The more things have changed the more they have stayed the same since the days when it was one of ‘Sun King’ Sol Kerzner’s original palaces of relaxation and fun in the nominally independent Bantustans of apartheid era South Africa.
The resort – set on 750 hectares of natural bush on the Indian Ocean Coast, where the sun always seems to shine – continues to offer a haven from the chill and the rest of reality outside.
In this wonderfully warm and friendly world, real life and the flood of news about corruption and capture seem very far away indeed.
One doesn’t want to spend too much time in complete denial of reality, but a little break from it all surely does wonders for mind, body and soul.
For a high-speed re-set I recommend a quick visit to the casino, which always helps to shift me into a different gear entirely. Watching ordinary looking people bet thousands of rand on a single spin of the roulette wheel always has me aghast, setting a kaleidoscope of judgment, envy and thrill spinning in my head.
For a minute you might, as I did, imagine yourself in a faraway imagined place or on the silver screen with Woody Harrelson and Demi Moore playing with a lot more than their entertainment allowance, as they did in that racy and hedonistic tale, Indecent Proposal.
A few lucky spins stretched my own entertainment allowance and kept me amused for a couple of hours. I didn’t mind at all, though, when that came to an end since much fun was to be had outside under beautiful clear winter skies.
A more wholesome but equally heady and fantastical way to forget your cares is a horseback ride on the beach.
This highlight of so many bucket-lists lived up to the dream for me as the sweaty beast I was riding headed calmly for the shoreline and splashed through the foamy waves for most of the ride. I was reduced to the gulping, giggling teenage girl I had never been as I took in deep breaths of fresh sea air and pure thrill.
Even in midwinter a large bright blue pool, which seems to be surrounded by ocean, was always alive with children and the odd adult splashing around.
Less daring adults reclined on loungers around the pool sipping cocktails, reading books, admiring 180 degree seaviews and having foot massages.
An award-winning golf course, multiple beauty and wellness spas, Segway tours and the Wild Waves water park are just some of the other options at the resort, which is much more about family fun than its reputation might suggest.
Once known as a haven of gambling and the risqué entertainment that fell under the banner of “immorality” in the era of extravaganzas, these days you are more likely to see birdwatchers than topless dancers.
At another point in time when South Africa seems to be a corrupt and captured place, the Wild Coast Sun offers a break from it all with loads of sunshine and good times.
Give reality the slip at this resort less than 2 hours drive from Durban, where everything seems a few degrees warmer and happier even on a midwinters’ day in 2017.