Sun City & Pilanesberg Game Reserve are set in an ancient volcanic ridge only 1½ to 2 hours north of Johannesburg.
The malaria-free Pilanesberg Game Reserve offers a taster of an African safari with game viewing in open 4×4 vehicles. It encircles the Sun City resort with its family-friendly activities, golf courses, water park and water sports. So you can easily combine a Pilanesberg safari with the razzle & dazzle of Sun City.
Pilanesberg Game Reserve
The natural bushveld of the Pilanesberg Game Reserve offers malaria-free game viewing. It’s a popular choice for families. Or for people who are unsure about a full-on safari.
Pilanesberg is the most accessible game reserve from Johannesburg and so it’s busier than most reserves, especially in the southern parts.
There are different ways to enjoy a safari experience in the Pilanesberg.
- Stay at Sun City (see below) and simply take a morning or evening game drive into the Pilanesberg, booked when you arrive in Sun City.
- Another option is to stay at one of the large game lodges such as Bakabung or Kwa Maritane. They don’t offer a very intimate safari experience. But they’re well-suited to families with younger children. Plus they are sufficiently close that you could head to Sun City as a day visitor.
- Finally there are more traditional safari lodges which are more secluded such as Shepherds Bush Lodge or Black Rhino Game Lodge. These offer a more classic safari experience.
Sun City is either a place that you’ll love or hate, so read on to decide if it’s for you! It began as a casino back in the 1970’s. But now Sun City, and the Palace of the Lost City within it, has developed into a fantasy resort offering loads of family-friendly activities, golf, casinos and water-sports.
Where to stay in Sun City?
There are four hotels to choose from ranging from the decadent and fairly pricey Palace at the Lost City Hotel to the family-orientated Cabanas Hotel on the lakeshore with the four star Cascades Hotel and Sun City hotel in between. (The Cabanas hotel rooms have two double beds so these work well for families on a budget.)
Who would enjoy Sun City?
We think it’s suitable for some families looking for a complete contrast to their family safari. It works well with either Pilanesberg or Madikwe Game Reserve. Madikwe lies only two hours drive north from Sun City. Children will enjoy the fabulous ‘beach’ and water features of the Valley of the Waves and the Temple of Courage. There’s also a crocodile farm, loads of sports on offer and plenty of restaurants.
Sun City is also a wonderful option for keen golfers as there are two world class golf courses, the challenging Gary Player Golf Course at Sun City, home to the Million Dollar Challenge, and the Lost City Golf Course.
Finally it’s a perfect place for active people who like to be busy all the time. There’s a full range of sports including tennis, squash, horse riding and golf. There are plenty of restaurants as well as the Shebeen restaurant which gives you a taste of Africa. In the evening, you can enjoy the theatrical extravaganzas or try your luck at the casino.
However – if you are looking for beautiful, natural landscapes – then Sun City is not for you. It is unashamedly a resort experience!