Sun City

30-Years On: The Palace Of The Lost City Continues To Be A Legend

The Palace of the Lost City, nestled within the greater Sun City resort, is a true marvel of engineering and design.


  • The construction of The Lost City, which commenced in December 1992, was an ambitious endeavor that required immense effort and resources.
  • The interior of The Palace is a testament to exquisite craftsmanship and luxury.
  • The Palace of the Lost City stands as a testament to human ingenuity, showcasing the harmonious blend of nature, art, and luxury.
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Spread across a vast 62-acre expanse, the hotel is surrounded by 25 hectares of exotic jungle and waterscapes that lead down to the famous Valley of Waves, a waterpark that opened its doors in 1996. The setting is truly breathtaking, with craggy mountains overlooking the resort and the neighboring 55’000-hectare Pilanesberg National Park adding to its allure.


The Palace project was completed in a remarkable 28 months, costing R830-million. To bring this architectural wonder to life, workers moved a staggering 1’750’000 cubic meters of earth and blasted 85’000 cubic meters of rock. The scale of the construction process was monumental, with nearly 10’000 people working on the project during its peak. It took the labor of almost 200 bricklayers to lay an average of one million bricks each month, resulting in a total of 8-million bricks used.


The attention to detail in The Palace’s construction is evident in the multitude of custom-made elements. For instance, almost 15’000 pieces of pre-cast were created for the facades, and 12km of air-conditioning and 500km of electric wiring were installed. A staggering 3’300 tons of steel reinforcing rods measuring 2’900kg and 75’000 meters of electrical conduit for the 6’500 light fittings were incorporated into the hotel’s infrastructure.


The hotel boasts 50’000 square meters of carpets and 5’650 square meters of marble. The grandeur is further enhanced by unique decor items such as the preserved palm tree in the royal entrance chamber and the six elephant tusks, carved in Indonesia from local Squara wood, which arch in pairs over the Tusk Lounge and Bar.


Artistic mastery is showcased throughout the hotel, with the dome ceiling in the royal entrance chamber standing out as a remarkable feat. Painted by nine artists, the evocative African landscape on the underside of the dome took nearly 5’000 hours to complete. The Palace also boasts a total painted area of 425’000 square meters, including a stunning collection of murals covering 3’400 square meters.


Lost City
Likely one of the most photographed art pieces at The Palace of the Lost City is the life-size bronze sculpture of Shawu, one of Africa’s most famous elephants. Image: The Palace of the Lost City

The Crystal Court is adorned with a massive chandelier made up of 10’000 pieces of rock crystal from the Czech Republic. Constructing the court’s roof was a significant challenge, as it needed to support five floors of suites above it.


The surrounding gardens of The Palace are a sight to behold. Constructed at a cost of R25-million in 1992, the gardens cover an expansive 25 hectares. They now enjoy Botanical Garden status, with nine different ecosystems showcasing over 1.2-million plants, trees, shrubs, and ground covers from around 3’200 species. These lush tropical botanical gardens include a baobab forest and cover an area of 55’000 square meters.


Water plays a central role in the aesthetics of The Palace and its surrounding areas. The intricate waterscape was created using 4’000 tons of native Pilanesberg rock, 1’860 square meters of concrete rock, and 3’720 square meters of glass fiber reinforced concrete.


Water flows from The Palace to The Cascades, covering 7’740 square meters, and includes three swimming pools, 12 waterfalls and cataracts, and 1’050 meters of low weirs. The impressive Roaring Lagoon wave pool within the Valley of Waves contains a staggering 8-million liters of water and generates two-meter high swells, creating ideal surfing waves.


Every element, from the custom-made furnishings to the meticulously crafted architecture, contributes to its status as a world-renowned destination. It’s a place where guests can immerse themselves in an enchanting atmosphere, surrounded by the beauty of the South African landscape and the wonders of The Palace’s grandeur.


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Sandton Times Correspondent

Sandton Times Correspondent

Curated content from The Sandton Times newsroom desks.


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