After a 12 hour flight and another couple of hours driving from Johannesburg Airport, we didn’t really feel like doing much when we arrived at Sun City, which was our first stop on our month-long tour of South Africa. However, with only a short stay here and having paid a premium on accommodation compared to all other locations, we had to maximise our time.
The first impression you get as you drive in is the sheer size of the place – it certainly is a city. When we were booking, there are quite a few hotels to choose from, though we opted for the most family-friendly one, The Cabanas. First stop was the hotel pool, and a dip in the refreshing (read: cold) water was just what we needed to wake us up. We couldn’t stay long in the water even if we wanted to, although it was just the place to sit next to the pool and relax like everyone else!
This resort city is so big that you need to catch a bus to get around the complex. We caught the free shuttle bus to the Maze of the Lost City. It was designed in the style of a ruined stone-walled city. We got lost, which I guess is the whole idea of a maze.
We were still a jet lagged so it was not as much fun getting lost as it is supposed to be. Pretty soon all we wanted was to get to the end, which surprisingly was a bar. They do supply a shortcut for those who just want to go for a drink. We were keen to get our free beers, which we had vouchers for.
We were finally able to rest in the large open-air bar. We were able to taste a few different beers, including one which was Rooibos flavoured. We found out that Rooibos is a South African red bush which is used to flavour things such as tea, coffee, and beer.
From here we had sunset views of The Palace of the Lost City in the distance, the five-star hotel which is out of bounds for non-guests and out of our price range as well! We also had a sneak peek at the Valley of the Waves, the water park which is our destination for tomorrow and essentially the only reason we are here.
Having not eaten much the night before, we were all ready to make the most of the hotel buffet breakfast, to get a good start to the busy day ahead. There was a good selection, so good in fact, they have to keep the monkeys away.
It was quite cool in the morning, and we were hesitant to go to the Valley of the Waves too early, but on the other hand we wanted to go early and get set up in a good spot. We didn’t have to worry too much, as by the time we got there at about 9.30am, the day was warming up quickly.
We made the most of the short lines early to try out all the rides, and take the younger ones on a couple of laps of the lazy river. Olive was labelled brave a few times by onlookers as she repeatedly went down the slide at the Temple of Courage. Jetson also built up the courage to take on an adult slide for the first time, we were so proud of him.
A bite of fast food after a not so fast wait in the long line. We were all exhausted by the end of the day, after a multitude of water activities, and still some jetlag.
We headed back to The Cabanas and the nearby lakeside. Down by the lake there are heaps of activities, mostly requiring payment: dodge cars, boating, zip line, mini-zoo. We decided to try out one activity, and purchased tickets for the kids on the miniature train. At the ticket office they couldn’t convince us to pay just a little extra for a family ticket for us all. However, when the driver offered to slip the adults on for free, we couldn’t resist. It was not such a bad trip in the end, we saw a deer in the area, and a tortoise. Toot toot!
We tried out dinner at Ocean Basket, a well-known South Africa seafood restaurant chain which was surprisingly kid-friendly. We decided to drive there rather than wait for the bus. We were surprised to see sushi on the menu, a great surprise for the kids because it’s one of their favourite meals. Rob’s fish and chips were only about $7 Australian dollars, surprisingly cheap. The kids were so tired though, they hardly ate anything.
Back to our beds to crash. This exhausting day was certainly a good strategy to get over the jetlag. To continue our flat out start to our South African holiday, we move on to Graskop tomorrow, a step towards Kruger National Park.