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Blair Underwood and Family at the Palace of the Lost City, Sun City, South Africa
On location: Blair Underwood, who co-founded Artists for a New South Africa, and his wife, Desiree, renewed their vows in South Africa in 1994. Ever since, the couple "wanted to take the kids there to introduce them to the country and people," Blair explains. They made it happen in August 2011 on an 18-day vacation with three kids in tow. The first stop was the extravagant 338-room Palace of the Lost City, in Sun City, South Africa, which Underwood playfully describes as Raiders of the Lost Ark meets Disney World. The interiors are an over-the-top mix of rock crystal, bronze sculptures, and African textiles. (The actor was so inspired by the decor when he visited in 1994 that he modeled an entire house in Los Angeles after it.) The family finished their time in South Africa with a stay at the Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town.
Star attraction: Forget the drive-through animal parks of your childhood. At Sun City, the Underwoods took a sunrise balloon safari to see cheetahs and zebras and headed to the elephant reserve next door to the hotel to pet and feed the animals. The family particularly loved Ukutula, a nearby lion reserve where they walked in the bush beside young lions—accompanied by experienced staffers carrying giant buckets of chicken. What, did you think they got pellets out of machines?
The Palace of the Lost City
Sun City Resort
North West Province
Tel: 27 14 557 4307
Rooms from $505