Most gamblers in the United States haven’t considered the
Republic of South Africa, but it’s a gambling hotspot. This
multi-ethnic nation has a dozen official languages, more than
3,000 miles of coastline, and a robust economy that’s ranked in
the top thirty in the world, on par with Denmark and oil-rich
Venezuela. But its remote location (the country is closer to
Antarctica than any other developed nation) means its casinos
aren’t exactly drawing the same kind of tourist attention as
Macau, Las Vegas, or Monaco.
Visiting casinos in South Africa is easy as long as you’re 18 and not intoxicated. Every province of the Republic
of South Africa is home to at least one state-regulated gaming venue. But you’ll also find dozens more race
tracks, sportsbook kiosks, and OTB sites in each province, too. Lottery sales are growing each year, and they’re
among the highest per capita in the world. South Africa is also home to some of the most liberal gambling
laws in the world.
We like to cover gambling destinations in detail. We’ve put together a complete guide to visiting the casinos of
the Republic of South Africa, featuring the following sections. You can scroll the page to see them all, or use
the following buttons to jump straight to a section that interests you.
In our destination-specific articles, we like to list two or three properties in each of three common categories:
But South Africa is a small country compared to the areas we review in those other pages, so it has fewer
accommodations to review. Instead of our usual listings, we’ve picked one property to cover in detail for each
category. As for reviews of casinos – we cover a lot more gambling venues in the country at the end of this
Here are our three recommendations for casino resorts in South Africa.
Best Luxury Hotel and Casino in South Africa
The Cascades Hotel
The Cascades is a five-star casino resort in the middle of
Pilanesberg National Park. Since this luxury destination was built,
Sun City has become the go-to vacation destination for the entire
The attached Sun City Casino is open 24 hours a day. The 50,000
square foot casino floor was refurbished in 2013. That effort increased the number of slot machines and
video poker games to over 1000. It also made space for more table games. You can play all the
Western-style table classics you want spread across 43 tables.
The loyalty club at The Cascades is called MVG. When you join, you’ll get instant access to a private lounge
and VIP gaming room. There, you’ll find high-roller slots, tables, and a private poker room.
The boutique hotel has large rooms. There are only 243 guestrooms on this massive property. Each has a
kitchenette, private balcony with a view of the forest, and bathrooms with whirlpool tubs. As an added
bonus, the hotel will have any of three-dozen world newspapers delivered to your room each morning
Outside of the casino, The Cascades offers a nightclub and a full service spa and health club with a 24-hour
gym and pool complex. 24-hour concierge service is free, as is childcare. Older children can spend time in
a large supervised arcade and gaming complex.
The Cascades offers dozens of restaurants and bars, including:
The Brew Monkey
Harvest Grill & Wine
The Palm Terrace
The Sun Terrace
The Grill Room
There are several other eateries and watering holes too.
Recommended for: TABLE GAMES
Key Information Address: Sun City Resort, Pilanesberg, Sun City, North West Province, South Africa Phone number: +27 14 557 5840 http://ww.suninternational.com/sun-city/cascades/
Best Mid Range Hotel and Casino in South Africa
For groups interested in high-end service without the hefty
price tag of The Cascades, South Africa is a great vacation spot.
Mid-range hotels are the norm. By far the biggest and best-reviewed
of them all is City Lodge Hotel GrandWest. Average room prices here
hover around $90 USD a night. That’s less than half what you’ll spend
during the tourist season at The Cascades.
City Lodge Hotel GrandWest is home to one of the largest South African casinos, a 120,000 square foot
space that’s home to more table games (seventy-eight) than any other casino in Africa. More than 2500 slot
and video poker games are also available in banks near the back of the space, past the table games and
poker room. The poker room is one of the most-celebrated in all of the Republic. Ten tables are kept open
around the clock, with the focus of play on Texas holdem and Omaha.
Though the GrandWest is a large property, it has few hotel rooms. Only 176 rooms are available, and those
are usually booked a few months in advance. Every room has a whirlpool tub or separate bath and shower.
Many rooms have views overlooking the city of Cape Town. City Lodge Hotel is more family-friendly than
most South African casino resorts. The outdoor pool is a family favorite.
We mentioned above that City Lodge Hotel GrandWest is a big property, and the number of restaurants
and bars on-site is a testament to that. Between the convention center, casino, and resort hotel, the list of
restaurants is staggering.
Here’s a list of places where you can grab a bite to eat at City Lodge Hotel:
Squires Grill & Chophouse at GrandWest Casino & Entertainment World
Union Castle Club
Cape Town Fish Market at GrandWest Casino & Entertainment World
Silver Dollar Spur at GrandWest Casino & Entertainment World
The Coffee Shop
Food Court at GrandWest Casino
Alibama Sports Bar
Recommended for: POKER
Key Information Address: Jakes Gerwel Drive, Cape Town, South Africa Phone number: +27 21 535 3611 https://clhg.com/hotels/125/City-Lodge-Hotel-GrandWest
Best Budget Hotel and Casino in South Africa
Emerald Resort & Casino
We recommend that visitors to South Africa who want to save
money stay at Emerald Resort & Casino. Average room rates often
dip below $70 USD per night, but you’ll still enjoy some of the
amenities of staying at a fancier resort property like the ones listed
As for gambling–you get what you pay for. This is one of South Africa’s smaller casino floors, around 32,000
square feet. It may be on the small side, but the property stuffs a lot of games into that small space – 21
table games, more than 600 gaming machines, and a poker room with up to 6 tables playing at once. You
won’t find a VIP room at Emerald Casino. Regional law limits wagers to no more than $1000 per round of
The hotel itself is nicer than you may imagine. The style is Kenyan-chic, with thatched furniture and walls,
beautiful slate floors, and plenty of old-world African art and artifacts. Believe it or not, you can reserve
luxury suites and conference facilities at this budget property. They cost more than the standard fare, so
check with the front desk before booking.
If you’re feeling adventurous, this resort includes a special River Resort facility, where you can take a
mini-safari or river cruise. You can also rent big Safari Lodges for group or family trips, or try their newest
amenity called “Liquid Living.” This program lets you rent and stay on houseboats along the Vaal River.
Recommended for: SLOTS AND VIDEO POKER
Key Information Address: 777 Frikkie Meyer Boulevard, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa Phone number: +27 16 982 8000 http://ww.emeraldcasino.co.za/
Non-Gambling Activities in South Africa
We like to cover non-gambling activities in every region that we write about. We do that because we know that
most people don’t spend an entire trip in a casino. We know some of our readers travel with families and kids.
In short, we’re realistic. You’re going to want to see part of South Africa at some point.
The good news is that South Africa is full of culture, nightlife, and amazing food. It’s easy to stay entertained in
the country if you choose not to gamble. But before you pick some activities not related to betting, we
recommend that you consider a few factors that might affect your choice. Think about your budget, how much
time you have, what the weather is like during your visit, and anything else you can think of that might affect
what you do.
Many of the options below are high-energy outdoor activities. That’s just the nature of South Africa. Obviously,
you have to consider your physical abilities before you jump into a shark cage or zip line over a jungle canopy.
Here are our choices for the top non-gambling activities in South Africa.
Zulu Birding was started by a small group of Zulu tribesman with the traditional
training necessary to guide hunting expeditions. Instead of guiding hunters to kill the wildlife, Zulu Birding
runs eco-tours, showing off the beautiful flora and fauna of South Africa without harming it. If a rugged
eco-tour isn’t your speed, you can book birding expeditions of various lengths to see some of the rare
birds of southern Africa.
Tip: They’re hard to reach during the off-season, which is June, July, and August.
Key Information Address: Mackenzie Street, P.O.Box 229, St Lucia 3936, South Africa Phone number: +27 71 4133243 http://zulubirding.jimdo.com/
Go on safari in the Hluhluwe Game Reserve
You can barely throw a pebble in South Africa without hitting a safari company.
Why choose the Hluhluwe Game Reserve?
It’s the oldest such property in South Africa, and it was the first to be recognized by the government as
ecologically-friendly. South Africa offers a unique opportunity to see a range of exotic wildlife. While on this
trip, you may see rhinos, lions, hyena, Cape buffalo, leopards, and many other classic safari animals.
Key Information Address: Phone number: +27 35 5901555 http://zulubirding.jimdo.com/
Take a river cruise with Knysna Charters
South Africa’s rivers are gorgeous. Ever better, they’re relatively-peaceful. Our
choice of location for a perfect South African cruise is the salt water sanctuary of Knysna. This is a winding
river featuring untouched lagoons and a must-photograph rocky cliff formation at the mouth of a jungle
river. If you book the right cruise, you can linger in the lagoon for a swimming break and visit the attached
nature reserve on the same trip, spending an entire day in Knysna.
Key Information Address: Thesens Island, Knysna, 6570, South Africa Phone number: +27 82 892 0469 http://www.knysnacharters.com/
Have a sky adventure at Ballito Microlight
School in Durban
Ultralight aviation (called “microlight” in South Africa) is a major pastime in this part of the world due to
relaxed regulations and favorable weather conditions. Microlight is so popular in Durban that it’s also
relatively inexpensive. You can have a couples’ microlight experience for less than the price of a fancy
dinner. Ballito Microlight School is the oldest-operating and best-reviewed provider of this type of aviation
Key Information Address: 100 Esenembi Rd, KwaDukuza, South Africa Phone number: +27 82 659 5550 http://www.skyadventures.co.za/
Tour the Cango Caves
The Cango Caves are four kilometers of Precambrian limestone caves which are
difficult enough to require a guide for every visitor. The Cango Caves is one of SA’s most-visited landmarks–
and one of its most photogenic. While you’re there, sign up for an ostrich ride at the Cango Ostrich Farm. If
you weigh less than 150 pounds, that is. This side-trip is great for the kids, and while it’s a bit expensive
(equivalent to $100 US per ride), when else are they going to have a chance to ride an ostrich?
Key Information Address: Scenic Cape Route 62, Oudtshoorn, 6620, South Africa Phone number: +27 44 272 7410 http://www.cango-caves.co.za/
Go cage-diving with Great Whites at White Shark Projects in Gansbaai
White Shark Projects is a group dedicated to the preservation of South Africa’s native White Shark species.
Their major source of revenue for these efforts is underwater adventures, like the infamous shark cage dive.
They sell videos, do educational tours, and host fundraiser events as well, but let’s face it – the shark cage
is by far the coolest part of their lineup. At $45 per person for their shortest cage experience (twenty
minutes per person in the cage), it’s one of the most affordable extreme wildlife experiences you can have
Key Information Address: 16 Geelbek St, Gansbaai, South Africa Phone number: +27 21 405 4537 http://www.whitesharkprojects.co.za/
Stroll along Cape Town’s Historic Waterfront.
The Victoria and Albert Waterfront stretches across most of Capt Town’s coastline,
offering views of the Atlantic Ocean, Table Bay Harbour, the City of Cape Town, and distant Table Mountain.
You can do a number of things here–shop, eat, play on the beach, hear live music, watch people as they
walk by. The V&A Waterfront is a can’t-miss tourist stop. We think you should plan to spend at least half a
Boulder’s Beach is exactly what the name implies–a sheltered beach that exists in the inlets between giant
boulders in Simon’s Town, South Africa. Located on the Cape Peninsula, just outside Simon’s Town proper,
Boulder’s Beach became a popular tourist spot when it was discovered that a colony of African penguins
settled there sometime in 1982. Technically, this spot is inside the Table Mountain National Park, which
means you won’t pay to park or visit. Bring a picnic lunch and make a day of it.
Key Information Address: 1 Kleintuin Road, Simon’s Town, Cape Town, 7995, South Africa Phone number: +27 21 786 2329 http://www.sanparks.co.za/gallery/parks/table_mountain/Landscape_zzz_copy
Take photos at the end of the world on the
Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is at the extreme southernmost tip of Africa.The tip of the Cape Peninsula has
been declared a protected wildlife reserve with picnic spots and walks.
Key Information Address: Cape Point Rd, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa Phone number: +27 21 780 9526 http://www.sanparks.org/parks/table_mountain/tourism/
Tour the Apartheid Museum
Opened in 2001 as part of the Gold Reef City Casino complex, the Apartheid Museum
is actually a complex of museums and galleries in Johannesburg, South Africa. The space is dedicated to
illustrating the impact of apartheid and to chronicling the entire history of 20th century South Africa.
Key Information Address: Northern Park Way and Gold Reef Rd, Johannesburg, 2001, South Africa Phone number: +27 11 309 4700 http://www.apartheidmuseum.org/
The History of Gambling in South Africa
Gambling in South Africa is widely available. Many forms of legal bets are available to citizens and visitors to
the country. This hasn’t always been the case. Regulated gaming in the country is only available thanks to three
major gaming law reform bills passed over the past two decades.
A colonial Dutch government first banned gambling in present-day South Africa in 1673. Dutch authorities
were so far outnumbered in the territory, the law couldn’t possibly have been enforced. Legally, it only applied
to settlements with a Dutch population, anyway. Still, the tradition held on through centuries of Dutch and
British occupation and rule.
South African colonization gave way to control by the fascist National Party, a group that reinforced the
traditional ban on betting with the Gambling Act of 1965. This law officially banned all forms of gambling in the
country. Horse racing continued and was extremely popular; the National Party considered it a sporting event
and not a game of chance.
South Africans continued to gamble in spite of the ban. Throughout the 1970s, traditional homeland
settlements of native South Africans (called “bantustans” in the native language) were granted some degree of
independence from colonial or even national governments. Settlements like Ciskei, Venda, and Transkei were
home to technically-illegal casinos, card rooms, and game parlors. This tradition continued in part because of
the government’s Apartheid policy, which meant only native South Africans had any access to these bootleg
According to Stephen P. Rule, a gaming researcher from South Africa, 2000 or more of these illegal casinos
were operating by 1995.
How did a country move from totally-restricted gambling to a nearly totally decriminalized system?
Big changes in politics in South Africa led to big changes in policy. A new democratic government was elected
in 1994, and new President Nelson Mandela legalized all forms of gaming. By 1996, the new government
issued its first National Gambling Act, which created a regulated system of casino licensing, outlined the rules
for sports betting and lottery games, and redefined horse racing as gambling, regulating it like sports betting
South Africa’s National Gambling Act of 1996 is one of the most progressive gaming regulation overhauls in
world history. Gambling has been outlawed in this part of the world since the 17th century. Games like roulette
and blackjack had been illegal since the time of the Black Plague. Overnight, they were available, and
provisions for their operation were created.
This act defined various terms related to gambling, made provisions for 40 casino licenses, outlined how they
should be distributed among South Africa’s provinces, and created a taxation and liability system so that
betting would be a boon for the country’s fledgling economy. The 1996 Act also created South Africa’s National
Gambling Board. They’re the regulatory and enforcement arm of the country’s casino and gaming entities.
South Africans gained access to legal casinos, a nationwide lottery, sports and race bets, and a regulated
market to control them all.
Two more major acts related to the legality of gambling in South Africa have been passed since 1996:
The 2004 National Gambling Act
he 2008 National Gambling Act
The 2004 National Gambling Act
This made some changes to definitions, including notes on Web-based betting and the addition of two new
casino licenses. The National Gambling Board legalized online gambling, but only at a list of 10 state-regulated
websites aimed at South African citizens. Some penalties related to gaming crimes were increased.
The 2008 National Gambling Act
Thisadded another casino license, bringing the country’s total to 43. It made minor changes to definitions,
essentially refining the scope of the country’s new online gambling regulations. No new penalty increases were
included in this amendment of South Africa’s gambling regulations. It was mostly a line-item amendment.
South Africans have a new love of regulated gambling. These days, the most popular form of gambling in the
country is the lottery. According to the National Gambling Board, 96% of South Africans of legal age buy at
least one lottery ticket each year. The next most-popular game is slots, with 30% participation. Race and sports
betting come in third, with 11% of South Africans wagering on a sporting event or horse or dog race each year.
South African Casino Directory
43 casinos are licensed by the Republic of South Africa. The majority of them are clustered around the major
cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, and Durban. These venues vary from large Vegas-style
resort complexes to small racinos in former native settlements.
Here’s a guide to a selection of major South African casinos.
Goldfields Casino is a large casino and entertainment complex featuring a
nine-hole golf course, five themed restaurants, and a 50,000 square foot
casino. This is one of the older properties in the Republic, having been built
on the site of a formerly illegal gaming venue in a settlement community.
Key Information Address: Corner of Buiten Street and State Way Sunland Plaza, Welkom, South Africa Phone number: +27 57 391 5700 http://www.goldfieldscasino.co.za/
Garden Route Casino
This 60,000 square foot casino and golf course on South Africa’s southern
coast was renovated in 2011 to offer more table games, a poker room, and
a couple of new restaurants. The Garden Route has the distinction of being
the southernmost casino in Africa.
Key Information Address: 1 Pinnacle Point Road PO Box 1663, Mosselbay, South Africa Phone number: +27 44 606 7777 http://www.gardenroutecasino.co.za/
Suncity Casino Resort at The Cascades Hotel
This is the ultimate South African casino resort. Not only can you
gamble in one of the largest casinos in Africa, but you’re literally
minutes from tons of upscale and casual activities and restaurants, a
happening nightlife, two world-class golf courses, and a waterpark.
Key Information Address: Sun City Resort, R556, North West Province, Sun City, South Africa Phone number: +27 14 557 5110 http://www.suninternational.com/sun-city/
Located in the upscale Four Ways section of J-burg, MonteCasino is a
modern facility with the bright lights and modern design of a boutique
hotel in Las Vegas. If you’re looking for American-style gaming, we’re
pretty sure MonteCasino is the only casino offering things like American roulette, keno, bingo, and the like.
Key Information Address: Private Bag X118, Johannesburg, South Africa Phone number: +27 11 510 7000 http://www.montecasino.co.za/
GrandWest Casino & Entertainment
World at City Lodge GrandWest
City Lodge Hotel GrandWest is home to one of the largest South African
casinos, a 120,000 square foot space that’s home to more table
games (78) than any other casino in Africa. More than 2500 slot and video
poker games are also available in banks near the back of the space past the
table games and poker room. The poker room is one of the most celebrated in all of the Republic. 10 tables
are kept open around the clock. Most of the tables spread Texas holdem, although you’ll also find Omaha
and some other variants occasionally being dealt.
Key Information Address: 1 Vanguard Drive, Goodwood, Cape Town, South Africa Phone number: +27 21 505 7777 http://www.suninternational.com/grandwest/
Gold Reef City Casino
Gold Reef City Casino is more of an entertainment complex than a
gambling hall. An indoor theme park, including a small water park and
slides, is the real focus, with the attached casino thrown in for adult
entertainment. Still, the gambling space is large, and all the classic South
African electronic games are represented. Just don’t expect much in the way of tables.
Key Information Address: Private Bag 1998, Johannesburg, South Africa Phone number: +27 11 248 6800 http://www.goldreefcity.co.za/
Graceland Hotel Casino Country
Club at Peermont Walmont
Graceland is a country club with an average-sized South African
casino attached. The floor is only 10,000 square feet or so, but most of
that room is set aside for poker and tables. Graceland is aimed at VIPs
and big spenders.
Key Information Address: 2302 Embalenhle Road, Secunda, South Africa Phone number: +27 17 620 1000 http://www.graceland.co.za/
Khoroni Casino Resort
Khoroni is our pick for the best remote gambling venue. You have to
travel pretty far into the bush to get here. The casino itself is small–5000
square feet, just enough for a dozen gaming tables and a few hundred
slot and video poker machines.
Key Information Address: Mphephu Street, Thohoyandou, Thohoyandou, South Africa Phone number: +27 (0)15 962 4600 http://www.khoroni.co.za/
Naledi Sun Casino & Hotel
Naledi Sun is another remote South African resort with a small casino
inside. Naledi is a boutique hotel, featuring just four dozen guest
cabins spread out across a large jungle environment. The casino is set
aside for electronic gaming machines only.
Key Information Address: 3 Bridge Street, Thaba Nchu, South Africa Phone number: +27 51 875 1060 http://www.suninternational.com/naledi-sun/
Casino Gambling in South Africa: Our View
We had so much fun putting this together that we’re considering a group vacation to Johannesburg. If you’re
planning a trip to South Africa for casino gambling, you can trust the information in the above guide, since it’s
as up to date as we could get it and written by fellow bettors.
South Africa has a rich tradition to absorb, with an amazing history to boot. Yes, the country is saturated with
gaming options, and South Africans themselves love gambling, but the nation has a vibrant culture that isn’t
to be missed. Okay, so South Africa isn’t the first entry on most people’s list of places to travel to for gambling,
but it is something of a hotspot for gaming in a part of the world not known for such a thing.
It’s clear that state-regulated gaming has been good for the country. Revenue from casinos, lottery sales,
sportsbooks, and the other legal markets has supported the nation through a tumultuous recovery from
decades of oppression. As legislators consider relaxing the existing laws even further, South Africa is a leader
in the steady worldwide march toward progressive gaming regulations.
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