I love a bit of winter sun and South Africa is one of the best options to get an amazing summer right in the middle of January. Lovely. My boyfriend is from Cape Town, so whilst it may be a bit of an obvious choice for me, it’s definitely not a boring one. South Africa has it all: sun, sea, city and safari! I love it.
This trip started with a weekend in Sun City, a place that was once a notorious symbol of South African oppression and now is, in short, a cheap outdated version of Las Vegas. But, whilst a lot of the resort is dated, there are still thousands of people flocking their each year for a weekend of family fun. There isn’t much action in the casinos, though they are packed with slot machines and people lining up to play them. We spent one evening at a blackjack table ‘cleaning up’, but otherwise enjoyed other aspects of the resort.
Ready to fly… #southafrica #wintersun #goodbyecold #homefromhome A photo posted by Stefanie Haigh (@stefaniegraceblog) on
Sun City is, of course, home to the Gary Player Country Club, home of one of the best golf courses in the world. Whilst the boys played the famous Nedbank Golf Challenge course, I tested out the spa. After a busy few weeks of work and working out, plus a long flight, this detox massage sounded like just the thing I needed:
TheraNAKA™ Massage – Focusing on relieving stress and muscle tension, receive a customized massage using your choice of one of our anti-oxidant oil blends containing pure Grapeseed oil and natural botanicals or our shea massage butters. Detoxifying Massage: African Storm Body Oil & Africa Storm Body Butter. Price R600 (about £35).
The review? It was a nice enough place. The staff were lovely and the facilities were pretty, but a strange layout with the waiting area essentially the reception area that opened into a jacuzzi area and an open-plan gym left me a little relaxed. The massage was good but not mind-blowing. My skin did feel really good afterwards, but I didn’t necessarily feel refreshed and cleansed, in fact I was bloated for days afterwards (although this was unlikely to have been a result of the massage itself!). What ruined it for me was at the end when my therapist offered to go and get me a glass of water and then came back with a selection of products before hitting me with a sales pitch based on my dehydrated skin, fine lines around my eyes (she hadn’t been near my face but thank you for that…) and cellulite-ridden thighs. So much for a relaxing start to my holiday where I intended to spend my time wearing no make up and rather short shorts..! As someone who is a sucker for body oils with an interest in aromatherapy, I bought a TheraNAKA™ oil. Please note that a) I had already spied it on the way in and b) was in no way swayed by my massage therapist’s intense sales swag at the end – in fact I almost bought nothing just out of principle! (Looking back, that’s exactly what I should have done…)
A photo posted by Stefanie Haigh (@stefaniegraceblog) on
Where to stay? We stayed at The Cabanas, but enjoyed the pool at The Cascades. This is actually so worth it, because for South African prices, Sun City is pretty expensive and The Cabanas is the cheaper option with smaller rooms but great service, clean towels and sheets, and good options at breakfast. A short walk brings you to the Entertainment Centre, which is essentially the hub of Sun City, where you’ll find all necessary amenities such as a pharmacy, newsagent and a variety of other shops and restaurants (oh, and more slot machines…). We actually went to dinner one evening at Santorini, a Mediterranean-style restaurant with a Greek vibe and good South African wine (which is just as well, because I’ve never met a Greek red that I’ve got along with…). The food was pretty good too – not necessarily authentic European, but definitely a good choice in pretty surroundings for when you are there.
Two nights at Sun City was a warm welcome to the country I’m starting to call my home-from-home. A great way to end a weekend there is with a drive-through the Pilanesberg National Park to our next accommodation stop! There’s more on that to come in a blog post later this week…(I squealed at my first sighting of a zebra!)