Departing from Lion Park the next morning, in between the more than two hours coach ride to north-west Johannesburg, we stopped for lunch at The “Upper Deck Restaurant”. Busy-busy bustling with tourists, Upper Deck is a laid-back rustic grill-restaurant, boasting a huge and lively garden terrace and live music. As we sat at the outside dining area, sort of a similar concept to Kirstenbosch Garden Moyo Restaurant, lunch opened up with a salad and then we opted between the three platters - seafood, steak and lamb, indeed, huge portions paired with salad and plentiful of fries. For dessert, while we continued sipping the chilled drinks and beer, we were served the colorful assortment of sweet stuffs - really and truly sweet!
Despite literally forcing ourselves to finish off the set lunch, I suppose only so much one can eat. But the good thing was that we helped the tour guide to pack the leftovers for the underprivileged. In fact, throughout the past couple of days after dining, we have been doing it to support the guide's humanitarian work.
We then spend another 15 minutes at the road side stalls prior to journeying again to arrive at Sun City where we will be for the next 1 ½ days. Sun City by the way is a huge complex resembling Genting World and Sunway Lagoon. Apart from offering a world class casino, there are also a multitude of facilities ranging from numerous hotels, theatre, game viewing, swimming, golfing, eateries, slow winding river and an outdoor wave pool. Obviously, you name it, you find it at Sun City, a city that does not sleep, a getaway for locals and tourists and an entertainment hub for the whole family.
Envisioned & developed by Sol Kerzner as part of his Sun International group and officially opened on 7 December, 1979, Sun City nestling in an extinct volcano crater is best known as Africa's kingdom of pleasure. Within the sprawling area, the must see is also the lush forest with many rare types of plant life, rocks structures, Stone Age sites and minerals, which is studied by scientists and geologists from all over the world.
So, what did we do at Sun City? After checking into our room, mainly to keep our things, we then walked at a leisurely pace amongst the thousands who throne Sun City during this weekend. Beyond question, the walkway lined with animal figures connecting the hotel to the Entertainment Centre was impressive and the Water World and luscious forest were a sight to behold. Later, we came back to the hotel for dinner and by then, I had enough of exploring Sun City. So, I returned to my room whereas my half-half and his buddies, if not all, most of them donated their hard earned money at the casino.
The next morning, we slept in late, skipped the buffet breakfast and between the eateries in the hotel, we had an early lunch at Raj Restaurant. Since we were the earliest customers, service was prompt in the quite attractive ambiance, but the dishes called for took a while to arrive. Still, despite being hungry, we didn’t mind waiting because we had two hours before the safari adventure. The dishes we tucked into with beriyani and naan were deliciously elevated with spices for the authentic tastes, though on a pricey side.
After lunch, we basically idled around the hotel and then left in the open game viewing truck to Pilanesberg National Park - the 4th largest game reserve in South Africa , covering 55,000 hectares and home to some 12000 mammals. Characterized by impressive volcanic mountain forms and rolling savannah grasslands 1300 million years old, these impressive features have created one of the most topographically diverse reserves to be found in South Africa, and the park is now one of the reserves that provide the Big 5 Experience (Leopard, Lion, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo) and over 350 species of birds.
As soon as the truck took off, out of nowhere it started raining dogs and cats until we were soaking-dripping wet albeit quickly sheltering under the raincoat. The heavy rain however didn’t dampened our high spirit. Within the next 30 minutes or so, as the truck went further up into the diverse African bushveld, we were lucky to see the African animals crossing right in front of us and from afar. Truly a superb-spectacular experience, akin in the movies!
Two hours of this safari adventure, we returned to the hotel, quickly showered, and packed our bags to travel to Carnivore Restaurant, Johannesburg for the exotic-wild meat dinner. Situated in natural surroundings,neighboring Misty Hills Hotel and overlooking Krugersdorp hills, Carnivore Restaurant is filled with warm earth tones and the bamboo walls are adorned in African art works. We walked in via the indigenous garden and soon, dinner opened up with some sides and a soup. Except for tucking into the salad with the sauces and just a little of the lamb chops, I just couldn’t take the strong smell of the kurdu, crocodile, zebra, ostrich, antelope and what not as the servers brought the massive skewers of meat and slice off a piece or two and moved on. Certainly a unique game meat cuisine, still, I didn't dare eat, neither I will ever.
Finally, to call it a day, we stayed at a nearby hotel while looking forward to the next day's sightseeing in Pretoria.
To be continued.........
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