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Durban - It’s official, I’m getting old. Now I wouldn’t normally admit this, but it was proven to me by my nine-year old son on a recent trip to the Wild Coast Sun.
Sun International undertook a massive refurbishment of the resort about two years ago, installing a water park to the tune of about R80 million in the process. And, as you can imagine, that kind of budget gets you a little more than your conventional slip and slide.
In this case I reckon it’s money well spent and, wave pool aside, it’s better entertainment than even sister resort Sun City’s Valley of the Waves. Sure, it may not be as extravagant in terms of palm trees and layout, and it may not have those huge waves, but it has what must be the most modern water slides in the country, and a real beach behind it, should you still want some surf.
Gone are the days of straight and simple slides from ridiculous heights, like the stuff I grew up with – the water park at the Wild Coast Sun gets the modern pyrotechnical versions, which snake and snarl like a sky rocket on the fourth of July.
The Aqualoop, for example, puts you in a capsule, drops you almost straight down for 17m, then shoots you upward into a near-vertical loop with G-forces pinning you to the side as you slide through the loop. Like I said, higher grade waterslides.
Then there’s the Boomerang, which sends you down a concealed roller-coaster of a slide on a tube before spitting you out and gliding you up a near-vertical wall, then plummeting you down backwards, before you hit a 2m hump, for that airborne feeling, as it all comes to an end.
My favourite of these was the SuperBowl, which – on your tube – quite simply shoots you into what can only be described as the toilet-bowl of the aquatic world, letting you circle and circle the bowl until you eventually find your way down the last snaky bit to the splash pool at the end.
Needless to say, my son thought he was in seventh heaven. Luckily he wasn’t allowed on the Aqualoop, but he simply couldn’t get enough of the others, and had me close to a coronary having to walk up all those staircases, tube in hand, again and again. Not to mention having to pretend I wasn’t petrified most of the time.
Thank goodness for the lazy river, which was more my speed, and the “normal” pool which was quite chilled.
The interactive water-play area is something special for the little ones. Imagine a huge jungle gym within a shallow pool with squirting guns, bridges, slides, and water literally spurting everywhere.
The resort’s general refurbishment cost about R400m and the facility is looking both modern and family-friendly. We had a hotel room on the ground floor, which had all the amenities you’d expect, but also with easy access to the hotel’s pool, and great ocean views through the sliding door.
Activities include golf, water-skiing, jet-skiing, scenic cruises, bowling, go-karting, Kamp Kwena and the Magic Company to keep the little ones entertained.
Overall, it’s a great getaway for the family.
WHAT IT COSTS
Day visitor costs for water park:
l Children 3 years and below – Free
l Children below 1.2m in height – R50
l Adults and children above 1.2m in height – R100
l Pensioners 60 years and above with positive ID – R50
l Impaired persons (wheelchair bound) – R50
l Residents – in-house guests pay a nominal fee of R10 per person per day to visit Wild Waves water park
l Opening Times – Open 7 days a week, 9am-5pm.
l Hotel rates – visit www.suninternational.com - Sunday Tribune