Two years ago, when travelling around South Africa, we didn’t visit Sun City. We suspected it to be too artificial and it would be too much of an effort to visit the place.
Yesterday, we did visit and indeed, it’s too artificial. In fact, it felt like a badly executed Efteling or Disney World. We had to pay 65 Rand (about 10 euros) each to get in and then the place turned out to be nothing more than a Mall, not completely unlike Montecasino, which is right next door to us in Jo’burg.
There’s also three hotels, one of which, ‘the Lost City’, is supposedly based on true African architecture. Total crap, but reasonably impressive still. But if you’re not staying there, the only thing you can do is go on a walking tour of the hotel, at another 8 euros. The ‘Valley of the waves’, an open air swimming pool, more built like a maya temple than anything else is nice enough, but also costs an extra 8 euros.
And then there’s the casino, hordes of slot machines and a large Bingo arena. And it’s friggin’ expensive. Terrible.
Right next door to Sun City is Pilanesberg park, where the big five are waiting to be ogled at. The Lonely Planet suggests visiting both in one day, but also warns that getting to Sun City, something like 150km from Jo’burg, can be a bit of a challenge. Driving to Sun City, we took three hours to get there, struggling to find the right roads.
Getting back, we were caught up in the aftermath of a soccer game where the Kaiser Chiefs played the Sundowns in the semifinal of the Absa cup. The traffic jam had us stuck for close to two hours, where the soccer teams, being driven around in large modern coaches, were being escorted by hordes of police cars, even driving in the oncoming lanes, trying to evade, but without success, the jams. Needless to say, we had no time to visit Pilanesberg park.
Oh, and then our car broke down mysteriously as well. Luckily enough, five minutes later it started again with no problems.
Betsy and I have signed up with Virgin active, a chain of fitness clubs owned by Richard Branson. The agents signing you up at Virgin were the least annoying of the fitness clubs we visited. There’s very little pricing information available on paper and when they tell you how much it’s going to cost, they act more like door-to-door salesman than anything else. Each time we visited to check out the possibilities, we were lucky, because only ‘today’ didn’t we have to pay an entrance fee. And then there were the special deals we could only profit from if we signed up ‘right away’.
Betsy has received her first payment. Only 11 more to go. That is, if she ends up getting the job she came here for.