Palace of the Lost City is an African paradise
The drummer's hands rhythmically tap on the animal-skin-covered instrument, the dust from the dancers’ feet clouds the arena, transporting one into a different space and time through music, song and cultural dialogue.
“Bakwena! Bakgatla! Bakubung!” shouts Kagiso Levukuvu to the sounds of the ululating crowd.
“Our culture and heritage must always be our pride,” Levukuvu adds during one of the performances that he and other members of the Segaetsho Cultural Group take part in at Sun City.
The group, made up of about 10 members, was selected from neighbouring areas and perform every day for visitors, who go to the activity hub to get a taste of North West and its people.
The group not only performs at the Segaetsho Cultural Village, but also takes visitors on a tour to explore the Batswana tribe and their clans at the Segaetsho Dynasty.
The dynasty is set up with rondavels/huts where the clan totems are explained.
Levukuvu gives a spirited description of how the three main branches - Bakwena, Bangwaketse and Bangwato - came to be and how the split of the clans began.
It’s a story you want to hear for yourself.
For our media trip, dubbed “sophistication meets adventure”, our itinerary covered all the basics.
A touch of elegance matched with some authentic culture and a fine-dining experience.
The Palace of the Lost City was our home for the night, and it lives up to its name.
From the bridge and walkway into the five-star hotel one can tell that when it was built back in the 1990s, attention to detail was imperative.
The majestic architecture, sculptures, interior design and furniture reflect the theme of an African paradise.
The best view of the resort is from the King's Tower at the top of The Palace.
Here you can see the Lost City in all its glory and witness the beauty of the vast man-made garden.
The aim for the "jungle" was to have four primary micro environments - a rainforest, wetlands, coastal vegetation and bushveld - to merge with the natural indigenous landscape of the Pilanesberg Game Reserve.
On our arrival, we had lunch at Bocado within the five-star Cascades hotel area, for a taste of Santorini.
The restaurant is surrounded by sunloungers and deep-blue pools that give the feeling of a day at the beach.
The Mediterranean lunch included seafood, tapas, fresh fruit and baklava.
Our guide took us on a walk through the Forest of Lights, a light installation that is best experienced at night. Open from 6pm to midnight, visitors are encouraged to see the forest at night, with the trees, plants and waterfalls magically illuminated with an array of colours, making one feel like one is walking on the set of a fantasy film.
For the final evening event we were asked to freshen up for a palate journey of splendour. Dressed to the nines, off we went through the tunnels of The Palace to Plume for our fine-dining experience.
On a regular day Plume offers a formal menu of French cuisine, with an African twist.
We experienced chef Thabang Motsoenyane’s textured cuisine.
The theme for the night was Camps Bay Holiday, set on a five-course meal.
“We are celebrating summer by bringing the beach, with all its colours, to our guests; and for us to come up with a name, we had to ask ourselves: What is the best place in summer?
"And we all agreed that there was no place like Camps Bay beach in Cape Town.”
The first dish was the amuse-bouche (a bite-sized hors d’oeuvre) that looked like a mini beach with the seawater gel, beetroot and cream cheese espume, caviar and tomato, and flavoured scallops.
Throughout the evening, each dish was delivered with the inspiration behind it.
“We are taking you on a journey of textures with both food and wine,” said The Palace restaurant manager Marie Manyoha, who paired each dish with a specially selected wine.
Our starter was the "textures of corn salad", which was in fact a fresh dessert that took elements of corn and grilled, gellified and popped it by making a panna cotta, some corn dust and popcorn with a twist.
“We are just showing some respect to the humble corn. Since we are South Africans, whenever we hear corn, we think of corn flakes, maize meal and popcorn. Everything on the dish is made from corn,” said Motsoenyane.
Manyoha paired the corn starter with a De Wetshof Bon Vallon Chardonnay.
“The chardonnay is from the Robertson region (in the Western Cape).
"Wines from the warmer areas are always more expressive, fruitier and full of character and complexity.”
The fruity pairing was peachy and fresh, and worked well with the corn dish after the amuse-bouche.
Our first main course was olive poached-salmon.
Motsoenyane used fresh Norwegian salmon and served the fish at room temperature.
“The reason for that is that we want you to enjoy the richness, softness and texture of the fish; we then sautéed it for 50 minutes.”
The glorious meal was topped off with sweet-potato skins, a pea purée and balsamic jelly.
The fish was paired with the chardonnay and a sparkling wine.
This was my favourite dish of the evening.
After cleansing our palates with lemon sorbet, it was time for the second main course of beef and red wine.
Manyoha paired the rib-eye log with a 2017 Beyerskloof Pinotage.
“Sometimes people get caught up in thinking that older red wines are better, but sometimes you don’t realise that an older red wine that is fuller bodied can cloud your entire dish.
"Rather have something that balances the flavours of the dish versus the flavours of the wine.”
Our dessert complemented our beach holiday theme with a dish that included a salty caramel wave, peanut soil, a strawberry cheesecake sandcastle, a mango sorbet popsicle and chocolate mousse.
The dish was accompanied by a Simonsig Gewürztraminer dessert wine.
“A Gewürztraminer for me is a dry sparkling wine and a really sweet wine combined. It has pronounced flavours of litchi when you swirl and taste it.
"It’s one of the most unique wines I have ever come across,” said Manyoha.
We finished off the night with a variety of cheeses, whisky nuts, Camembert parcel and port.
The port had a hint of honey and toffee flavours.
Manyoha said the pairing had been inspired by a bacon and syrup breakfast that gave a flavour explosion in the mouth.
The soft and beautiful voice of Lyndi Lee Smith set the ambience for the evening.
The next morning was set to be a day of adventure, but the rainy weather was not on our side and we missed out on exploring the pump track and the Chimp & Zee.
The pump track is part of the bike park that was opened in December.
Mountain bikers, BMX riders and skateboarders would certainly enjoy the space with some adrenalin-pumping manoeuvres.
The Chimp & Zee rope adventure is at the Valley of the Waves and consists of high-balancing beams, zip lines, hanging spider nets and jungle rope bridges.
The adventure can be experienced at a cost of R190 a person.
If you are looking for more than just a getaway, but rather a full experience of holiday fun, then Sun City is surely the place to be.