About 100 miles from Johannesburg in the North West province of South Africa is the Palace of the Lost City, one of four Sun International hotels visited during our South Africa adventure. The glitz and glamour of the 338-room hotel is reminiscent of a 5-star Las Vegas hotel but with a local touch.
The complex boasts 1,311 rooms spread throughout four hotels. Elephant tusk embellishments, mosaic tile art and a hand-painted dome lobby wow groups during check-in. The Valley of the Waves water park, two nearby safari reserves and two international-standard 18-hole golf courses, including the Gary Player Country Club and the Lost City Golf course, offer groups plenty to do. Be sure to look out for baboons lurking around the property. High tea and dinner are served at the 120-seat Crystal Court restaurant. The restaurant adds a bit of glamour to the hotel, with an extensive wine list, comfortable seating and cathedral ceilings. Dine to the sound of soft piano tunes and the trickles of the large jungle fountains.
“Sun City is perfectly suited for large groups,” says Herliane Portenschlager, Sun City’s international marketing and deputy public relations manager. Portenschlager also has a hand in the production of the Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler flick that was filmed here last summer. “We have great entertainment, wonderful food and great service,” says Portenschlager.
Schedule a cocktail event at the Baobab Outlook for groups up to 150 pax. Gaze out at the flowing lagoons, rich greenery and sunset along the hotel pool deck. From the distance, groups will marvel over the size and intricate African-themed details of the hotel’s exterior.
The Pilanesberg Game Reserve is set in the crater of an extinct volcano, where the “Big Five” South African animals—lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros—still roam. The 2.5-hour drive to the reserve gives groups an up close look at how the animals live and the gorgeous landscape of the African wildlife. Be sure to bring your cameras for this one.
For a more personalized group experience, check out The Elephant Wallow, a large thatched boma overlooking a magnificent waterhole for up to 65 pax. A presentation will be given on the elephants, their lifestyle and history and groups will have an opportunity to interact with these gentle giants on a personal level. This was the highlight of our trip. Make your way from one to another, feeding them directly into their mouths or trunks. These magnificent creatures listen to your commands, but also show off their dynamic personalities while you play, hug and love them. It really was the best kind of group takeaway.-Gianna Wyatt