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New African Resort Has Cards and Crocodiles

August 30, 1992|KIM UPTON

A luxury resort created to simulate a mythic lost African civilization, complete with a 64-acre man-made jungle, a championship golf course and a pool full of crocodiles, will open Nov. 16 in Sun City, Bophuthatswana, the nominally independent South African "homeland" that is fast becoming the Las Vegas of South Africa. The resort, called The Lost City, will contain the 350-room Palace Hotel, 13 major man-made waterfalls and mountain rivers, five specially built wetland areas, a pool with six-foot waves for surfing (containing no crocodiles) and simulated ancient ruins, mines and numerous smoking volcanoes . . . not to mention a casino, according to Edward Lewis, president of Rock & Waterscape Systems Inc., the Orange County firm that designed all the rock work and special water features. Rooms at the Palace Hotel will range in price from about $225 per night for a standard twin to $400-$3,700 for suites. Developed by Johannesburg-based Sun International, the resort joins other casinos and hotels already operating in Sun City, which is located within the boundaries of South Africa.

Travel Quiz: Which international airport levies the highest departure tax on travelers departing on foreign flights?

Avoid Nonessential Travel to Jordan: As a result of increased tension in the Persian Gulf region, due to what it terms "Iraq's growing pattern of defiance of U.N. Security Council Resolutions," the U.S. State Deptartment has issued a travel warning--the most serious level of advisory--recommending that U.S. citizens avoid nonessential travel to Jordan due to increased risk of possible terrorist acts directed against the U.S. government and citizens. It is also directing U.S. citizens who do travel there to register with the U.S. Embassy in Amman (local telephone: 644-371) to receive detailed information.

Arkansas Gets Attention: Arkansas tourism officials report that they have been inundated with calls for information about Bill Clinton's birthplace in Hope and his boyhood home in Hot Springs, where the Clinton family moved in 1953. Usually thought of as a spa mecca for travelers from the Midwest and South, the city of Hot Springs has developed a tour that features such notable spots as Clinton's schools and the gas station where, as a teen-ager, he filled up his car. Phone queries for information about places to see in Arkansas, which are up 13% to date over last year, were especially prevalent the week after Clinton's Democratic Convention acceptance speech, in which he invited everyone to "come on down" to Arkansas, according to a tourism official.

Free for the Price of One: Transpacific passengers flying Cathay Pacific round trip between Los Angeles and Hong Kong in the airline's Marco Polo business class between Sept. 15 and Dec. 12 will earn a free round-trip Virgin Atlantic "upper class" ticket to London from Los Angeles, New York, Newark, N.J., or Boston. Conversely, transatlantic passengers flying Virgin Atlantic round trip in upper class from Los Angeles and London between Sept. 15 and Dec. 15 will earn a free round-trip Cathay Pacific Marco Polo business-class ticket to Hong Kong from Los Angeles. Free tickets on the jointly sponsored promotion are valid for travel from Dec. 26, 1992, through Dec. 31, 1993, subject to certain blackout days, capacity controls and a variety of restrictions. Free tickets must be requested by March 31, 1993. Passengers must be U.S. residents and purchase full-fare adult tickets in the United States.

Quick Fact: Olson Travelworld, the U.S. sales agent for tickets to the Olympic Games in Barcelona, reported that it sold 142,000 tickets to American sports events--considerably more than its original allotment of 125,000.

Investments for Safety: Japanese business travelers, increasingly afraid of attack while overseas, are rushing to buy bullet-proof vests, the most popular of which costs about $1,100. The trend has been fueled by government statistics reporting that 17 Japanese businessmen and tourists were killed overseas in the 12-month period ending in March, 1991, including four in the United States, four in Latin America and six in Asia, according to the Foreign Ministry. Yet there is good news from the bad. One enterprising vendor, Nippon Dharma Corp. in Tokyo, has a new service for the traveler on a tight budget: His company is renting bullet-proof vests for just $15 a day.

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