There are three main global events happening in 2010, two of them are in China (Shanghai Expo, and the Asia Games in Guangzhou), while the third is perhaps the world’s biggest stage show in itself, the FIFAFootball World Cup 2010 in South Africa. So it's game on then! Unlike most British people, I am not really a hardcore Football fan (well, maybe that’s because of my Indian roots- sadly a country with 1.3 billion people that cannot even produce 11 decent football players; anyways, I’ll leave that discussion for another day!). Nevertheless, it is the world cup after all and it’s the most watched event in the sports calendar, so I would be mad to miss it! I fondly remember staying up until 4am in my Beijing residence to Watch the 2006 World Cup; and oh yes, we still cannot forget that head butt by the great Frenchman Zinedine Zidane (Zidane was awarded the Golden Ball as the best player of the competition prior to the final game).
Hundreds of thousands of international fans will now be booking their trips to South Africa for the World Cup which begins on the 11th of June in the city of Johannesburg. The tournament is set to catch the attention of an anticipated 400 million television viewers globally. So as they say in Zulu Language: Ngiyanemukela! Here is a concise low down on a selection of sights visitors can expect when in South Africa.
World Cup 2010 Venues
Cape Town: The vast majority of users from the PR and Travel Company Holiday Check have put forward a strong recommendation to use the hop-on, hop-off red line bus service as a great way of getting around this bustling, modern city. Just like in London, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Dubai and other cities around the world, passengers are free to get on and off as they like in their own time. The ticket for the whole 2 hour tour costs 100 Rand (around £8.5 GBP) and includes discounts for a range of affiliated attractions. For those who have a bit more time on their hands, they can use the opportunity to wander out of town and head to the “Table Mountain” National Park.
Pretoria:Strangely many people think that Cape Town or Johannesburg is the capital city of this Rainbow Country, but no, in actual fact it is Pretoria. The official capital of South Africa has less to offer in terms of sights than Cape Town, hence why it’s not mentioned much on the international scene. But the matches that will be played in the city’s Loftus Versfeld Stadium will definitely put the capital city on everyones lips. Visitors will be amazed by the city’s Voortrekker or Pioneer's Monument- not as dull as it looks in the photos.
Port Elizabeth:Those on their way to see matches at the massive Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, may like to drop in for a coffee or pre-match drinks at the much celebrated Cafe Brazilia on Humewood Road. The café will sure be busy if Portugal or Brazilare playing at this venue! Port Elizabeth also has some great places to see. For those who want to get a taste of the country's natural treasures should also check out the Tsitsikamma National Park. The park is around 150 miles to the north of the city, however if one has a couple of days to spare then its well worth it. Plenty of photography opportunities’ await you!
Bloemfontein:The beauty of this part of the country is that you can go Safari pretty much close to the town centre. Naval Hill doesn't just offer much of a stunning perspective over the provincial capital; but it's a place where the local giraffes and antelopes are likely to hang around, and greet your cameras. Plus the occasional ostrich will come and say hi to you! For some reason this reminds me of TV chef Keith Floyd when around ten ostriches helped themselves to his freshly fried ostrich omelets.
Pietersburg: With the city renowned for being at the highest altitude, at around 4000 feet above sea level; it will prove quite a challenge for players and the crowds. Another city which is popular with a very beautiful and splendid park, the Polokwane Nature Reserve is a local attraction worth checking out for its wealth of local bird life.
Johannesburg: The city’s two stadiums will host the opening ceremony (12th May) and the closing ceremony (11th July); and with just under 100,000 spectators the new Soccer City Stadium is going to be packed. There's a fabulous water park to help you cool off; while there are other attractions as well for children and adults. For those looking to gain an insight into the country's formative past one it is highly recommended that one takes a guided tour through the neighboring township of Soweto. Visitors will come across various pieces of evidence and 'the resistance movement that was eventually to overcome apartheid had its roots in Soweto'. Overall, South Africa has so much to offer in addition to playing host to next year's championships. Many people who come to this beautiful and modern country actually find it hard to realize that they are in Africa. Yes, the affluent areas lie alongside the deprived areas, but you have that in most countries around the world. South Africa is a fast growing economy and a great place for tourists to come and enjoy the beauty and lifestyle!
Like I said at the beginning of this article that I am not a die hard football fan, however since it’s the world cup, you bet your bottom dollar I’ll be on the next flight to Johannesburg to support England any day! :-)
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