Useful questions and answers about the 2010 Fifa World Cup
Thursday 10, June 2010
Whether you plan to be watching the games in a stadium or fan park on the southern tip of Africa, or on the screen back home, here are the answers to 25 frequent questions about the 2010 Fifa World Cup, and the host country.
Has South Africa hosted big events before?
South Africa regularly hosts major international sporting events, and since 1994 has successfully managed some of the biggest – including the 1995 Rugby World Cup, 2003 Cricket World Cup, A1 Grand Prix (2006-), 2009 Indian Premier League, and 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup.
But the Fifa World Cup, the world's biggest single-code sporting event – in terms of television audience, bigger than the Olympic Games – is in a class of its own.
For four weeks starting 11 June 2010, South Africa will be the centre of the world. The 2006 World Cup in Germany was the most extensively viewed event in television history. South Africa 2010 will draw even bigger audiences. The eyes of billions of television viewers, millions of international visitors and the cream of the world's sporting media will be focused on the southern tip of Africa.
Who are Bafana Bafana?
Our national football team is known as Bafana Bafana – "the boys, the boys" in isiZulu. The nickname comes from the fans' cry that went up during the team's triumph at the 1996 African Nations Cup (also hosted in South Africa). Since the end of apartheid and South Africa's sporting isolation, Bafana Bafana have twice qualified – in 1998 and 2002 – for the Fifa World Cup.
What's the match schedule?
Download the 2010 Fifa World Cup Match Schedule (PDF, 2.3 MB)
Are tickets available?
Yes – but they're running out fast! More than 90% of the more than three-million tickets made available for the 64 matches of the 2010 Fifa World Cup have been sold. Hosts South Africa lead the sales with more than 1.1-million tickets purchased, followed by the US, UK and Australia.
Should I come even if I can't get tickets?
Of course! The 2010 tournament is guaranteed to be, as South Africans say, a jol (a party). As in Germany in 2006, public viewing areas with giant screens will be set up. And you can always watch the tournament and get to know the locals at our numerous pubs, restaurants and sports bars.
What time zone is South Africa in?
South African Standard Time is two hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+2). During June and July – when the tournament will take place – South African time is the same as that in continental Europe, and an hour ahead of the UK. So matches that kick off at 9pm here will be comfortable viewing for Europeans, while US viewers will be taking a lot of early lunches – and Socceroo supporters will be starting their day at five in the morning!
What will the weather be like?
The World Cup will take place in the southern hemisphere winter – but it's warm here in Africa. Johannesburg will be dry, with sunny days and fairly chilly nights. Rustenburg, Pretoria and Nelspruit will be warmer, but Bloemfontein will be very cold. Polokwane in the north will be dry and hot, warmer than most European summers. Durban will be pleasant and warm, with some humidity – and the deliciously balmy Indian Ocean to swim in. And while Cape Town is magnificent in good weather – and it can have good weather in winter – in June the city is generally cold, wet and windy, and its ocean icy cold.
Find out more on SouthAfrica.info:
How do I get around?
The host cities are all linked by air and train routes, and South Africa has a number of first-rate tour bus companies. The country's road infrastructure is excellent, so it's also a viable option to rent a car.
When it comes to travel within the cities, while South African public transport is not up to the standard of New York or London, there are options. The most popular form of public transport is the minibus taxi. Most host cities have Metro train and bus systems, and there are numerous meter cab companies. Otherwise, you can rent a car or use your hotel's courtesy transport.
Find out more on SouthAfrica.info:
What if I fall ill?
"On the whole, the health system has excellent facilities and perhaps one of the best private health systems in the world, drawing on modern technology and highly qualified specialists and medical staff," the Fifa inspection team said in its report. "We have to add that there are fully equipped infirmaries with adequate first-aid facilities to meet every need in the stadiums proposed for the 2010 Fifa World Cup."
Find out more on SouthAfrica.info:
What are the people like?
South Africa is a nation of over 49-million people of diverse origins, cultures, languages and beliefs. Visitors to the country always remark on how warm, friendly and welcoming South Africans are. We've had a difficult past, so we don't waste time being difficult people! And we're expert at having fun.
"We can say that the people of South Africa were always friendly, very boisterous and constantly celebrating during our visit to the country," Fifa's inspection team said in their country report. "[They] would stop and show their joy and support of the country's commitment whenever our group passed by."
What languages do South Africans speak?
South Africa has 11 official languages, including English. Nine are indigenous African languages, and one - Afrikaans - semi-indigenous, derived from Dutch but with strong influences from local languages. English tends to be the lngua franca, and is widely understood and spoken in the major urban centres.
Are there lions in the streets?
Er, no. But if you want to see wild animals, you won't have to go far to do so. An hour's drive from such urban jungles as Pretoria and Johannesburg you can see lions, elephants, buffalo and hundreds more species in their natural environments. There are wildlife lodges and game parks – including the huge and magnificent Kruger National Park – across the country.
What's the beer like?
Cold and delicious! South Africans generally drink bottled beer, although most pubs offer a range of draughts. The major producer is South African Breweries, now a huge multinational doing business across the world. Lager is probably the favourite, followed by pilsener. In and around the stadiums, you'll only be able to drink Budweiser – an official Fifa sponsor.
And the food?
Yummy, exotic and varied. South Africa's people have diverse origins, cultures, languages and beliefs, and their food is a correspondingly rich smorgasbord. For the more daring, we offer culinary challenges from crocodile sirloins to fried caterpillars to sheep heads – delicious! For the less brave, there are indigenous delicacies such as biltong (dried, salted meat), bobotie (a much-improved version of shepherd's pie) and boerewors (hand-made farm sausages, grilled on an open flame).
In the space of a single city street or shopping mall you'll find Italian restaurants, two or three varieties of Chinese cookery and Japanese, Moroccan, French, Portuguese and Indian food. Not far away will be Congolese restaurants, Greek, even Brazilian and Korean establishments – and, everywhere, fusion, displaying the fantasies of creative chefs.
And the nightlife?
Pubs, wine bars, township taverns known as shebeens, nightclubs, a variety of restaurants, mainstream theatre, avant-garde theatre, dinner theatre, movies ... there's no shortage of places to celebrate or cry into your beer after the match.
More and more travellers think that researching and planning a European city break is half the fun and they're not interested in pre-arranged trips or escorted tours. Self-guided tours offer a lot of advantages but require some guidance and good resources.
With the recent wild fires, disrupting flights and increasing air pollution, environmental quality is a growing factor in attracting tourists.
The hotel price comparison site www.trivago.co.uk has put together a list of the fifteen most spectacular hotel rooftop terraces in the world.