SA Express now flies direct to Pilanesberg to make visiting Sun City a real breeze

Last weekend I was invited to hit up Sun City with a bunch of media peeps, zooming in on SA Express’s new flight. Yep, no more driving, chicas! You can nip right into Pilanesberg from either Jozi (40 mins!) or Cape Town (1 hour, 20 mins).

Bon voyage, mense!
I was thrilled to discover SA Express still serves my beloved tomato cocktail on the flight. (SAA recently scrapped it!)

Do it! Do it! Do it!

Book your flight online via SA Express for Cape Town to Pilanesberg return (from R3 000, every Monday and Friday) and Johannesburg to Pilanesberg return (R2 200, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday).
The flight prices include a shuttle services between Pilanesberg Airport and Sun City.

There are loads of place to stay in Sun City and we got a taste of a few of them starting with the Cabanas, the pocket-friendly family focused option. I was impressed with its green, well-manicured gardens and liked that it literally rolled out onto Waterworld, an enormous man-made lake. Turns out you can have a ‘flip-flips, ice cream and SPF’ kind of holiday in the North West!

There are loads of water-based activities to keep you busy and these range from water and skiing to parasailing as well as hopping on a large cruise boat called Tsala, which means ‘friend’ in Setswana.

All aboard!
All aboard!

I loved that the weather played along. It was one of those gorgeous ‘up country’ sun shiny winter’s days.

Magic!
Magic!

Do it! Do it! Do it!

Want to stay at the Cabanas? Now’s a good time to go as they’re running a winter madness special with rooms starting from just R800 a night. 
Everything you need to know about Water World is over here. According to the price list I found on their site the 30 minute cruise, during which you’ll take in a talk on the history of Sun City, is just R55 per adult.

After our cruise, it was time to step up the pace so we divvied into two groups – one who went quad-biking and the other to Zip 2000. For me, opting to zip-line was a no brainer. For over six years, it held the title of the world’s highest, longest (2km!) and fastest (up to 160km/h!) zip-line in the world.

The drop from the top.
The drop from the top.

Here’s how it works: You get weighed and paired up with someone, if need be, so that you’re not too light. (If you are, you might not stop when you reach the end!) You climb into a harness while the super friendly staff make evil jokes like ‘Are we still using this old thing?’ and ‘Ja, we got our cable in China ‘cos it was the cheapest money could buy’.

I'm putting on a brave face but we were kakking.
I’m putting on a brave face but we were kakking.

Once you’re in your harness and attached to the line, shaking in your boots, you’re kind of thrown off the edge to nose dive into the valley. This is terrifying! Oh! My! God! However, you eventually end up parallel with the ground and fly, Superman-style, across the terrain and it’s this bit that I never wanted to stop. Literally every single person in my group, even the girl who trembled like a leaf but bravely did it anyway, shared the same sentiment – ‘Let’s do it again!’

Honestly, this was one of the most fun things I’ve done in a long, long time. If you’re in the area and get the chance to do this, don’t hesitate for a second, just go.

Do it! Do it! Do it!

Departures to the zip-line are made every two hours, every day, except Mondays and booking is essential as there’s only space for 10 to 12 sliders and 4 to 6 spectators. It costs R520 to slide and R90 to watch. To make your booking call (014) 557 1544

After all that action, it was time to check in at the Cascades for a little siesta before dinner.

Checking in.
Checking in.

An architecturally impressive 5 star affair, the hotel serves up a private beach and boasts a ‘Fantasy Garden’ you could happily get lost in, crisscrossed by streams and the occasional waterfall.

There's a water feature everywhere you look.
A water feature everywhere you look.

..

The view from the glass lift's a real show stopper.
The view from the glass lift.

My room was a clean, comfy, ‘colonial’ in need of new plug points but this is something I forgot about once I saw the incredible bathroom.

Sweet dreams.
Sweet dreams.

..

Happy place!
Happy place!

Do it! Do it! Do it!

A Luxury Twin room like mine at Cascades is R2 901 per night and breakfast is included. To view all the hotel’s rates get clicky clicky over here

Dinner time! We all got treated to a buffet in the Crocodile Lounge, situated in the clubhouse of the golf course at The Lost City. I’m actually kind of sorry we only saw this at night as the day time views are supposedly awesome. On the upside, the tender, tasty steak was absolutely fabulous as was the macaroon-topped desserts.

Yes please!
That’s tiramisu up top. I ate a whopping five and they were worth every minute of treadmill time.

Do it! Do it! Do it! 

The Crocodile Lounge, when it’s not hosting journos, serves breakfast, an a la carte lunch and snacks before closing at 7pm. To book a table call (014) 557 3741.

The next morning I discovered Cascades’ breakfast buffet’s pretty awesome, spanning everything from a huge selection of cheese and charcuterie items including salmon to Cocoa Pops and pancakes. I’d have taken piccies if I wasn’t hung like a donkey following a night where I’d attempted to zip-line up an escalator and almost broken a leg before waking up in my clothes and a bra full of naartjie peels. Such is the magic of Sun City!

Anyhoo, fistfuls of painkillers and the yummiest spicy bean and hash brownie intervention later, I was able to hobble around The Palace of the Lost City and I was so grateful to have not missed it. In terms of scale and opulent Afro-Palace design, it really is rather awe-inducing.

This picture doesn't do it justice.
This picture doesn’t do it justice.

..

And neither does this one.
And neither does this one.

..

Nor this one.
Nor this one.

We got to take in the fanciest room they’ve got, the African Suite and oh boy was that impressive. It’s literally the size of a house and features two enormous suites each with a four-poster bed and en suite marble bathroom.

Mooiness, ne?
Mooiness, ne?

In fact, the one bathroom has its own sauna!

A hard knock way to start your morning.
A hard knock way to start your morning.

There’s also a baby grand piano and…

...a private jacuzzi with a killer view.
…a private jacuzzi with a killer view.

I know it’s a little cheesy, but The Palace really did charm me. It kind of felt like I was back in America visiting a world-class theme park and I’m a big ole’ sucker for those. If I was in the area on a day with lots of time I’d have loved to have explored the grounds, a regte fantastical man-made jungle with a hidden rain forest. It felt like there was something to see pretty much wherever you turned your head.

Pretty, pretty!
Pretty, pretty!

Do it! Do it! Do it!

A stay over at The Palace starts at R4 342 for a twin room that includes breakfast. (Be sure to try the infamous pancake bar!) 
Want to stay in the Africa Suite. Best you win big in the casino ‘cos you’re looking at R44 224 a night! 
You can view all room rates and make your booking over here.

A big thank you to mil to SAA Express, Sun City, The Mail Room PR and Rory and Nicole from Sun International for a super fun sleepover. I had an absolute jol.

Love, love

Leigh

Posted by

Editor of South African beauty blog Lipgloss is my Life.

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