I think the second trip we did when we moved here was a road trip to Sun City. Sun City is a casino resort about 2 hours north-west of Joburg. There are multiple hotel properties, timeshares, etc. and in addition to the casino there is a game drive. Sun City sits on the edge of Pilanesberg National Park, which is a protected reserve. It is quite a nice little game drive which you can do yourself in your car or ride in a guided safari truck. We did the latter, and I would always recommend doing things like this with a guide because they know where the animals are, they radio between other safari guides to find out where something is…if you drive yourself you first have to focus on the road and really don’t have the opportunity to experience anything.
We did it in June, so it was pretty cold in the morning. Game drives at most reserves are either in the morning or the afternoon when the animals are their most active. I prefer mornings because that’s usually when the babies are up and at ’em!
We saw 4 of the “Big 5”. Check out my post about what the “Big 5” is…this is a fact you will need to know before coming on safari in Africa. The only thing we didn’t see here was a leopard. Fun fact: if you can’t tell the difference between a leopard and a cheetah, then look at their heads. Cheetahs have smaller, squarer shaped heads and their hair is kind of spiked on top. Leopards have more rounder shaped heads and their hair flows with the rest of their body. There are other differences, but when you’re trying to get a quick glimpse, I have found the difference in head shape to be the easiest. If I see a cheetah on my next safari, I will post comparison pics.
Now the hotel: shazam!! OK I am dating myself, but do you guys remember the Jungle Book movie that came out in the early 90’s? Not the cartoon, duh, but the one with real people? Remember King Louie’s castle? This hotel looked like that! I thought I was in the Jungle Book! (OK, before someone comments, I know that movie was set in India and not Africa).
The hotel we stayed in was called Palace of the Lost City. It was so ornate! And there was high tea and a nice little restaurant for dinner.
The pool was spectacular, but being winter it wasn’t open and they were resurfacing it. If you don’t care about the pool and/or don’t have kids who would care about the pool, then the winter time is a good time to go to Sun City. It isn’t as crowded and the prices are lower. We didn’t stay in or do the casino because that’s not really our bag, but there is another hotel called the Sun City Hotel on the property that you can stay in that has the casino in the middle. Or there are other properties to stay in, as well, at different price levels.
Here are some more pictures of the Palace of the Lost City hotel and some of the animals we saw: