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Revamped Sun City ready to welcome back the post-pandemic crowds

After using the shutdown to upgrade ageing facilities and add new offerings, the future looks bright for SA's legendary resort

20 May 2022 - 14:00
It's all systems go at the Valley of Waves.
It's all systems go at the Valley of Waves.
Image: Supplied

During lockdown, many South African businesses spent time trying to stay afloat or keep from shutting down, but not Sun City.

The iconic resort took advantage of the devastating shutdown to plan and embark on its revamping and expansion programme, which more than two years later is bearing the desired fruit.

The revamps to its numerous hotels are almost completed and the final refurbishment of the famed Palace of the Lost City will be concluded before the end of the year. Not only that but the retreat continues to welcome back local, and to some extent international visitors, with well-known and fairly new events and activities.

These, of course, include the ever-popular Valley of Waves, the highly anticipated return of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, and Waterworld, a man-made lake offering a host of watersports. Lesser-known but equally punted activities include taking a tour around the golf courses on a Segway, quad biking, enjoying a massage, and learning about the rich history of the Batswana people at the Segaetsho cultural village.

The Cascades Hotel at Sun City has recently been refurbished .
The Cascades Hotel at Sun City has recently been refurbished .
Image: Supplied

Julius Ramotse, general manager: hospitality, explained how Sun City has been hard at work to modernise various properties during the hard lockdown. 

“We've done quite a lot of work during the lockdown. If you look at The Cascades, we started with the revamp prior to lockdown and continued into the lockdown. We were refurbishing the rooms ... and we're busy with the revamp at The Palace. We've decided that The Palace is now 30 years old and we needed to give it a fresh look and bring it back to the original Palace look.

“That's 60% complete and we plan to finish it by the end of November,” he said. 

Ramotse shared his excitement at finally getting a chance to do what they've wanted to do all along and share it with visitors.

The ninth green on the Gary Player Golf Course.
The ninth green on the Gary Player Golf Course.
Image: Supplied

Speaking of the resort's daring and ambitious revamp project at a time when the hospitality industry was on its knees, Ramotse said that, because of the industry's “resilience” in the face of challenges, Sun City knew that it would bounce back in the end.

He added that it was better to embark on the revamp during shutdown than to take a wait-and-see approach.

General manager Brett Hoppé, who hailed local tourists for the resurgence of visits to the resort, said the travel restrictions allowed them to tap into a new market of visitors who wouldn't have ordinarily come to the resort.

This, he added, allowed Sun City to host events it wouldn't necessarily have been able to host due to over-capacity.

Inside The Palace of the Lost City, which is also being revamped.
Inside The Palace of the Lost City, which is also being revamped.
Image: Khanyisile Ngcobo

In addition to the refurbishment, Hoppé spoke of new additions, which will see more sporting events in addition to the popular Nedbank Golf Challenge.

“We're in the process of securing a sports campus — we've found there's a huge demand.

“We do a huge amount of tennis and netball, predominantly youth-based, working with Netball SA,” he added.

Ramotse and Hoppé remained optimistic about the resort's ever-expanding offerings, saying there is something for everyone and that any visit would be worth repeating.


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