Here's the report.
Grand West Casino
A short journey from the free beer bar is the Grand West Casino which is home to a small amusement park called Magic Castle and a single roller coaster. To get to it we did the following.
Board the first available bus for Goodwood. If it looks like a squeeze getting in get into the one behind.
At the first stop jump out and lose your wallet. Think to yourself that one of the people in the van must have stolen it but don't accuse them out loud. Find the wallet in your backpocket and blame your fat arse out loud.
The second day in Cape Town was spent during touristy stuff and that began with a trip to Table Mountain. The over friendly taxi driver who was clearly looking to be an all day guide ("my brother has a winery"...) took us to the cable car and from there we rode to the top.
I've heard that you're very lucky if you make it to the top of the mountain and have a clear view to the city. Usually clouds get in the way.
From the mountain we grabbed a quick lunch and then caught the city's red tour bus. One of those red double deckers that can be found in most large cities and that gives a whistle stop tour of the city, perfect for our intensive trip. We rode the bus for the majority of the route. Martin got out near when we got close to the hotel. I remained on to complete the lap.
We didn't explore JoBurg, we just didn't feel like it. It had a feel of being a hub city where people only come to the city to go somewhere else. We did have plans to visit a small funfair in Pretoria but a call on the day revealed there were no roller coasters this year so we were less inclined to go and visit it.
Gold Reef City
For a window of no more than twenty minutes the ride did eventually open and we were allowed on to ride. As we boarded the front row (fate more than planning) the rain started to come once more but fortunately we were allowed our go and the train did leave the station.
The ride itself was really good. I'm not sure if that was due to a longer and therefore heavier train but the ride seemed more powerful than most inverted. The helix element particularly forceful, even in the front. A shame that we couldn't get a ride in the back.
Can't say much of the entertainment in it though.
Gold Reef City is a beautiful park with some very above average and unique rides. Sure Tower of Terror is a bit of a headbanger but its the only ride like it, and unique rides are worth experiencing even if it is just once. The only niggle was their policy towards the rain, choosing not to run a ride in weather that we in the UK are more akin too. But park rules are there to be abided and whilst we couldn't see the logic in leaving rides closed because it stopped raining 15 minutes ago, we remained patient and did end up getting all the rides we wanted but if you're easily wound up by seeing parks do this you may want to bear this in mind if you ever intend visiting.
From the casino we were able to order a taxi to take us to the next location.
The casino itself looked quite nice, but the patrons were a little unruly. We got in the face of a queue jumping and obnoxious chinese man who was being rude to the staff and us because he wasn't being served quickly enough. This came to a head and an attempt to push him away led to accusations of having punched him and he went running to security. We had a quick chat with them and agreed that the best course of action was that we left the casino, and as we were on our way out we didn't have an issue with that.
Have you ever tried leaving a casino? We passed crazy chinese man 20 minutes later trying to find the exit.
So whilst the trip was a bit mental for the distance we were covering it actually turned out very worthwhile with us getting all the rides that were running. More importantly it became a revelation that travelling south over the Christmas holidays was an absolutely excellent idea and we're already planning trips for the same time of year in the next few years. I highly recommend doing this if people get down with the weather back home. Whilst I'm not a fan of the sun it certainly lifted my mood being out in it. Both of the big parks are must dos if you're planning on visiting South Africa with very good rides in both parks and unique rides in Gold Reef City.
Postscript: The one that got away!
Just prior to the trip I discovered a travelling showman who has a Schwarzkopf Silver Arrow coaster in his ride list. It was rumoured to be in Port Elizabeth whilst we were visiting and we had hoped to squeeze this into our already tight itinerary. As it happened we received contact from the owner the day before I flew out telling us that it only appears in August at a fair in another city so we dropped our last minute plans and now have a good reason to go back to South Africa to track this rare ride.