It was dusk when we arrived and the little one’s were buzzing with excitement. Santa was definitely coming to town and his first stop was surely going to be the Garden of Lights at Emperors Palace. Situated in the pristine gardens outside the D’Oreale Hotel, the event is in its third year and really is a spectacle for young and old.
The evening started with a Christmas fairy story that had the kids enraptured from beginning to end. Everything was timed perfectly and just as the sun had set, the story ended and the anticipation heightened. In the distance, drum rolls erupted as a full marching band, led by a group of bagpipes players appeared from the back of the garden. The procession was magical and even I had goosebumps as the drummers passed by. Every fairy, elf, musician or marcher was festooned in bright little lights and dressed up in full Christmas regalia. The kids were mesmerised and I could visibly see gasps as the procession lined up in front of them.
After the team from the North Pole had arrived in the main garden, we had a short countdown and then…3…2…1… the dark garden lit up like a giant, Christmassy pinball machine.
The atmosphere was electrifying – literally. It was a treat in itself to see so many children – and their adults – so excited. It was exactly like the Christmas wonderland I’d often dreamt of as a child but never experienced – until now.
What makes the Garden of Lights even more special, is knowing that you’ve done your bit for charity as all proceeds of the R25 entrance fee goes to the Peermont Trust to help families in need. You’ll need to book a time slot from 19:00 to 22:00 which is scheduled at 30-minute intervals.
Plus, once you’ve walked through the Garden of Lights and absorbed all its splendour, you can take the kids on a short 20 meter walk to the “Fun Rides” section that will keep even the most jaded junior thrill-seeker happy. It’s the perfect night out for Christmas-lovers.
In short, Emperors delivers the thrill of Christmas in a spectacular fashion and brings us a must-do festive family experience. It is equally suitable for those who are looking to do something delightfully different for a December date or anyone who just wants to feel like a kid again.
By Veronica Botes