Guest Blog: Far-out facts about South Africa’s Lost City by Janine Avery from @5starstories
The Lost City of Sun City and the exquisite 350 roomed hotel at her centre, the Palace, provide the ultimate in luxury and a playground for adventure lovers who flock from all over the world to experience her grandeur.
Here are some luscious facts about South Africa’s favourite resort that we bet you didn’t know before now:
She is as opulent as can be
Sol Kerzner once said this was the most challenging and complex project he ever completed but no expense was spared to make his dreams a reality. The entire Lost City project cost in upwards of R800 million rand every detail was hand-picked and designed. The carpets that line the Palace floor were hand woven with u special design depicting a range of African wildlife while the mahogany table that sits centre stage in the entrance hall at the Palace alone cost R3.5 million. But the opulence doesn’t end there – the enormous chandelier which hangs over Crystal Court features 5,000 Venetian rock crystals and below her shining glory every conceivable flat surface seems to be covered in marble – 5,650 square metres in total to be exact.
She is a feat of engineering
The entire Lost City project was completed in just 28 months, unique for a project of this breadth and complexity; in fact the architects were still drawing plans as building was happening. There was 5,000 workmen on site at the height of construction, in total 245,600 plans were printed during the build and over 30 million bricks were laid during those two years. Jungles, bridges, a waterpark, lakes, ponds and waterfalls were all created from nothing. In 2012, Sun City also opened the largest permanent maze in the Southern Hemisphere. Accessed via a 100 metre swing bridge, the maze provides a new dimension to the Lost City’s complexity.
She is a work of art
The mosaic floor in the entrance floor of the Lost City’s crowning glory, the Palace, was hand-laid. A group of Swaziland women hand-stitched the tapestries that lie behind the check-in and concierge desks. It took the team painting the ceiling that adorns the central dome, a painstakingly 5000 hours, completing it in a similar technique in what Michelangelo used to paint the Sistine Chapel. All impressive but perhaps the Palace’s most impressive artistic features are the two statues that flank her entrances. Danie de Jager’s lifesize statue of the magnificent elephant Shawu has become synonymous with the Palace while the Cheetah Hunt is the work of art sure to take your breath away when you arrive at the hotel. Before de Jager even started work on this particular piece he took hundreds of photos and hours of video footage and even dissected the carcass of a cheetah and impala to better understand their muscle structure.
She will take you on the ride of your life
The Valley of the Waves was the largest combination of waterpark features built in a single project phase, anywhere in the world. The Temple of Courage, the waterpark’s centre piece, drops 17 metres and you can reach speeds of up to 35km per/hour. Just last year two new rides were added to the Valley of the Waves as part of a R1 billion revamp to the resort – one a death-defining plummeting body slide that reaches speeds of 65km per hour and the other a double tube slide that sees you shooting up a vertical wall. After initial construction of the Lost City, all the water contained by the landscaped, entertainment and décor features as well as the swimming pools, totalled 23 million litres.
She can light up your life
When the Palace was built, it was the first time in southern Africa that 1km of natural daylight neon lighting had been specially constructed and in another first, a computerised and electronic diming system with multiple lighting effects was installed, costing then in excess of R400,000. She has also been home to some star-studded events including the Miss South Africa and Miss World pageants, which was first brought to Africa and Sun City in 1992.
Written by Janine Avery from 5 Star Stories
Images by 5 Star Stories