Plan Your Trip to South Africa

South Africa is a stunning and eclectic country. Given its beauty and diversity, it’s not surprising that it’s been chosen to be the first African country to host the World Cup. In 2010, thousands of people from around the world will flock to this country on the southernmost tip of the African continent to watch soccer matches in nine different host cities. If you’d like to be one of them, there are some practical things that you need to keep in mind; find out more below.

Getting In

There are ten airports in South Africa; if you’re arriving on an international flight, though, you’re probably going to fly into one of three: OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, Cape Town International Airport in Cape Town or Durban International Airport in Durban. Where you’ll fly in is going to depend on which matches matter the most to you.

For most travelers, flying into Cape Town International Airport isn’t going to make a whole lot of sense. Cape Town is the most far-flung of all of the host cities for the 2010 World Cup. To give you an idea, driving from Cape Town to Johannesburg - where many matches are taking place - takes approximately fourteen hours. Of course, there are domestic flights between Cape Town and Johannesburg, so that is always an option.

If you’d like to limit your air travel to two flights - one into South Africa, and one out - then it’s best to fly into OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Johannesburg is located near several of the other 2010 World Cup host cities; if you’d like to hit as many matches as possible, this is the most logical way to do so.

Finally, you always have the option of flying into Johannesburg, viewing several matches there and in the surrounding host cities, then driving down to Cape Town and flying home from there. Along the way, you could stop by Bloemfuntein, Port Elizabeth and Durban, which are all playing host as well.

Driving in South Africa

South Africa does not have a very extensive or efficient public transportation system. The easiest and most convenient way to travel between cities in this country is by renting a car. As mentioned previously, though, many of the 2010 World Cup host cities are very far flung from one another; make sure you look at where matches are taking place - and the practicality of arriving there on time - before investing in tickets.

Fortunately, roads in South Africa are generally in great condition. Driving is on the left in this country, which will take some getting used to for Americans and others who are used to driving on the right. Accidents are extremely common in South Africa, though, so it is imperative to exercise extreme caution whenever you are on the road there.

Weather

The 2010 World Cup games will take place from June 11, 2010 to July 11, 2010. This is at the height of winter in South Africa - but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to worry about packing sunscreen. In fact, most matches will take place outside; be sure to protect your skin with sunscreen prior to heading out for the day. Otherwise, you’ll be bringing a bright red sunburn home as a souvenir.

Although you need to exercise caution concerning sunburns wherever you go in South Africa, you should be especially careful if you’ll be in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Rusenburg, Neispruit or Polokwane. Average temperatures in South Africa in June fall around 73 degrees Fahrenheit; in July, the average temperature is about 75 degrees. Temperatures can drop considerably overnight. Bring along the right clothes so that you’re not too hot or too cold.

Logistics

Booking the right flights and hotels - and finding the best rental cars - is imperative if you want to enjoy your South African 2010 World Cup vacation. Like most people, you’re probably interested in following one team in particular; keep in mind that one team might play matches in several different South African cities. The first thing you should do when planning a trip to South Africa for the World Cup is figure out when - and where - the matches you want to see are being held.

Some teams are only playing matches in a single city; others are appearing at several. The United States is playing matches at three locations: Johannesburg, Rostenburg and Pretoria. If you’d like to hit all three, be sure to plan carefully.

A trip to South Africa is bound to be unlike any other you’ve ever taken. Beyond the World Cup festivities, be sure to experience as much of this country’s cultural, natural and historical attractions as possible. Whether you visit a single city, or several, your South African sojourn is sure to be unforgettable.

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