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Johannesburg Travel Guide

Sun City

A huge entertainment and resort complex in the middle of dry bushveld in the North West Province, Sun City is popular with golfers and families—and with South Africans and foreign tourists alike. Sun City's appeal is vastly enhanced by the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, which is only a few miles from the resort, and by a full round of outdoor sports and activities, including two Gary Player–designed world-class golf courses.

Developed by the same company that built the elaborate Atlantis resorts in the Bahamas and Dubai, this is a real destination resort.

Sun City was built in 1979, in the rocky wilds of the Pilanesberg Mountains, themselves the remains of an ancient volcano. The area was in the then Bantustan of Bophuthatswana—one of several semi–self-governed areas during apartheid set aside for black ethnic groups. As such, it was exempt from South Africa's then strict anti-gambling laws. Today Sun City comprises four luxurious hotels; one casino with slot machines, card tables, and roulette wheels; major amphitheaters that host international stars; and an array of outdoor attractions. The complex is split into two parts: the original Sun City, where the focus is on entertainment and gambling, and the Lost City, anchored by the magnificent Palace Hotel, which offers guests an opportunity to enjoy outdoor adventure at the Valley of the Waves.

In addition to its casinos, the original Sun City also stages rock concerts, major boxing bouts, the annual Nedbank Golf Challenge, and many major conferences. At the Lost City, painted wild animals march across the ceilings, imitation star-spangled skies glitter even by day, lush jungles decorate the halls, and stone lions and elephants keep watch over it all. The Lost City has hosted a long list of celebrities, including Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, and Oprah.

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