South Africa's Sun City :
By Loreen Neville
The Palace of the Lost City
June 1st 2009
There are four beautiful decorative, closes to nature resorts at Sun City located in the Northern part of South Africa. Sun City, lies on the territory of the homeland of Bophuthatswana, a former independent state of the apartheid regime, about a 90 minute drive from Johannesburg. This city is perhaps, now one of the prides of South Africa’s Tourism destination that comes with a legend and intriguing chapters of the apartheid and self government. In her history, the famous character of the then like him or hate him, former Bophuthatswana President, Kgosi Lucas Manyane Mangope, convicted of embezzlement and theft of royalties and South Africa’s Suncity founder real estate magnate Sol Kerzner, who then saw opportunity in the apartheid’s South Africa's zoning structures, are part and parcel of the development of Bophuthatswana.
Bophuthatswana, a former black territorial homeland, meant for the cultural preservation of the Tswana speaking tribes, under the acts of South African Parliament for self-government, was given the go ahead for an independent state passed in 1971 but gained independence only in 1977. However, Bophuthatswana, with its former capital city Mmbatho, was not recognized as an independent state outside South Africa. The province is about 44 square miles in North South Africa, covering seven separate areas with a segment along the Botswana border and landlocked enclaves. Originally called Bantustans, its initial intention was for South African black’s self-government, but was said to be under the control of the white apartheid government.
In 1988, the South African government, after a coup attempt, reinstated Kgosi Lucas Mangope as head of state. In 1994, Lucas Mangope, was thus removed by the Pretoria government, which then installed an interim government in Bophuthatswana. After South Africa's first all-race elections in 1994, Bophuthatswana was once again integrated into South Africa. Its various enclaves, with a population of more than 2.5 million, became parts of Orange Free State now called the free state and the newly created North-West and Eastern Transvaal or Mpumalanga provinces.
The Founder of Sun City
Sol Kerzner, who then saw potential real estate prospects in the apartheid’s South Africa's zoning structures, foundered the creation and development of Suncity in South Africa and the restoration of the Palace of the lost City. Suncity was part of Sol Kerzner’s Sun International group of properties. It was officially opened on 7 December 1979. Kerzner was born in 1935 in Johannesburg, is the youngest and only son of the four children to a Russian immigrant couple. The family went into the hotel business, with Sun City, Palace of the Lost City, his first magnificent achievement.
The Palace of the Lost City, Suncity
A myriad of amenities from the prestigious, exquisite architectural man made, Palace of the Lost City, is one remarkable resort, fit for adventurous holiday consumers. Lending to its name, ’palace of the lost city, the immediate area comes with a legend. The Palace was apparently built for a King by an ancient civilization from North Africa, who settled in the green valley surrounded by ancient hills. The tribe brought their bestowed traditions of prodigious architectures and rituals, to this ancient volcanic crater that they called the Valley of the Sun. The ancient palace and its surroundings were destroyed by an earthquake. 12 years after Sun City was built, restoration work of the Palace began in 1992 initiated by Zol Kerzner.
The Palace was restored to become a business holiday resort, offers first class hospitality, magnificent interiors, 338 luxurious guest rooms and 4 Royal suites like The King, Royal, Africa and Desert suites. Hand carved furnishings within the premises reflects the personal touch of Africa’s flora and fauna. A Panoramic view covering 62 acres of jungle, cliff tumbling gardens, streams, waterfalls, swimming pools and featuring the valley of waves, a mechanized wave machine that pumps out waves, for an experience of body-surfing beach crashing sport, truly showcasing men’s ingenuity. An enormous water park with a long curving artificial beach and lagoon, various waterslides, a man-made river that surrounds the park, and a neighboring safari reserve, is surely a holiday get-away with the fancies of modern and nature enclosures. The exotic jungle of Africa, the Jacaranda Forest and the Baobab Forest surrounds the Palace of the Lost City, with over 1 600 000 plants, trees and scrubs.
Each of the Palace's 10 towers, are framed domes with enormous faux elephant tusks and sculptured half bodied moose, preserving Africa's wildlife's symbols.
The bronze statue of Shawu one of the magnificent seven elephants
The entrance foyer in the open courtyard of The Palace of the Lost City showcases a cathedral-like architecture to a high painted ceilinged with three floors. In the middle of the mosaic-tiled courtyard, boasts a bronze life-sized statute of Shawu the elephant. Shawu is one of the magnificent seven elephants of South Africa of Kruger National Park elephants with the largest tusks. Shawu died of an infection caused by old bullet wounds in 1982 committed by illegal elephant poachers.
The story of South African’s magnificent seven elephants that once roam the Kruger National Park is another legend to behold. Mafunyane, perfectly matched tusks rested on the ground, Shingwedzi is called the docile bull of the north, Kambaku, was wounded outside the park and shot by a ranger, Joao, broke off both his enormous tusks in anger, Dzombo, was killed by a gang of poachers, Ndlulamithi, the intolerant one and Shawu, who had the longest tusks ever recorded in southern Africa. All seven elephants had exceptional huge, impressive tusks, weighing in excess of 100 pounds each. Shingwedzi, Shawu and Kambaku were known to be gentle giants that visitors to the Kruger often encountered them at close range. Mafunyane and Ndlulamithi, however, were less tolerant and were observed to avoid man as far as possible. As they passed away, one after the other, the tusks and skulls of the Magnificent Seven, were retrieved and kept in the Elephant Museum at Letaba in the Kruger National Park.
Every functional room and dinning is art made to be admired and utilized
From the mosaic open courtyard, an awesome scenery of blue skies from the sunlight thrown dome shaped of carved elephant tusks hovers over the elephant walk. The terrace view and tusk bar is located in this section and is the epitome of lavishness. Carved wooden elephant tusks are affixed right up to the ceiling. Rounded bowls of pot-pourri aromatic scents fills this lounge which is decorated with various African arts and artifacts.
The majestic entrance to the lobby of the palace itself is taken in admiration. The architecture was meant to pay homage both to art and nature. Mosaic marble floors, soaring columns and eighty feet high frescoed rotunda cornice designed with hand painted motifs of nature is so beautiful and aspiring.