching animals in the different National Parks through relaxing on a beach to shopping.
JGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 11, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 3040 times:
I really liked the Palace at the Lost City, although it is overpriced (the full size bronze elephant is amazing !) The pool area and the water park beyond that are just fabulous. Within Sun City, the Cascades Hotel is probably the best value, it is lovely and set in stunning surroundings.
Andz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8360 posts, RR: 11 Reply 12, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 3035 times:
Quoting United Airline (Reply 6): What if you want to dine in the hotel restaurant? Do they charge you an entrance fee?
There are many more places at Sun City to eat than in the Palace. And hundreds more places in the country to visit! I have to attend conferences at Sun City regularly and quite frankly I am sick of the place! Sun City was built in the "independent homeland" of Bophuthatswana in the apartheid days to get round the no gambling/no sex/no fun unless you're white laws of the old South Africa.
Unless you have months to tour the country, don't even bother with Sun City, although the Pilanesberg Game Reserve is a good alternative to Kruger if you are in Johannesburg and pushed for time. Cape Town, the Garden Route, the Drakensberg mountains, the Karoo, the Wild Coast, and a trip into Namibia or Botswana are more "African" than Sun City.
Quoting United Airline (Reply 6): What's the average rate of a 3 star hotel in South Africa? Shouldn't be too expensive I guess???
If you want the same hotel everywhere and pretty much guaranteed the same standard, check out these: http://www.citylodge.co.za http://www.proteahotels.co.za
However guest houses are everywhere, from cheap and cheerful to luxurious and opulent and do offer a better alternative to hotels.
If you go to Cape Town you HAVE to stay here: http://www.bluepeter.co.za right on the beach with awesome views and really not expensive at all!
This is the view from my hotel room last time I was there:
Sun City? Who needs it!
After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
Nonrvsmdmf From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 186 posts, RR: 0 Reply 15, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 3018 times:
I spent 3 weeks in South Africa and barely touched all the great
things to do. I would post pics but I took 18 rolls and I am
really computer stupid to figure out how to scan and size
Joburg was ok. Monte Casino was really nice I thought. Although
there was this market north of town, north of the resevoir that
was fun. Only locals there, it was actually kinda imtimidating.
Down the road from the market, there is a place that makes
life size carvings of animals out of stone and wood.
Kruger was amazing. I could go on hours about the great time
I had there.
Capetown was the best. My favorite place was Boulders where
there are penguins. You pay a small entry fee and can walk
on the beaches and between the rocks where the penguins
hang out. The water is so clear and blue it was an amazing
place. We also saw the seals and some whales in Hout Bay.
We also drove to the Cape of Good Hope. I realized how out of
shape I was on the brutal hike but it was worth it.
I would go back in a minute.
I did not forget...I just misplaced the thought...
Nonrvsmdmf From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 186 posts, RR: 0 Reply 19, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 3001 times:
Yes, Andz has it. That is it!! It took us a while to get there though.
We went to the Rhino and Lion preserve first. Then the dam was
closed to traffic so we had to go the long way around. Got some
great stuff at that market. Went to SA with one almost empty
suitcase, came back home 1 kilo away from paying extra baggage
for two bags.
The best part of the preserve was we were able to "pet" two
baby lions. They were about 9 months old and their paws
and teeth were huge. I am glad we were there during the
day when they were sleepy.
I did not forget...I just misplaced the thought...
LooneyToon From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 444 posts, RR: 1 Reply 23, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 2972 times:
this thread brings back all the good memories of living in South Africa for 4 years and living a total of 8 in Africa all together. What great memories and South African people are very friendly. Those photos of Kruger Park bring back many more great memories as I have visited the park over 32 times!
ahhh, the great memories!
nothing like flying the SAA 744 from JFK-JNB nonstop and vice-versa several times a year!