Looking for a cool, calm and quiet electric adventure? Look no further than Sun City Segway Tours.
The Segway is an engineering triumph. Just look at it — it should be able to stand upright by itself, let alone transport a person.
But, somehow, it works. And it works thanks to the tenacity of Dean Kamen, who introduced the Segway to the world back in the early 2000s. It received a lot of attention all over the globe, mostly due to the fact that it found favour with highly influential early adopters like Steve Jobs.
It took a while for these things to reach sunny South Africa, but once they did, they took the country by storm. Any city, small town or tourist attraction worth its salt has a Segway tour of some sort and our favourite can be found at Sun City.
The idea of controlling a Segway may seem daunting, but it’s fairly easy to understand once you get the basic principle. A Segway uses gyroscopic sensors to detect the rider shifting their weight forwards and backwards and it then moves in that direction. It feels odd at first, almost as if you’re going to fall flat on your face, but give it five minutes and you’ll have enough confidence to lean on it all the way to its top speed of around 20km/h.
To steer it, you simply shift the handlebars to either side. When it’s stationary, it will simply turn around in circles in one spot. At speed, it turns smoothly, while the Segway’s various gyroscopes help the driver maintain balance.
Getting to know the machine is half the fun of a Segway tour. On most other tours, the scenery is the main attraction, but with a Segway tour it’s a combination of experiencing a new means of transport, coupled with exhilarating things to look at once you reach expert level.
The first Segway model was called the PT, which stood for personal transport. Its uses were fairly limited, but these days there are a multitude of models available for various activities. It all depends on whether you simply want to glide along and enjoy the machine and the scenery, or whether you’re in the market for something a bit dirtier…
Sun City offers three tours, each offering a unique riding experience.
The Golf Course Glide is a relaxing introduction to the world of Segway riding. The guides offer a quick riding lesson, after which they’ll take you on a guided tour of the famous Gary Player Golf Course on an i2 model. This particular Segway is the Ford Figo of gyroscopic travel, which means it’s fairly easy to understand, even easier to control and not intimidating in the least.
The golf course on which the tour takes place is well-known for its beautiful gardens, stunning fairways and picturesque lakes. It’s a quick 45-minute tour that takes place five times a day (8am, 10am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm) and sets you up nicely for the more advanced tours. The cost is R190 per person and no children under 10 are allowed.
The Lake Glide is 15 minutes longer and is basically an extension of the Golf Course Glide. The additional sights include the animal world, birds of prey centre and Sun City Lake. The same model is used for this glide and the same times and rules apply. The price is R240 per person.
More advanced riders will enjoy the Multi-Terrain Adventure Glide, which makes use of the Segway x2. This model is the Jeep Wrangler of gyroscopic travel and it has added ground clearance and rugged all-terrain tyres.
The tour makes good use of the x2’s enhanced capabilities, as it takes you along the Pilanesberg National Park’s fence, which is neatly situated right next door to Sun City. You’ll also glide around Sun City’s grounds and make a quick stop at the croc pit.
This extended tour takes around two hours and the price of R365 per person includes refreshments. It takes place three times a day at 9am, 12pm and 3pm. No children under under 13 are allowed.
Plan your adventure
Prices and timeframes depend on the various Segway tour options on offer, but there’s something for everyone.
It’s also worth making an entire weekend of it, because Sun City has a stunning array of activities on offer, including a maze that leads to one of the best beer gardens in South Africa.
For more information, visit www.suninternational.com
Sun City Segway Tours:
Location: Sun City Resort, just below the Cascades Hotel swimming pool
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 014 557 4052
Words: Gerhard Horn Images: Supplied