Things to Do in the Nine South African World Cup Cities

As the host country of the 2010 World Cup, thousands of people are going to experience South Africa for the first time. If you’re making the journey, why not plan an entire vacation out of it? Each of the nine host cities has plenty to offer besides the World Cup festivities. Below, three of each city’s top attractions are highlighted for your convenience.

Bloemfuntein

As the judicial capital of South Africa - and the capital of the Free State province - Bloemfuntein is well known and popular with tourists. Three of its top attractions are:

  • The National Botanical Garden

    Take in some of Mother Nature’s finest plants and flowers at this topnotch botanical garden.

  • Naval Hill and Franklin Game Reserve

    Check out giraffes and other wildlife for free at this park that overlooks the city center.

  • Waterfront Mall

    Engage in a little retail therapy at this popular and ever-expanding mall.

Cape Town

Cape Town is the legislative capital of South Africa, its second-largest city and the southernmost city in Africa. Check out these three top attractions while there:

  • Table Mountain

    This massive mountain creates a dramatic backdrop for this eclectic city; ride a cable car to the top for phenomenal sights.

  • Robben Island

    Learn more about South Africa’s apartheid past by visiting this island where several political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, were held.

  • Victoria and Alfred Waterfront

    This large shopping and entertainment center will keep you busy for hours on end.

Durban

The busy port of Durban is South Africa’s third largest city; Moses Mabida Stadium will host events during the 2010 World Cup. Try to include these three spots during your visit:

  • The Golden Mile

    This long stretch of beaches along the Indian Ocean is a prime place to spend time while in Durban.

  • uShaka Marine World

    The entire family will love this first-rate aquarium.

  • City Hall

    The art gallery in Durban’s City Hall is well worth a visit.

Johannesburg

Often referred to as Jo’burg, Johannesburg is South Africa’s largest city. Key highlights include:

  • The Apartheid Museum

    Learn more about South Africa’s dark history of apartheid in this world class museum.

  • Top of Africa

    Take in the views from the top of Africa’s tallest building, Carlton Centre.

  • Lion Park

    At Lion Park, you’ll not only get to see lions roaming around freely - you’ll have the opportunity to pet lion cubs, too!

Nelspruit

Nelspruit is located in northeast South Africa and is the capital of the Mpumalanga province. Three top choices to enjoy during your visit include:

  • Riverside Mall

    If shopping is your thing, you can’t do much better than Nelspruit’s popular Riverside Mall.

  • Chimpanzee Eden

    Surround yourself with friendly chimps at this fun, educational attraction.

  • Emnotweni Casino

    Engage in some adults-only fun by trying your luck at the world-class Emnotweni Casino.

Port Elizabeth

Located on South Africa’s Indian Ocean coast, Port Elizabeth is its fifth-largest city. Key attractions include:

  • Donkin Reserve

    A 19th century lighthouse is the main attraction at this well-maintained reserve.

  • Beaches

    Take your pick from four prime beaches - Humewood, Hobie, Wells State and Kings - when in Port Elizabeth.

  • Bayworld

    This popular attraction is an oceanarium, museum and snake pit all rolled into one.

Polokwane

This northern South Africa city isn’t known for its tourist attractions, but you can still find worthwhile things to do there, including:

  • Polokwane Game Reserve

    Take in some South African flora and fauna by exploring the Polokwane Game Reserve.

  • Meropa Casino

    Hit the slots or try your hand at card games at Polokwane’s popular casino.

  • Polokwane Bird and Reptile Park

    View some fascinating examples of local birds and reptiles at this conveniently located attraction.

Pretoria

Pretoria is located in northern South Africa and is its administrative capital. Top attractions include:

  • National Zoological Gardens

    Also known simply as the zoo, this topnotch park boasts a vast array of reptiles, along with many large mammals.

  • National Cultural History Museum

    Learn more about South Africa’s intriguing history at this fascinating museum.

  • Groenklouf Nature Reserve

    A stop at Groenklouf Nature Reserve - the oldest in the world - is well worth it; antelopes and giraffes abound at this lovely place.

Rustenburg

Despite being a host city during the 2010 World Cup, Rustenburg is a little off the beaten path for most visitors to South Africa. Attractions revolve around nature, and include:

  • Magaliesberg Canopy Tour

    Take in majestic views from the canopies of towering trees at this thrilling attraction.

  • Kgaswane Mountain Reserve

    Strap on your hiking boots and hit the trails at this pristine and scenic reserve.

  • Rustenburg Nature Reserve

    Experience a slice of South Africa wildlife at this centrally located nature reserve.

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