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AA Sun City honeymoon provides a fantasy world contrasted by a magnificent bushveld setting. Entertainment is non-stop, with gaming, shopping, restaurants, movies and live concerts. There are adventure activities such as hot-air balloon rides, zip slides, quad biking and parasailing. In addition, there are 2 world-class golf courses and water fun to be had at the Valley of the Waves.
For something different, try the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, right next door to Sun City. The Pilanesberg is a Big 5 sanctuary with the distinction of being set in an extinct crater. Here you can embark on day and night game drives, either self-drive or professionally guided. Or you can hike and identify some of the 300 species of birds that occur here.
There’s a good network of roads in the park, with hides and picnic sites where you can stretch your legs and enjoy an ‘out-of-vehicle’ experience. A dozen bush lodges in the park offer 3 to 5-star accommodation.
Like the Pilanesberg, Madikwe Game Reserve is home to the Big 5. It is about a 4-hour drive from Johannesburg, heading towards Botswana. Situated at the edge of the Kalahari, animal and plant life here is diverse, and is best experienced through guided day and night safaris in open vehicles.
Accommodation in Madikwe is of a high standard and includes bush lodges in the 4- and 5-star categories, ideal for honeymoon couples looking for some 'Out of Africa'-type pampering. Madikwe can only be accessed by booking at one of the lodges and then exploring atop a 4x4 vehicle supplied by the lodge. There is no self-drive option available.
While on honeymoon in the North West, you could also book a B&B in the Magaliesberg or at the Hartbeespoort Dam, try a township stay in Saulspoort, or experience some local colour and culture in Groot Marico.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
North West Parks and Tourism
Tel: + 27 (0)18 381 7341
Tel: + 27 (0)11 780 7855
Pilanesberg Game Reserve
Tel: + 27 (0)14 555 1637
Madikwe Game Reserve
Tel: + 27 (0)18 350 9931/2
How to get here
The North West is accessible by road, and is within easy distances of Johannesburg and Pretoria. Roads are suitable for all types of vehicles.
Best time to visit
The North West can be visited any time of year. Summers (November to February) in the game parks may be hot, but game drives are usually done at sunrise and sunset, avoiding the heat of the day. During the ‘siesta’ hours, the hotel or lodge pool is the place to be.
Things to do
Game drives and bush walks are a highlight of staying in the Pilanesberg or Madikwe reserves. You can also go hot-air ballooning and/or enjoy water sports at Hartbeespoort Dam.
If you're staying in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, a visit to the Mphebatho Museum is an enriching cultural experience.
If you enjoy history, then spending some time in the historic town of Mafikeng is worthwhile.
What to pack
In the Summer months (October to March) bring lightweight clothing, a warm sweater for cool mornings or evenings, swimwear, sunblock, sunglasses and sunhat, as well as walking shoes and socks, sandals, cap, raincoat.
In the Winter months (April to September), long trousers and long-sleeve tops, shorts and t-shirts for warm days, fleece, warm gloves, beanie, scarf, thermals for particularly cold mornings, swimwear, sunblock, sunglasses and sunhat, as well as closed comfortable warm shoes and sandals.
Your binoculars and camera with a spare memory card and charger for your camera are a must all year round.
Where to stay
There is a wide variety of accommodation available in the North West, from rustic bush camps to 5-star lodges and hotels. Township home-stays are also an option.
What to eat
There are excellent restaurants at Sun City, and the luxury lodges in both Madikwe and Pilanesberg offer superb bush-style cuisine.