Setting Up

Iconic hotel provides an oasis of calm and comfort in famous surrounds


It’s not often that you get to use the word ‘ziggurat’ and less often that you get to stay in one, and Sun City’s Cascades Hotel is considerably more comfortable than the dusty Mesopotamian versions.

If you’re staying anywhere on the upper floors, the glass elevators that run up the exterior of the building offer a funfair ride for no extra cost, revealing arguably the whole property’s best landscaping – a creek-crossed rainforest plus a massive three-part pool with waterfalls and a waterslide. That slide is a generation leveller: however old you are, it is by far the most enjoyable way to get into the pool, and you can designate style points according to how stylishly your partner or kids enter the water.

An evening walk around the Gary Player Country Club is a mini safari. Heading down the side of the first fairway, a cardinal woodpecker draws the eye. A little later, in the thickets between the holes, a group of slender mongooses hiss as we pass by, close to their burrow. The moms in a vervet monkey nursery (with half a dozen infants in tow) seem less concerned, while a squad of cocky shaft-tailed whydahs bully a bunch of bigger birds competing for their patch of seed-rich grass.

Food and festivities

A meal at the Maltos restaurant, sitting on an island in the pool, sees a pair of frogs on the hunt for bugs providing some unexpected entertainment. Upstairs, at the Luma Bar And Lounge, a singer belts out a set of cover versions, gamely moving her rig inside when a quick, heavy rainstorm blows through and providing the soundtrack for more moms and daughters (humans, this time) to have a little private dance party. And the following morning’s breakfast buffet includes a pianist who takes requests, which means you can enjoy a little Mancini with your muffins.

A morning around the pool with a G&T and a book for company makes you feel like you shouldbalance that with some activity. Cue another, longer walk around the golf course, on which we discover mistletoe growing in a number of trees, which requires us to stop and kiss regularly. It’s the natural order of things…

That evening, there’s a Benjamin Dube concert in the Superbowl and, in possibly related news, a 7-Series BMW parked in front of the Cascades with the numberplate ‘Rev B’. After the peaceful bubble you can keep yourself in at the Cascades – nature, relaxation, comfort and great food – this recalls the other side of Sun City; the brash, aim-to-impress flashiness of the early days. Happily, it’s easy to enjoy either of the resort’s personalities, depending on your own tastes. Mix, match and be merry.

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