2010 FIFA World Cup™ fans urged to explore authentic South African experiences
Cape Town – THE spotlight is firmly on South Africa as we prepare to host the prestigious 2010 FIFA World Cup™ and get set to welcome approximately 450,000 visitors. The experience for football fans is not just about supporting their teams but more about taking home a host of stories and memories of a distinct and mesmerizing destination.
South Africa prides itself in its ability to offer a diversity of eclectic experiences that will have visitors curious to explore more. Cape Town is consistently voted as one of the greatest cities in the world, cosmopolitan Johannesburg is known for its high energy and city vibe to grounded Pretoria which holds most of the embassies. Coastal areas such as Durban and Port Elizabeth are incredibly laid back with warm, friendly people with whom to pass the time of day.
Johannesburg is a fast paced hive of activity – offering visitors many pavement café experiences with a fusion of food to appeal to every taste. For a village feel visit 4th Avenue Parkhurst in the heart of Johannesburg, where the street comes alive with buzzing restaurants and bars as the sun goes down. For a more African experience try Vilakazi Street in Soweto which offers the best of township style.
Florida Road in Durban is also a place to be seen with a great array of restaurants and clubs in a far more laid back environment than Johannesburg. Long Street on Cape Town is a great alternative to the more well know V&A Waterfront with its original hot spots.
If you have the time, we urge you to explore some of the destination’s smaller towns offering some genuine South African experiences that reflect our vibrant history. For example, try Swellendam in the Western Cape for great architecture, Clarens ‘the Jewel of the Free State’ is a haven for those with an interest in art. Check out Groot Marico in the North West for its famous ‘mampoer’ (a peach brandy) and Barberton in Mpumalanga for its colouful houses and characters.
Arts and crafts are abundant in South Africa demonstrating our depth of creativity through fine basket ware, beadwork, wire goods and wood carvings. Look out for Zulu beadwork, traditional Xhosa outfits, Venda pottery, Sotho blankets and Ndebele Fabrics – all inspired by strong African traditions. These are available at markets such as Greenmarket Square in Cape Town, Africa Art in Knysna (Western Cape), St Georges Park in Port Elizabeth to the Rosebank African Market in Johannesburg. When travelling through most larger and smaller towns in South Africa you’ll find all most of these arts and crafts available on pavements and road sides.
Of course one cannot leave South Africa without a visit to one of our many safari parks. The famous Kruger National Park will be familiar amongst many visitors as the ‘Jewel of South African National Parks’ home to the Big Five with an array birdlife, amphibians, butterflies and insects. Smaller parks worth visiting, depending on where visitors are based, include the Garden Route National Park, Mapungubwe in Limpopo for its spectacularly setting to iSimangaliso Wetland Park for pure paradise in St Lucia.
For those with an interest in theatre, the choice is abundant growing out of African traditions with European and American compliments. For an evening at the theatre, best to visit The Market Theatre in Johannesburg to the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town and The Playhouse in Durban.
South Africa is a melting pot of art, culture, diversity and history. This is complimented with our spectacular mountain ranges, our long coastlines and majestic wildlife making it the perfect place for those who have great love for the outdoors. Our city nightlife is consistently vibrant, our small towns eclectic, our people warm and hospitable. The 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa will be the greatest show on earth, both on and off the pitch.
Picture: Carstino Delmonte/ Touristikpresse.net