Head north on Nelson Mandela Way from Mahikeng – but make sure you stop before the border with Botswana. There you'll find the Mmabatho Palms Casino. Unless you're on the lookout for it, you could very easily miss it because of all the leafy, verdant trees that line the property. And, if you're a gambler, that really would be quite a tragedy.
With just over 150 slots and 8 gaming tables, Mmabatho Palms is on about the same scale as the Khoroni Casino i.e. it's not huge, certainly not on the same scale as some of South Africa's megacasinos, but there's still plenty of real money gambling action to be had here.
As soon as you step onto the gaudy carpet (hey, we have to be honest!) of the bright and colourful casino, you'll understand why this venue has been around for so long: it boasts all of the excitement and thrills of playing in a larger casino but has a friendly, laidback atmosphere that makes playing here a whole lot of fun.
Table games include Blackjack, American Roulette and Poker. In other words, the three staples of most South African land-based casinos. We'd always like to see more variety when it comes to table games, as they're some of the most fun you can have on the casino floor, but we're certainly not going to hold it against a smaller venue like this one.
Slots include video poker and some of the latest video slots titles and accept a variety of denominations, so even the pickiest slots fanatics should be able to find a game that suits their taste. All in all, it's very difficult to fault the Mmabatho Palms Casino – despite its relatively small size, they manage to provide something for everyone.
Mmabatho Palms has just the one restaurant – the Motswedi Terrace. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in surroundings that are truly African. If you're only in the mood for a light snack or a drink, you can visit the adjoining Motswedi Lounge between 8am and midnight.
It's becoming more common for casinos to offer 3 or 4 restaurants within their grounds to give patrons more choice – plus there's the self-serving aspect that it keeps them on the complex and gambling more – but you won't find that here. Even so, the Motswedi Terrace and Lounge probably provide enough variety that you won't feel the need to face the inevitable drive to find somewhere else to eat.
With a luxurious African-inspired interior, the 4-star Peermont Walmont definitely knows how to treat its customers. As well as a bar and lounge, hearty breakfast, spa and fitness centre (complete with swimming pool), guests also have access to the fantastic 18 hole championship Leopard Park golf course.
There are a few guest houses and so on in Mahikeng but none of them are particularly close to the Mmabatho Palms Casino and, with affordable prices at the on-site hotel, it's hard to think of a reason why you would want to stay anywhere else.
Every room comes with air con, satellite TV, a mini-bar and various other amenities that mean, while spending time in your room may not be quite as exciting as hitting the tables, visitors can certainly kick back and unwind after a long day.
During the day, there's no shortage of attractions nearby that might just be able to pull you away from the casino. There are three game reserves nearby – Bostsolano, Lotlamoreng and Makikeng – for nature lovers, and bird lovers in particular will enjoy spending some time in the bird sanctuary at Cooke's Lake and Ponds.
The Modimola Dam is a popular angling spot if you're planning to bring your fishing rod, or you could take in a little history with the Monument to the Boer ambush of the British, Monument of Democracy and Peace, the South African War Monument, the Old Fingo Village and all sorts of other sights within comfortable driving distance.
If it's nightlife you're after, however, you might be disappointed by the Mmabatho Palms Casino. As we mentioned above, there's a bar that stays open until midnight but that's pretty much your only option. If you're looking to stay up past then, we recommend settling down with a good slot machine since these are open 24 hours a day.
The Mmabatho Convention Centre is just a short walk away, in case you're on the lookout for a conference destination. If you do visit for work, we hope your meetings wrap up in time for you to catch some live music or comedy at the Mmabatho Palms!
The resort has two tennis courts, two swimming pools and an 18 hole mini golf course that make for a fantastic break from gambling if you're starting to seize up from sitting at the slots or blackjack table for too long!
Land Casino Review by: Casino.co.za