Sun City

North West Province

At Sun City, the legendary creation of entrepreneur Sol Kerzer, Disneyland collides with ancient Egypt in Africa’s version of Vegas. Filled with gilded statues of lions and monkeys, acres of artificial beaches, a golf course, a water park, 1200 hotel rooms and line upon line of clinking slot machines, it serves no other purpose than to entertain. Yet although there’s no question that this gambling-centric resort is almost grotesquely gaudy, a visit here can also be pretty damn fun.

The complex is dominated by the Lost City, an extraordinary piece of kitsch claiming to symbolise African heritage. In fact, it has even less to do with African culture than Disneyland Paris has to do with French, but it’s still entertaining.

We'll be honest: this is not our sort of place. But it does have to be seen to be believed, and it does have one thing in its favour: Sun City has received awards for practising sustainable, environmentally friendly tourism.

Visit the Welcome Centre for the lowdown on the mind-boggling range of activities available. These include golfing (on two different courses), a walk-through aviary, jet skiing, parasailing, a crocodile park and zip lining, plus wildlife drives at the neighbouring Pilanesberg National Park.

Most of the fun takes place in the Valley of the Waves water park, overlooked by the towers of the Palace of the Lost City hotel. The water park is gaudy and outlandish even by Sun City’s standards – and children love it. Its centrepiece is the Roaring Lagoon, a 6500-sq-metre wave pool with a palm-fringed beach. Slides, flumes and chutes such as the 70m-long Temple of Courage get the adrenaline flowing; tubing on the Lazy River and swimming in the Royal Bath pool are two of the slower activities. Another Lost City attraction is its Maze, an enormous labyrinth in the form of an archaeological site.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby North West Province attractions

1. Entertainment Centre

0.11 MILES

As well as housing smoking and nonsmoking casinos, this two-storey centre has food courts, shops, cinemas and the Superbowl performance venue. Its style…

2. South African Hall of Fame

0.14 MILES

Opened in 2016, this celebratory exhibition pays homage in words and photos to South Africa's high achievers. Most come from the world of sports, but…

3. Pilanesberg National Park

1.99 MILES

Occupying an eroded alkaline crater north of Sun City, in a transition zone between the Kalahari and wet lowveld vegetation, the 550-sq-km Pilanesberg…

4. Fish Eagle Picnic Site

5.57 MILES

This elevated and fenced picnic sight overlooks the Mankwe Dam from on high, but most vantage points are closed off by dense and rather scruffy foliage…

5. Mankwe Hide

5.63 MILES

The Mankwe Hide can be good for birdlife, but gets overrun by vehicles close to sunset – it's the most accessible of the hides and it's where most…

6. Makorwane Hide

5.98 MILES

A good option for birdlife, Makorwane Hide tends to get a few visitors, given its proximity to the main roads. Hippos, elephants and even the occasional…

7. Ruighoek Hide


You never quite know what you'll get at this hide, although you'll probably have it to yourself as not many people make it out here. Hippos, lions,…

8. Lenong Lookout

7.65 MILES

Offering the most extensive views over the park's heartland, Lenong, close to the geographical centre of the park, is well worth the climb. On a clear day…