What Las Vegas is to the U.S., Sun City is to Africa: a vast playground of hotels, restaurants, shows, entertainment and over-the-top glitz set up by American hotel magnate Sol Kerzner's Sun International Group. "Hedonistic" is a word you hear a lot about this place, even on its own website. On the edge of the Pilanesburg National Park, 100 miles northwest of Pretoria and Johannesburg and about the same distance southeast of Botswana capital Gaborone, Sun City has, in the last decade, been the site of peace treaty signing. Sun City event venues have all the bell and whistles one would expect.
The closest airport is still Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport (JNB), to which flights arrive from all over the world, including ones from Atlanta, New York and Washington, DC-Dulles. It is approximately 150 miles southeast of Sun City.
Meeting venues in Sun City can pretty much be found everything, so it will come as no surprise to learn that while there is no dedicated convention center here, just oodles of general-purpose gathering space. Hotel venues in Sun City include the 340-room Sun City Hotel, which has the Letsatsi Centre which can seat up to 160 delegates, a theater that can host 400 and a terrace that can host 650. Its three other hotels – Cascades, The Cabanas and The Palace of the Lost City – have 243, 380 and 338 rooms, respectively, and can all host events, functions, meetings and banquets on their own or as part of the whole enterprise. The Cascades, for example, has the 6,000-seat Superbowl; The Cabanas has the Waterworld Picnic Lawn for 600 persons; and the Royal Chamber for 180 persons awaits at the 5 Star Palace of the Lost City – which rises out of the jungle like something from the mind of Kubla Khan (a stately pleasuredome decreed). Overall, Sun City has 1,001 guest rooms.
The Sun International people have made sure there are some unique gathering spots. Some of the more memorable include the Baobab Outlook, which is behind the Palace of the Lost City's pool deck and can host 110 persons for dinner and 150 for receptions; The Hall of Treasures in the shared Entertainment Centre, which contains the Magical Rock Garden and can cater to receptions of up to 700 persons; two boma-style restaurants out in the countryside, Botsalanong and Letsatsing, which can host very large banquets and have entertainment, huge bonfires, African dancers and pits for roasting meat and marshmallows, and Elephant Wallow, which is adjacent to the Letsatsing Game Park and consists of a large thatched venue overlooking a waterhole that can host 65 persons, who can be escorted there on the backs of elephants. There is golf, too, notably in the Gary Player Country Club, the course being designed by South African golf legend Gary Player.
Restaurants abound, amid a lot of fast food. Good choices include in The Palace of the Lost City, the Crystal Court, which can seat 120 diners, with a further 40 more if its terrace and tea lounge are added to the mix, and Villa del Palazzo, which has room for 180. In the Sun City Hotel there are Orchid, which has an Asian menu and seating for 130 persons in its main room, 10 in a private room; and Calabash, which has a local menu and seating for 150. Lastly, in the Entertainment Centre there is the Squire's Grill, which specializes in surf n ‘turf.