Driving from Pretoria to Sun City is about a 2 hour drive and we decided to go and do the sights we missed out in Pretoria the day before on the way there. We left about 9:30 and made our way to the Union Buildings which overlooks Pretoria and that has amazing gardens, statues and views. The area was teeming with visitors and is clearly one of the must see sights on anybody’s South African itinerary.
After getting our usual silly amount of pictures we set off to the Voortrekker Monument. The Voortrekker Monument charges R70pp entrance fee, which is quite a lot considering we only wanted to go and take a few pictures and would probably only spend half an hour there! But to be fair, there is a lot more to see and do there than just the monument, though we didn’t have time to spend there. The views from the monument are good, though Pretoria definitely can’t be accused of having anything amazing to look at…. The monument itself is imposing as always and very busy, both with South Africans and foreign visitors.
We got to Sun City after a dull drive just after 13:00 and I suffered through the worst and most inefficient check-in process ever before we could get to our room half an hour later. The room was ok, but we were staying in the cheapest/budget option, the Cabanas, so not exactly luxurious, though still bloody expensive! At least there was WiFi that worked, even though it was fairly slow. We spent the afternoon exploring the sights of Sun City, with most of our time spent at Valley of the Waves which is an artificial wave pool with nice white beaches and entertainment for the whole family. The wave pool was very busy and it is surprisingly not as naff as I expected. There are a lot of water slides that the kids (and adults) love, as well as a bar/restaurant overlooking the Valley of the Waves which is quite nice. There is an adult pool called The Royal Baths as well if you want to get away from the families and kids, but we didn’t go in there.
We ended up walking up to The Palace, which is the most recent addition to the Sun City portfolio, and which was again a lot less tacky than you expect it to be. As we couldn’t afford to stay in The Palace, we opted to eat in The Grill Room for an early anniversary dinner and made a booking, which gave us a good excuse to have a nosy around, as normal mere mortals aren’t usually allowed in The Palace unless you stay there. The resort has buses going very frequently to transport people around the different areas, but we decided to get some exercise and walk back to our gaff – which turned into a slightly longer walk than planned! We went off piste and did a bit of a nature walk by accident, which turned out to be really good. We popped into the casino on the way back, with Brian expecting something along the lines of Vegas casinos, but he was sorely disappointed! It was getting late so we just made our way back to the Cabanas for a beer at the pool bar before getting ready for dinner.
Dinner was a rather posh affair (though we didn’t actually pack any posh clothes!) at The Grill and we sat outside while enjoying our drinks and dinner. Given that the restaurant is essentially a steakhouse and supposedly famous for their grills, we were shocked and surprised that our (very expensive) steaks were served with some weird tomato and garlic sauce all over it, especially after checking with the waitress whether the steak has any basting and she said no – not that what they served it with was basting anyway – it was a proper sauce. We sent it back and asked for plain steak as that is definitely not the way good meat should be treated and also not the way the steak was described on the menu. The steak we then got was very good and cooked the way it should have been, though mine was a bit on the well done side! I had a couple of questions about the desert menu and the pastry chef came out to explain everything to us, which was a nice touch. Desert was very good as well and we left very full and satisfied – though still flabbergasted as to why a grill restaurant would serve steak the way they apparently do!