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World Cup heaven or hell?

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Simon Austin | 13:00 UK time, Monday, 30 November 2009

Kevin Miles is getting ready for his fourth World Cup as the representative of England's travelling fans and it looks likely to be his most challenging yet.

The 2006 tournament was relatively stress-free for the 48-year-old Geordie. The short haul meant thousands of supporters were able to make last-minute trips to Germany and they discovered excellent transport, plentiful accommodation and sympathetic policing when they arrived.

More than 150,000 England fans travelled out in total, dwarfing the support of just about every other nation, and things went so well that they were named fans of the tournament by Fifa.

Only the foolhardy will travel to South Africa "on spec" next summer though. In fact the Football Supporters' Federation is urging fans to book their trips as soon as the World Cup draw has been made in Cape Town on Friday and there is a special Foreign Office website to help them with their planning.

Although Miles, the international co-ordinator of the FSF, believes this can be a World Cup to remember for England fans, he still has three nagging worries about the tournament.

Number one is accommodation.

Although 25 new hotels have been built especially for the tournament and Fifa has contracted non-graded rooms for the first time - including University halls of residence in Pretoria, cruise liners in Port Elizabeth and safari park lodges near Polokwane - there are fears of a shortage of rooms for the 500,000 fans expected to arrive from around the world in South Africa next summer.

Fifa has even gone so far as to include Mauritius, which is a four-hour flight from South Africa, in its acommodation programme and will place some of its sponsors there.

Furthermore, the rooms which are available are likely to be expensive. Fans' first port of call when booking a room is likely to be Match, the Zurich-based company that Fifa has contracted to organise accommodation and ticketing for the 2010 World Cup.

The company has hired 80% of the graded rooms in South Africa and 13% of the non-graded ones for the duration of the tournament.

capetownstadiumgetty595.jpgThe new Cape Town stadium with Table Mountain in the background

Match has based its prices on "rack rates" - the price you would pay if you turned up and asked for a room for the night - already given to them by these hotels and guesthouses.

Fifa argues this is the best way of preventing prices being inflated close the World Cup, yet there is no proof that the rates supplied were accurate.

Fans might also be interested to know that Match will take a hefty 30% commission for each booking it organises.

The alternative is for fans to try and book rooms direct from hotels or another broker yet the truth is that this is unlikely to be any cheaper.

There are even suggestions that hotel prices could go up by as much as 300% next summer, which is why Miles is imploring South African hotels to be reasonable.

"It would be short-sighted to regard the World Cup as a four-week opportunity to take advantage of foreign tourists," he told me.

"It's far better to create an impression that will encourage people to return to the country in years to come. That's what happened with Germany - there was a big hike in tourism after 2006."

Camping, which was so popular with fans at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, will be out of the question this time, as temperatures often drop below zero in places like Johannesburg during the South African winter.

Miles' second worry is about internal transport within the country. South Africa is five times bigger than England and the teams at the World Cup will have to travel vast distances to play their matches.

In Group G one of the teams faces having to play a game in Johannesburg, followed by one in Cape Town, which is a distance of 880 miles or the equivalent of London to Warsaw.

That would take 17 hours to drive, while Miles warns that "flights will be in short supply and expensive".

Getting to and from the stadiums at last summer's Confederations Cup also proved something of a problem.

Miles admits: "There were teething problems with the shuttle buses from the park and rides and fans won't be able to rely on taxis in the way they did in Germany."

His third concern is, predictably, crime, which has been a major topic of conversation ever since South Africa was awarded the World Cup in 2004.

Everyone knows the country has a crime problem. Violent business robberies climbed 41.5% from April 2008 to March 2009, house robberies were up 27.3%, while there were 15,000 recorded carjackings and 18,148 murders last year.

Jill Morris, a consular official for the Foreign Office, put the issue into some perspective when I spoke to her at the launch of the 2010 fans' website last Tuesday though.

"There were 450,000 British visitors to South Africa last year," she told me. "Of those, we had to give assistance in about 1,000 cases. The vast majority of these cases involved nothing more serious than lost passports, with only 139 involving a mixture of arrest, detention and victims of crime."

And World Cup ambassador Gary Mabbutt emphasised the vast resources that are being pumped into policing the tournament.

About 41,000 police have been trained specially for the World Cup, boosting total numbers to 183,000, and a further 120,000 reservists are available if needed.

The police arsenal includes 200 revamped armoured vehicles, 100 high-performance cars for road security, 40 helicopters, and mobile command vehicles.

Miles has already had a series of discussions with the South African police and is hopefuly that the tournament will be policed sensitively, despite recent talk in the country of a zero tolerance approach to troublemakers.

"The South African police have had some training from the German authorities and there is an awareness they will be on display to the world next summer," Miles says.

His advice to travelling fans is to use their common sense by travelling in groups, planning their routes carefully and taking advice from hotel staff about where is and is not safe to go.

A couple of other issues are also worth mentioning. It's crucial for fans to arrange medical insurance before they travel out to South Africa, or else they could be at risk of a bill of up to £25,000 if they fall ill or suffer an accident.

And the usual advice about avoiding unprotected sex is particularly pertinent in a country with the highest rate of HIV in the world, where just under 12% of the 48m population are believed to carry the disease, according to the 2007 UNAIDS report.

Perhaps the final word should go to Mabbutt though, the highly respected former Tottenham and England defender who has worked closely with the organisers of the 2010 World Cup for the last eight years.

He is eager for fans to focus on the positives about the 2010 World Cup. After all, this is an opportunity for them to sample a World Cup on African soil for the first time.

"Fans have the opportunity to combine the world's best football with some of its best sights and experiences next summer," he told me.

"This is an opportunity for South Africa to showcase itself as one of the most beautiful, vibrant and diverse countries in the world. The country is desperate to do that and vast sums have been pumped into new stadiums, infrastructure and security.

"As long as fans plan their trips in advance I am sure they will have a World Cup to remember."

* For up-to-the-minute updates, you can follow me on my Twitter feed

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  • 1. At 1:33pm on 30 Nov 2009, StewieJT wrote:

    I have to say that I'm seriously considering not going to SA, after planning to go since the last World Cup. I'll be travelling on my own, and I think that the whole trip could be no end of hassle and expense, plus bad weather!

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  • 2. At 1:34pm on 30 Nov 2009, guscott wrote:

    "The new Cape Town stadium as seen from the top of Table Mountain" - unlikely, as Table Mountain is in the background of the picture. This picture is taken from a helicopter I would think.

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  • 3. At 1:39pm on 30 Nov 2009, Craig Alliss wrote:

    The long and the short of it is this country is not safe.
    Don't get me wrong it is a wonderful place to visit with a completely unique culture.
    BUT when you are recommended a restaurant by your hotel that is across the street, but you shouldn't walk there (50 yards)as it will not be safe, is this really a country that should be staging such an international tournament.
    I hope I am wrong, but maybe this tournament has come 10 years too early for SA

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  • 4. At 1:41pm on 30 Nov 2009, bow4fowler wrote:

    Interesting blog, I am realy looking forward to the tornament.

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  • 5. At 1:42pm on 30 Nov 2009, LTFCWellingborough wrote:

    Got my flights booked now looking for accommodation which is a nightmare.
    Prices people are quoting are extortionate, but who can blame them the World Cup is on and the demand is there to make money.
    Lucky we know a few people living out in South Africa so we do have somewhere to stay if nothing comes.

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  • 6. At 1:47pm on 30 Nov 2009, nclben wrote:

    An intersting blog...intrigued to notice table mountain in the background of the stadium photo supposedly taken from the top of table mountain! Can I get a proof reading job?

    It is worth contacting the city tourist offices too, when I have travelled to SA before for rugby tours we have always found decent apartment accomodation via this route...however may well be radically different in a WC year

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  • 7. At 1:47pm on 30 Nov 2009, tomefccam wrote:

    anyone remember about 6 years back, a documentary following a white youth team player and a black youth team player for Ajax cape town i think it was.

    The white guy was travelling to training with his dad in their car, when they were car jacked with guns. Any resistence and they would have been killed. Now they were clued up to how it works, and to let the jackers take the car. I wonder how many tourists will fall short in terms of confronting the gang, as we may do in this country, and be left for dead. I worry. A lot of SA is lawless

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  • 8. At 1:49pm on 30 Nov 2009, ChocolateBoxKid wrote:

    Interesting blog. Having followed England to a couple of tournaments, it never crossed my mind to go to South Africa as before I even knew the detail, it did appear to involve a whole lot of hassle and expense.

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  • 9. At 1:53pm on 30 Nov 2009, wes wrote:

    I believe it will be a awesome event I think the most that could go wrong is the rowdy english fans, if you look at, SA has held many cricket and rugby World cups/ events without any security concerns SO I DONT SEE WHY IT WOULD BE ANY DIFFERENT!!!!

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  • 10. At 2:01pm on 30 Nov 2009, Dan Edwards wrote:

    Ok guys I'm going to jump in with both feet here because I feel I should. Firstly I was born in and spent the first 26 years of my life in and around Oxford, my parents and sister still live there however for the last 6 years have called Cape Town home and intend to for a good while yet! Yes we have crime here, don't be shocked when you see houses with electric fencing as its a fact of life, however ask me where I feel safer on a Friday or Saturday night or while doing my shopping or watching live sport its Cape Town over the UK each time. I have yet to have an occasion where I feel threatened here, however I was beaten up while waiting for a taxi one friday night in Oxford before I left, and mugged when I came back for a holiday two years ago, in broad daylight on a busy street for what its worth! I have expat friends who have had similar experiences while back on holiday to see family, so please take a good look in at the UK before judging SA.
    What you will find here though is a nation that is passionate about showing itself off to the world, you will feel a warm welcome, its always a shock to me that people in the UK rarely make eye contact when serving me or greeting me, eye contact and a smile is what this country is about. Yes infrastructure is not like Singapore or any major developed country, but it has come on leaps and bounds in the past few years and the government spend on the world cup has been huge, it is certainly a legacy that we will benefit from in the future.
    What I encourage all supporters to do is come and enjoy the magic of the country, buy a blow a Vuvusela because rather than singing about unfit refs as heard at Gooderson Park yesterday it is what we do down here so embrace it and enjoy it.
    Just remember in the past few years SA has successfully hosted the RWC, Cricket WC, Cricket 20/20 WC, the IPL, Confed Cup all without major incidents and crime waves so all can't be too bad down here.
    So I encourage you to come and experience this magical country for yourselves rather than listen to the merchants of doom who probably couldn't find most of the host cities on a map let alone a travel agent to actually bring them here to see the country for themselves!

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  • 11. At 2:02pm on 30 Nov 2009, shimshamshoe wrote:

    I'm sure it will be a tournament to remember!!
    On the crime: guaranteed some supporters will fall victim to crime - but almost certainly will be because they have not taken due care (ie: walking around with jewelry, cash, cameras etc on display!!). Do your research before leaving your accomodations, and trust your instincts - if you feel unsafe, or are in an isolated area - get out, or get help... probably the same advise you'd give to a (probably drunk) foreigner if they were lost after dark in a housing estate in South London.

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  • 12. At 2:02pm on 30 Nov 2009, Rob wrote:

    Definitely going to South Africa. The football aside there's just so much to do. Personally, I believe that forthcoming big sporting events in Brazil will be far more dangerous.

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  • 13. At 2:04pm on 30 Nov 2009, vidicisivandrago wrote:

    I think yes, there are obvious problems with the violence, but what about London? - holding the 2012 Olympics - but regarded by some as one of the most violent cities on the planet? The Rugby World Cup being staged in SA in 95 was a massive success, and why would a football world cup be any different.
    In terms of expense to fans - how cheap was it to travel to Japan and S Korea? And how about the African fans that want to travel to watch the games but had to get to Germany last time around? Its annoying for european fans but like i said, germany last time around??
    With a global recession and the danger of a lack of support for Africa and the worlds poorer countries - surely this world cup is exactly the kind of financial injection a region of Africa needs?
    I feel although England fans may well find it difficult it certainly is time for Africa to host a tournament like this.

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  • 14. At 2:04pm on 30 Nov 2009, Ian W - BBC Sport wrote:

    Re: Guscott post 2

    Good spot - I took the caption straight from the agency photo.

    I was never very good at geography at school as you can clearly see but I have corrected it now.

    Thanks

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  • 15. At 2:06pm on 30 Nov 2009, Jason wrote:

    I previously lived in Cape Town for 27 years. Neither I nor my family has ever experienced any form of violent crime during that time. Sure there are places in the city that can be rough at night. Back roads within the CBD, the townships and parts of the Sea Point Main Road can at time attract the wrong element. To say that it is a very dangerous place, or a place where tourists are expected to be attacked or robbed as soon as they venture outside their hotels, is bordering on the hysteria. Usual rules apply. Do not walk around with a camera with tele-phot lens at 3.00 am, and expect not receive glances from would-be opportunists. Its not the wild west - Cape Town for example has a mediterranean feel about, and the pavement bars etc have been compared with the South of France. There are also no marauding gangs on the back of 4x4 robbing people, as is usually synonymous with Hollywood Africa themed blockbusters like Hotel Rwanda or Blood Diamond. A bit of common sense goes a long way - the country WILL host the FWC, and it will be a success - people who are overly neurotic about the safety issue, probably weren't going to go anyway, and will invariably watch all the action from their market town in the middle of rural England, away from the scary cities. @Guscott - your're spot. I suppose it was a mistake that could easily be made?? Table Mountain (in the background of the photo) being the most prominent landmark in Cape Town.

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  • 16. At 2:10pm on 30 Nov 2009, Pompey_Addick wrote:

    Most of the comments re violence are vastly overstated and ignorant, and bordering on stupidity.
    I am a Londoner whose home is Cape Town but now back in London for work purposes. I feel safer walking the streets of Cape Town than I do London. Yes, there are places you dont go at night,but that is the same for any big City in the world.
    Anybody who goes to SA will be hugely welcomed by its people, and will have an enduring experience.
    The major problem, as born out by the article, is the cost of flights and accommodation. Airlines and hoteliers taking a cartel stance and ripping everyone off again.

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  • 17. At 2:11pm on 30 Nov 2009, Dan Edwards wrote:

    At 1:53pm on 30 Nov 2009, wes wrote:
    I believe it will be a awesome event I think the most that could go wrong is the rowdy english fans, if you look at, SA has held many cricket and rugby World cups/ events without any security concerns SO I DONT SEE WHY IT WOULD BE ANY DIFFERENT!!!!

    Wes You are so on the money, the locals actually are worried about another France 98 situation where town centers were smashed to pieces by drunk English fans. Just a word of warning though, behave if you come, the SA police don't mess around and SA prisons are not the kind of place where you want to spend the night.....you won't be sleeping thats for sure!

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  • 18. At 2:12pm on 30 Nov 2009, KT wrote:

    Without trying to sound like a killjoy, a few points to consider:

    1. What would an good article be without the traditional British whinge, too expensive, too much hassle and BAD WEATHER? huh? Because it can POTENTIALLY get to zero degrees in 1 city overnight! Did anyone ever think that deserts can get to zero degrees overnight - oh the weather must be awful in the desert!

    2. Demand and Supply determine prices fellas! Easy as. 300% increases. It is all relative I'm afraid. Folks will happily stay in posh London or New York hotels to go shopping with the missus or go watch a shopping, but don't want to pay lesser prices in SA for a World Cup. What's more, can almost guarantee those rooms will be better too

    3. Of course SA isn't going to have the # of rooms or public transport as Europe. The idea is having a different cultural sporting event in a great climate in a great country.

    4. DON"T go. It's easy and we all have choices. Go to Malaga or Lanzarote instead. Their you'll have your comforts you need. They'll even sell your daily newspaper you like and you can eat your fish and chips and your British curry too. Enjoy it.

    5. How can you take an article seriously, launching facts and figures about this and that, when the photo they show, states "as seen from Table Mountain". Table Mountain is clearly in the background. There's an old saying down here. "You Don't know your backside from your elbow" Could be relevant?

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  • 19. At 2:14pm on 30 Nov 2009, Larry Jones wrote:

    Most South African businessmen will not take the long view and try and encourage returning tourism by offering reasonable prices. They have already hiked prices for advanced bookings and will continue do the same to exploit travelling fans once over there. There is already 'apartheid' pricing for tourists (game reserves, car hire etc) - one price for locals, another for people with foreign currency. It will only get worse.

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  • 20. At 2:22pm on 30 Nov 2009, ChocolateBoxKid wrote:

    Have they got rid of that Alien spacecraft hovering over the city yet?

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  • 21. At 2:22pm on 30 Nov 2009, Dan Edwards wrote:

    At 2:14pm on 30 Nov 2009, Larry Jones wrote:
    Most South African businessmen will not take the long view and try and encourage returning tourism by offering reasonable prices. They have already hiked prices for advanced bookings and will continue do the same to exploit travelling fans once over there. There is already 'apartheid' pricing for tourists (game reserves, car hire etc) - one price for locals, another for people with foreign currency. It will only get worse.

    Larry I'm sorry but thats plain crazy, I can assure you a hotel room costs me just the same when I produce my SA ID number as it does for my parents when they produce their UK Passports, I also pay the same for a beer, a meal, a newspaper, a liter of petrol, and a Kg of apples for what its worth. Excuse me while I fall off my chair with laughter!!

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  • 22. At 2:25pm on 30 Nov 2009, eddie-george wrote:

    Just come back from SA after a two-week holiday to my country of birth... and this is how I see the preparations.

    The stadiums look fantastic, and the public enthusiasm for the tournament is hard to put into words. This has the potential to be a wonderful occasion.

    In response to some of the points on this blog post:

    1. Crime. It is a problem still, regretably, but here's some tips for visitors. Make sure you learn something about the cities you will be visiting. There are no-go areas in all SA's main cities, but if you stay clear of them, you will be most likely be absolutely fine.

    2. Accommodation. Yes it is a problem now trying to book this far in advance. And yes, South African hotels are going to charge peak rates during this period. Sorry if people find this economic reality troubling, but for the most part, SA remains a very cheap place to visit.

    But I would predict this. Nearer the kick-off, the perceived accommodation shortage/racket is going to be a distant memory, and people making last minute plans are unlikely to not be able to find a room especially in the major cities. The large luxury and chain hotels are certain to have last minute availability and private room rentals are going to be widely available. It is a bit of a racket at the moment, but there's a lot of Saffers planning to cash in on the WC accommodation game, they've seen the same opportunities as the hoteliers have.

    3. Two things that are more of a concern to me - public transport is minimal, and police do not do good job with crowd control. In the case of the former, especially in terms of getting to matches, all I can say is give yourself plenty of time to get there, and dedicated buses etc to get to the stadiums will be a decent bet. For the latter, if there is trouble in or around stadiums, the police will resort to tear-gas pretty quickly. So I guess don't mix it up with hooligans.

    For anyone planning to make a month of it in the country, I would suggest you use Bloemfontein as your base. You can drive from Bloem to most cities in a day, and the airport is pretty well connected to all the main cities. It's also one of the safest cities in the country, and accommodation will be more reasonably priced.

    And finally, Gary Mabbutt has been a tireless workhorse in helping SA prepare for and publicise ahead of the World Cup. Our debt of gratitude to him is immense, and what he says here is spot on. Do plan your travel to and from SA as soon as possible - flying via the Gulf is generally cheapest - but there is a very excited nation waiting to welcome the world (think China Olympics without the limitations on freedom), and get your vuvuzelas ready for a fantastic tournament.

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  • 23. At 2:29pm on 30 Nov 2009, StewieJT wrote:

    There will not be trouble from drunken English fans, there wasn't in Japan/Korea.

    We are just basing our opinions on the crime statistics, not simply personal experience like poster no. 10! You can't deny the facts.

    And a football world cup is massively larger than any of the other tournaments that SA has hosted previously, so you can't really compare them.

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  • 24. At 2:31pm on 30 Nov 2009, riaz wrote:

    I urge people to go, having lived in south africa for two years and just recently returned.

    In terms of accomodation, yes hotels will be expensive but there are plenty of guesthouses which people should look to stay in. Just google it and you will find plenty of availability, use your imagination.

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  • 25. At 2:31pm on 30 Nov 2009, ForestForever wrote:

    I think quite a lot of the articles out there are being needlessly negative.

    I'm not talking about this one here as it provides quite a balanced view, but one in particular that I read in the Daily Mail a couple of weeks ago (November 10th or 11th) which was so one-sided it's almost unbelievable!

    The girl who wrote it said that she walked through a park in Durban and didn't feel safe because of homeless people sleeping rough and litter-strewn walkways.

    Take it she's never ventured into any park in any city in the UK, then?

    Yes, there'll be some crime next summer as there would be at any World Cup, but if people use their common sense and stick with others rather than wandering off into unknown areas on their own, they'll be fine.

    London, Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Glasgow are all exactly the same and it's only sensationalism that is making this one seem so scary.

    See you all out there!

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  • 26. At 2:33pm on 30 Nov 2009, rodney84 wrote:

    Me and two others have taken the brave step in going to SA which will be my first world cup trip. FIFA released two types of tickets in March 09, team specific (pick your team) or general sales (pick your matches).

    Don't get me wrong, I would love to see England in the world cup but I just feel that to pick team specific tickets would be a logistical nightmare as we would not know where we are going to be playing, staying, flying to etc until after the draw.

    We go our tickets in the ballot for matches and we don't know who we are seeing yet. All four matches are seeded teams so with SA being A1 we have a 4 in 7 chance of seeing England. Would you be disappointed in seeing the likes of Brazil, Argentina or Spain instead?

    We have accommodation and we booked this in May of this year. I emailed 50 places in May and got about half a dozen realistic responses. Accommodation is now sorted and I count myself lucky (£1100 for 3 people for 11 nights). I was on the phone the day our flights became available (£750 each return to Joburg) and tickets were about $100 each x4.

    Note the prices below are for games we do not know who we are seeing, are all in either Soccer city or Ellis park and for flights and accommodation which was booked 13-14 months before we go. God knows how much they will be now, to be honest I wouldn't want to know.

    The fact that England supporters do not know where they will need to accommodate themselves yet until after the draw just makes me wonder how they will get everything sorted without the stress, hassle and expense which has already been mentioned.

    I am going over to watch the beautiful game with or without seeing England, hopefully have a good holiday without incident.

    Good luck everyone!

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  • 27. At 2:33pm on 30 Nov 2009, David wrote:

    I was over in South Africa a couple of years ago on holiday, and whilst the country is very beautiful and very cheap, there is this undercurrent, which is difficult to describe. Like a snake in the Garden of Eden. The murder rate is awful, and if you accidentally stray into the wrong area you might not come out alive, it is that bad. I am sure the South Atrican authorities will do what they can to minimise the risk, but it is there.
    I disagree with those South Africans who down play the risks. Properties are guarded by armed security firms. You are advised not to hike on Table mountain, and it was shocking to switch on the radio and hear the details of the murders that had taken place. In Port Elizabeth we were even advised against walking 200 yards from our hotel to an entertainment complex, and had to use a car.
    I have spoken to others who have been to South Africa and some who lived there and they all can tell me of numerous horrific instances.

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  • 28. At 2:34pm on 30 Nov 2009, stuckathome wrote:

    A few interesting points in this debate. Firstly, the Saffers on here who are saying that because the Cricket and Rugby world cups were a success then so will the Football world cup. Well, I am sorry, but that is like saying that you can direct a blockbuster movie just because you have filmed some footage of someone falling over on your Iphone and uploaded it to youtube!

    The sheer scale of the football world cup is only rivalled by the Olmypics. The issues with hotel rooms and vast travel will be exposed - and another issue for the poor teams in group G is that not only will they travel the vast distance, they will also have to deal with one ground 20,000 above sea level and the other on the coast! You watch the balls fly in Jo'berg!

    Frankly - and I speak from experience, the SA infrastructure is not good enough to hold this event.

    Crime will be a problem. There will be stories. Whether it is a fair reflection is another issue. But the press (especially in the UK) will be waiting for any incident that fulfils their predetermined agenda. The same incidents in Germany 4 years ago would have been ignored.

    The English fans will not cause too much trouble. There will be the odd issue, without doubt. But it will be like Japan 8 years ago as not so many will travel and generally speaking most will travel with tickets rather than pitch up in the town for the atmosphere like in France where it did go a little pear shaped.

    But I am awaiting the draw with anticipation as I shall be visitng relatives across SA during the world cup.

    I ahppen to love the country, but I have to be honest and say that the football will be great, but it will be a bit chaotic in terms of organisation!

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  • 29. At 2:36pm on 30 Nov 2009, eddie-george wrote:

    dan-edwards - Larry is correct about differential pricing. More expensive for an uitlander to stay in the Kruger, for example. But that's about all I'll give him, our quota of shysters is no worse than any other country's.

    Just one other thought about the weather. In Germany (and Japan/Korea), great weather for camping and walking-pace football. SA in July offers cool weather, more like "English" conditions, and the promise of exciting high-paced football - isn't that something to be grateful for?

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  • 30. At 2:37pm on 30 Nov 2009, I'm not a plastic... i'm a red inflatable beach ball!! wrote:

    9. At 1:53pm on 30 Nov 2009, wes wrote:

    I believe it will be a awesome event I think the most that could go wrong is the rowdy english fans --- Perhaps you neglected to read the blog where Simon mentioned that English fans were 'named fans of the tournament by Fifa' in Germany.

    There has been a lot of discussion regarding the safety of fans in SA. SA has the 2nd highest murder ratio in the world behind Colombia, if you feel safer there than you do in England, good for you. But I know some South Africans who say they will never go back to SA because it is simply too dangerous.

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  • 31. At 2:42pm on 30 Nov 2009, OddRiverOakWizards wrote:

    I went to South Africa in September for the first time. We had been warned about the crime and health issues. I stayed in Cape Town, near Nelspruit and I even ventured out in Johannesburg. I had no problems whatsoever with crime, no-one tried to rob me and I found the people incredibly welcoming and friendly. The only slight hassle I got was from people trying to sell me the big issue in the middle of the motorway - you do have to be really careful people wander everywhere! Also watch out for baboons and in some part even penguins or elephants - you really don't want to hit one of them crossing the road!

    In the cities is it safer than London, I wouldn't say so, however as many have said if you are sensible then it should be fine. For better or for worse cities are divided and there is a lot of security surrounding the more upmarket areas. There are no go areas which is sad but even when I talked to random strangers on the street in the more dubious quarters they were all friendly and many are pround and excited by the prospect of hosting the first African World Cup. Their expectations for the Bafana Bafana (South African National side) are rather high but I am hoping they will win at least one game.

    My holiday to South Africa was amazing and one of my best life experiences. I do recommend getting vaccinations health cover and although people believe that it cannot be cold in the savanah/desert think again the temperature drops massively. Tipping is a big thing in South Africa, you tip everyone, but not necessarily a large amount. If you go to Cape Town visit the kirstenbosch gardens and go up Table Mountain. In the North definitely visit the Kruger National Park.

    I already have my 2010 World Cup t-shirt :-). Lets hope it is a good tournament the spirit of Africa is relying upon it.

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  • 32. At 2:43pm on 30 Nov 2009, James Ingham wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 33. At 2:44pm on 30 Nov 2009, TheRouge wrote:

    Having read all the safety concerns, I am trying to work out if going to the World Cup dressed as a teletubby makes is safer or more dangerous!?!?
    Cheers, Po.

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  • 34. At 2:45pm on 30 Nov 2009, OddRiverOakWizards wrote:

    P.s. The photo of the Cape Town stadium is from over the bay, near Robben Island, I think. The surrounding infrastructure and roads were still crazy in September and getting to the ground may be difficult as there are few places to park nearby. One fly-over has been half built and just comes to an abrupt end, it has been that way for years!

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  • 35. At 2:58pm on 30 Nov 2009, AndrewH wrote:


    From my experience so far FIFA's organisation has been inept (again). We got tickets in the ballot in May and immediately started looking (through FIFA) at flights and accommodation. Despite numerous enquires we didn't get a single response until October by which time, flights and accmmodation for Cape Town and Port Elizabeth were just about booked.

    In the end we did it all independently - flights were cheaper, accommodation was cheaper (and a much better standard than being offerred through FIFA) and no restrictions on where we can go etc.

    Just waiting on the draw now!

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  • 36. At 3:00pm on 30 Nov 2009, emiatss wrote:

    I've already booked match tickets, accomodation and flights, and I honestly can't wait for it will be a once in a lifetime trip

    On the subject of crime in SA, I do believe in what people have commented above in that simple common sense will see your chances of being a victim decrease massively. In the UK there are certain areas we wouldn't dare go in at night, and it's the same in every country. For a month the spotlight will be on South Africa, and with crime one of the major issues I expect streets to be choking with police officers, and as long as you stay in the touristy areas every fan should enjoy the tournament.

    Public transport however does seem a concern that has been voiced above, and staying for a week about an hour's drive outside of Johannesburg could be a tricky journey, and also the organization at every major tournament has to be question, but South Africans have held many major tournaments in the past without too many hitches.

    Quick hint for anyone planning to go to SA, Kenya Airways do really cheap flights that could save you hundreds of pounds compared to bigger brand names...

    Can't wait for the draw...or the tournament itself

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  • 37. At 3:05pm on 30 Nov 2009, David Younghusband wrote:

    Look, there are some very knowledgeable people responding to this article, and I think its fair to say that some people are over reacting.

    Yes there are places that you should avoid, but that’s not to say you should avoid SA all together!

    I, like Rodney84 have already got tickets to 3 games next year (2x Cape Town, 1x Jo’Burg). But until the draw is made on Friday, have no idea who I will be watching!
    Planning ahead is definitely key here.

    I have paid the following (I have split the cost of accommodation by half, as I will be sharing):

    1) International Flights (via Cairo) = £720 (booked in June 2009)
    2) Domestic flights Jo’burg to Cape Town Rtn = £325 (booked in Nov 2009)
    3) Accommodation 6 nights in Cape Town = £270 (Booked in June 2009)
    4) Accommodation 2 nights in Jo’burg = £188 (booked in Aug 2009)
    5) Tickets for 3 games = £150 (FIFA draw in April 2009)
    Total c.£1650

    Not extortionate by any stretch of the imagination. I am also combining this with a 3 day lay-over in Cairo on the way (costing a further £200).

    I hope that people give SA a chance before jumping to conclusions. It would be a publicity nightmare for SA if crime and poor transport stole the headlines next year – and as a result I anticipate authorities will throw both police and money at preventing these issues getting out of hand.

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  • 38. At 3:08pm on 30 Nov 2009, boobookitty wrote:

    To dan-edwards,

    Larry I'm sorry but thats plain crazy, I can assure you a hotel room costs me just the same when I produce my SA ID number as it does for my parents when they produce their UK Passports, I also pay the same for a beer, a meal, a newspaper, a liter of petrol, and a Kg of apples for what its worth. Excuse me while I fall off my chair with laughter!!

    What your message above reminds me that I have to go back to the "Kg", "litre", "kilometer" metric scale once I am in SA after living in the United states for a decent amount of time. I thought I switched over for good when I moved from west africa.

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  • 39. At 3:10pm on 30 Nov 2009, TheTomTyke wrote:

    I can't see it being a particularly good World Cup, and at the cost it would amount to it's just not worth the gamble.

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  • 40. At 3:12pm on 30 Nov 2009, StewieJT wrote:

    Just so I back up what I say with evidence, SA has:

    Highest number of assaults (per capita) - http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_ass_percap-crime-assaults-per-capita
    Second highest number of murders per capita - http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-crime-murders-per-capita
    Second highest number of rapes per capita - http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_rap-crime-rapes

    Other than than, it's fine. All of this won't put me off, it's the hassle. People have alreay booked flights and accommodation without knowing where any teams will play - madness!

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  • 41. At 3:20pm on 30 Nov 2009, a dog named spot wrote:

    This article pretty much sums up why I decided long ago to give this tournament a miss - the first I've missed since 1994. Given that tickets for loads of games were still available last week, compared to the 20 seconds that they lasted in 2006, I'm guessing I'm not alone.

    But having the world cup somewhere with the infrastructure to cope, and the reasonable expectation of a safe environment for the fans isn't what matters to Sepp Blatter, is it? The choice of an African nation was political, not practical.

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  • 42. At 3:23pm on 30 Nov 2009, mike wrote:

    I have to agree with comment 10.

    I lived 20 years in the UK, 8 years in US, 2 in South Africa. Despite the reputation for violent crime in the US and South Africa, I have always felt safe and without fear. Yes, there is crime! But like London, Liverpool or Leeds the worse crime seems to take place in neighbourhood pockets. I can tell you places in Leeds where I wouldn't go after dark. Most towns and cities after the pubs close on weekends feel that way too.

    And again like 10 said, I have only been a victim of crime in the UK. I currently live in the US and I don't own a gun and neither do I know anyone who does.

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  • 43. At 3:23pm on 30 Nov 2009, ForestForever wrote:

    I'm lucky enough to have family out there who I'll be staying with and my cousin has agreed to pay for mine and her brother's internal flights if we need them as birthday presents.

    We've got England specific tickets so I'm so excited about going now.

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  • 44. At 3:37pm on 30 Nov 2009, Worst_Firm_In_The_World wrote:

    Did anyone ever think that deserts can get to zero degrees overnight - oh the weather must be awful in the desert!

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    It is you mad get!

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  • 45. At 3:40pm on 30 Nov 2009, Tim Smith wrote:

    I feal like it is only right i defend my country.

    as many people have said, use your common sense... in England, i dont walk down dark allies, or through areas i know are "chavvy".

    An Englishman would probably, if confronted, try to intimidate his agresor, as happens in England on nights out..

    In South Africa, it is not a bad thing to back down, there is no point having "pride" or being "ard" if you are dead. the only difference is that South African's learn to be street savvy, just like you learn to be a different kind of street savvy over here in England.

    I can only once remember fealing threatened in SA, and tha was when someone stole my fishing rod while i was fishing in the Duzi River by my house.
    Over here i couldnt count the amount of times some chav has tried to start on me..

    So basically... in any country you have lawlessness, in any country you need to use your head. especially if you are a foreigner..

    Dont ignore all the warnings though, just enjoy the magnificent country and keep your head about you.

    It really is an awesome place and if i could afford it (or thought south africa would get past the group phase) i would go back in a heart-beat.

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  • 46. At 3:58pm on 30 Nov 2009, wise words wrote:

    Due to the nature of my work I have spent lots of time in SA over last 15 years. I believe that the tourism product available there is second to none - you just have to know where to look. Go for the smaller places to stay & make sure you use a specialist travel company as they know the country. SA has problems, like everywhere else, but kept in perspective these should be no barrier to deciding to travel there for the World Cup.
    Curious also as to why there is so much emphasis on Cape Town, only 8 of the 64 matches are being played there.

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  • 47. At 4:00pm on 30 Nov 2009, BobBrady13 wrote:

    I am an Irishman and live in Johannesburg. I have to say that the article is defintely exaggerated on many fronts. I won't re-iterate on the crime issue, however, all I can say is that I have never had an issue in Joburg. In terms of transport, I would seriously recommend that you to book a car ASAP. Airports will be clogged. Unless you are unlucky to be based in Cape Town (fantastic and beautiful city as it is), you will be able to drive to most of the other desintations for games within 5-6 hours max, e.g. Joburg - Durban = 5 1/2 hours, Joburg - Bloemfonein = 6 hours etc. Even the Joburg- Cape Town time stated in the article is completely over-stated, it's 1,200km's, and takes 12-13 hours maximum, which one can do in day if traveling and sharing driving with mates. On the weather front, yes, it can be cold at night, however you are pretty much guaranteed blue skies and sunshine, with 22-23 degrees during the day in Joburg and Pretoria. Durban is glorious in the winter, and nice and warm, t-shirt weather on most days and with warm evenings. Cape Town can be mixed. This article is a little bit doom and gloom, but as someone who lives here, I can tell it's defintiely worth the trip.

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  • 48. At 4:01pm on 30 Nov 2009, boobookitty wrote:

    I plan to embark on my first trip to SA next year which will also be my first ever world cup. I already have 3 tickets - 2 in Jo'burg and 1 in Durban. However, it looks like I will be doing it all alone. I wonder how many fans from abroad will be making the journey to SA "alone" for atleast a couple of week's stay. I am excited about the trip but at the same time, not sure if it is safe for me travel alone. Anyone here along the same lines as me? or can give some support ? :)

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  • 49. At 4:01pm on 30 Nov 2009, Stuart Railton wrote:

    I fear for the fans making the trip as they are ignorant of the crime rate. Many will have a rude awakening upon arrival. The murders mentioned in this blog are recorded stats and not actual figures. Not to mention the many rapes that occur and of course the numorous robberies and hi-jacking in general. I am South African and left the country in 2001 and have not returned since. It's sad I have not felt the need to return but I left for a safer enviroment for my family and I found it in the UK. South Africa has a corupt goverment and it will eventually be it's downfall - like most African states.

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  • 50. At 4:05pm on 30 Nov 2009, Art wrote:

    Wow. Simon, this article seems ever so slightly subjective and misleading. I've always known the BBC to be the most objective and balanced news provider. However, this article seems to be crying out - "Stay in England chaps and don't bother venturing into deepest, darkest Africa. Pip, pip...tally ho." Heaven alone only knows what The Sun has to say about these relevant issues!

    I'm a Capetonian who has lived and studied in London for 6 years. I've just come back to SA permanently and I have nothing but praise for this beautiful country. Having stayed in various areas of London, ranging from Richmond to Greenford, I can tell you from personal experience that England has it's own safety/crime issues which are just as bad as any other country's.

    I've never been mugged or attacked in Cape Town. NEVER. I wish I could say the same about London. This excludes the open racial abuse many people suffer on the streets. I'd rather a poor South African of colour rob me of my cellphone and wallet than be called by the 'P' word( even though I'm actually of mixed race ) by someone whilst waiting for a night bus. Oh but wait, that person gets an ASBO if they're caught. That will teach them! Don't get me wrong...I LOVE London. I just can't stand it when cities and countries are beaten down before they get a chance to stand up and impress tourists.

    If England win their bid for a football World Cup, ask yourself the following question - Will the South African press beat down the standard of living and focus on any negativity in the UK to all potential traveling fans? Somehow, I doubt that. It's just not cricket. :-)

    Why create an air of uncertainty and fear amongst the British public who might be traveling to SA? Maybe the British media want their fans to be a bag of nerves whilst walking around our cities. It just makes them more vulnerable to petty crime. Maybe that's the whole point...

    It's pretty ridiculous to state various intimidating facts about SA's crime rates when England seems to have it's own problems with youth crime. How many teenagers have been stabbed in London this year? I can still clearly remember an incident whereby a young kid was stabbed and murdered last year in Putney Heath, just down the road from my supposedly 'posh' and 'safe' pad I was in at the time.

    I reckon that a lot of tourists will be blown away by the World Cup here in SA. It's about time that we, as citizens of the world, start changing our mindsets about Africa. Something tells me that, come June the 11th, the wheels of change might just start to turn.

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  • 51. At 4:10pm on 30 Nov 2009, Helen wrote:

    Hi all - travelled to SA as a single football, cricket & rugby-loving female 2 years ago. Fair enough I only stayed in Cape Town and the winelands, but I also visited a couple of townships and had the most friendly welcome ever. Jo'burg isnt the safest city in the world, but there again I live in London and there's places here that I wouldn't wander alone.
    The problem with the World Cup in SA isn't one of safety - its the sheer size of the country and its incomplete infrastructure. If I could afford (money AND time) to be there I would - I'll just have to watch enviously on TV.
    Have a great time in SA next year - I am very jealous!

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  • 52. At 4:12pm on 30 Nov 2009, MancMan33 wrote:

    Come on guys its Africa. It was always going to be dangerous. It was always going to be expensive. It was always going to be difficult. But it is always going to work. I am a Mancunian South African and would recommend that you get over there and enjoy your self.

    I would like to mention that most of the stats posted on here dont break down whom or where the crimes take place. South Africa has some notorious areas where crime breeds due to poverty and this should be taken into account.

    I think the best advice would be for every one who is going over to SA to not be naive to their surroundings and be aware of them. Just remember where you are and enjoy it.

    Its going to be the best World Cup ever!

    South Africa vs England in the Final! =)

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  • 53. At 4:17pm on 30 Nov 2009, jones_gone wrote:

    that stadium looks like a giant toilet seat...

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  • 54. At 4:19pm on 30 Nov 2009, Tim Smith wrote:

    @52

    I couldnt agree more!

    Bafana out in the group stages though! haha

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  • 55. At 4:29pm on 30 Nov 2009, BulletMonkey wrote:

    Can't afford it, too much hassle, but it looks great. Britain isn't exactly a utopian society itself.

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  • 56. At 4:31pm on 30 Nov 2009, sennockianrebel wrote:

    I must put a more balanced case here than presented by the contributors so far:

    SA has a very high crime rate but you will be safe if you travel in large groups and to tourist approved areas. Don't look for trouble as you will find it. Remember the main reason for crime in SA is the very high unemployment there. The will be mitigated by a large police prescence in 2010.

    A large country means long journeys from one city to the next.

    Hotels are relatively scarce so the laws of supply & demand will prevail.
    Use your ingenuity to find more affordable accomodation.


    SA has brilliant weather , but it's winter in July so in the interior
    it is very cold at night & Cape Town can be as wet as the UK this November.

    In conclusion if you follow common sense advice you will enjoy SA 2010.

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  • 57. At 4:47pm on 30 Nov 2009, DashanV wrote:

    This article is completely inaccurate. I live in South Africa. Driving from Johannesburg to Cape Town does not take 17 hours. It takes 9. I've done it. I know. Medical bills will not cost you £25000. Thats ridiculous. You could buy an apartment for that much

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  • 58. At 4:53pm on 30 Nov 2009, Jason wrote:

    @StewieJT - if you delve a little deeper you will find that the stats you refer to highlight the grossly inadequate living conditions in the township areas surrounding the large cities. Overcrowding, poverty, and unemployment understandably (Maslow heirarchy) leads to crime and, at times, violence. But these stats do not paint the true picture. If you read the previous blogs you will hear the first hand experiences of perosn living in SA or tourists not experiencing any crime. The townships obviously contribute greatly towards the stats you refer to, but should not be construed as the crime stats for the tourist areas.

    To compare the average South Africa township dweller's existence with that of a person living in the suburbs, or near the mountains, vineyards, waterfront, beaches, shopping centres is ludicrous.

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  • 59. At 4:55pm on 30 Nov 2009, umbongo82 wrote:

    I believe it will be a awesome event I think the most that could go wrong is the rowdy english fans, if you look at, SA has held many cricket and rugby World cups/ events without any security concerns SO I DONT SEE WHY IT WOULD BE ANY DIFFERENT!!!!

    Wes You are so on the money, the locals actually are worried about another France 98 situation where town centers were smashed to pieces by drunk English fans. Just a word of warning though, behave if you come, the SA police don't mess around and SA prisons are not the kind of place where you want to spend the night.....you won't be sleeping thats for sure!

    Neither of you have obviously read the third paragraph of this blog or the linked article. Take a look and then you might realise that none of what either you have said has any basis in reality. Also with the amount of fans travelling to SA bound to be substantially more than the cricket or rugby, this situation will be very different.

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  • 60. At 4:57pm on 30 Nov 2009, Davey Boy wrote:

    I'm afraid I won't be going although I'd like to. Reason - a very good friend of mine was car-jacked at some traffic lights some ten years ago in Cape Town with his girlfriend. He didn't put a fight although he was killed there and then, and his car stolen.

    His colleagues at work then raced to his home to secure it, as it was routine at the time for the police, to help themselves to the deceased's property.

    SA is a lovely place but be under no illusion, if you are assaulted the chance or become a victim of crime, to get any meaningful police assistance [i.e. UK standard] is very slim.

    Finally when this crime was raised by my MP to cabinet level authority, the answer received was - SA can be a violent place and it's not for HMG to comment on other countries - you have been warned.


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  • 61. At 4:59pm on 30 Nov 2009, Phil wrote:

    I think people heading to South Africa should take advice from both sides of the arguement. To listen to the 'doom and gloomers' or 'everythings hunky dory' brigade would be misleading.

    Yes South Africa has high crime rates - uncomparable to England, and its misleading to compare the two. Yes a chav might pick a fight with you in England and you end up with a bloody nose, but you run into a problem in SA and you could well end up dead. Thus you REALLY don't want to walk down the wrong street at the wrong time. So obviously be very careful and listen to advice of locals.

    Pricing wise, yes you are going to get ripped off. You can argue supply and demand etc etc but the cold hard facts are that South Africa should be a very cheap country to travel in, yet you will spend at least as much as you would for a WC in Europe - possibly a lot, lot more when you tailor in flights. This fact shouldn't be blamed upon your average South African, it is corporations and cartels (hotels, flights, car rental) that are upping the prices.

    Hope everyone who is going has a great time. Id rather visit SA out of WC time to appreciate the country properly at realistic prices. Thats why i probably wont go to Brazil either. Personally i think value for money tournaments are held in developed countries. Just my opinion.

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  • 62. At 5:04pm on 30 Nov 2009, nightswimming wrote:

    Just like Rodney84 and David Younghusband, I also got tickets (two second round matches and one quarter-final) in the first ballot and will not have any idea of which teams might be playing in those matches until the draw this coming Friday. It doesn't bother me at all as I find the whole football thing much more enjoyable watching it from a neutral perspective.
    And, like them, I also sorted out flights (including the internal ones in SA) and accommodation months ago. Not exactly a simple task but it was definitely worth it as I managed to get accommodation for a fraction of the price of the ones I just saw at the Match/FIFA site. Direct flights were ridiculously expensive but it was possible to find an affordable option involving a detour (and an extended holiday because of the stopover on the way back). Planning ahead is really the key - as OCDish as it sounds!
    I was in Germany in 2006 and thoroughly enjoyed it. I really look forward to going to SA and know for sure it'll be a different experience altogether. Not better, not worse. Unique.
    Plan ahead if you can, do your research, use some good old common sense when out and about - and have fun.

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  • 63. At 5:05pm on 30 Nov 2009, hifirob wrote:

    I'm going to SA this xmas to watch the cricket in Durban and a friend of mine has given me some sound advice for the country. Don't pack valuable into your suitcase - theft from bags in SA is very high, so don't give people the chance. Beware of credit card-cloning - happens a lot. Best bet seems to be the cash-passports offered by various companies. Likely to reduce your losses if the worst happens. Don't go into city-centres - this is where most personal crime happens. And if driving, don't stop if you see an accident on the road, especially if there are "injured" people. This is the most common way of car-jacking to take place.

    But saying that, SAs meant to be fantastic and I'm looking forward to my trip!

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  • 64. At 5:09pm on 30 Nov 2009, UTV_1982 wrote:

    Not sure why some people on here are making out that all trouble is caused by English supporters. I'm also not sure why some people are forgetting about the amount of violence that takes place in SA. Let's not act as if the people from SA are all friendly and do no harm.

    The WC should never have gone to SA in the first place and the only reason it has done so is down to money....

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  • 65. At 5:09pm on 30 Nov 2009, Neil wrote:

    I have been to South Africa 6 times and spent 3 months there on one occasion travelling the whole country, apparently walking down one of the most dangerous streets, which at the time felt safer than Readng high street !

    South Africa is a fantastic country, I returned from holiday this morning, having been in Cape Town, Durban, PE, Jo'Burg and Natal I felt safe at all times

    Yes I know there is crime and it is high, but the set up and development of the country and the stadia can only make this World Cup as success

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  • 66. At 5:13pm on 30 Nov 2009, nothingonthetv wrote:

    @DashanV How do you travel nearly 900 miles in 9 hours? Do South Africa not have speed limits or do you know a shortcut?

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  • 67. At 5:17pm on 30 Nov 2009, Michael wrote:

    I can understand many of the South African posters, or people who have lived in and ended up loving South African, standing up against the issue of public safety and trying to persuade us it isn't so bad.

    Actually, it is. Worldwide crime statistics exist for a reason. It is not a convenient fantasy that South Africa has the highest murder rate in the world (I believe it is constantly jostling for position with Columbia in these stakes). Crime is a major concern, and it is not like walking down the street in London, or the UK.

    As a side note, don't people have anything better to do than to constantly think up snide remarks at the slightest slip up? So what, the writer of the article made one mistake - it's not even a relevant mistake.

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  • 68. At 5:18pm on 30 Nov 2009, Simon Austin wrote:

    Hello everyone. Thanks for all your comments - some very interesting responses there.

    My thoughts on a few of the issues you've raised:

    * Crime: As I said, SA does have a crime problem. And Fifa knew that when they awarded the tournament to SA.

    From my experience of the Confederations Cup, the World Cup will be very well policed though. And the government has pumped huge resources into security. So if people use their common sense and stick to the right areas, I think they will be fine.

    * Accommodation: As some of you have said, hoteliers are bound to charge more during the World Cup. It's been the same for every other tournament in memory. But there is a bit of a fine balance here... charge too much and it could taint people's impression of the country for the future.

    I have tried to be balanced here. I loved SA when I visited for the Lions tour/ Confederations Cup in the summer and I think it will be a fantastic World Cup.

    There are so many positives - great landscape/ vibrant and diverse population/ great stadiums/ there should be a lot of colour and atmosphere at the games

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  • 69. At 5:20pm on 30 Nov 2009, JackMcMac wrote:

    I have heard the odd horror story from friends who have been to SA, and although I sort of dismissed them a bit as bad luck their stories have stuck in my mind. After reading this article, and other comments from users, it isn't simply a case of me not liking the sound of the place, or not wanting to go on holiday there, but of whether such a place is really ready for a massive international event like the World Cup. You think of all the trouble the European countries have to go through to even think of making a bid, and then compare it with what SA has at this very moment, and glaring things (like accomodation and transport for one) stick out as appearing to be awful. Only time will tell how the crime affects fans, and how the stadiums and facilities there will affect players. I think everyone is hoping for a great World Cup, but it has made me wonder how South Africa even managed to get this event? Was it really the best place to choose from from the last group of bidders? If it was, maybe a different set of bidders from a different area of the globe should have had it, as it seems SA clearly isn't ready for it.

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  • 70. At 5:34pm on 30 Nov 2009, Stuart wrote:

    Ye ok people will have to use there common sense in SA but the England fans will have to behave because they don't have the best reputation and if they start a fight out in SA people will get badly hurt because the local people are not afraid to use a gun and you will not be able to get really drunk because the locals will just pick off the stragglers and i would know because i have spent three months out in SA.

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  • 71. At 5:45pm on 30 Nov 2009, boobookitty wrote:

    how many fans are going alone to the WC next year?

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  • 72. At 6:09pm on 30 Nov 2009, fatprop wrote:

    I went out to SA for the Lions' Tour earlier this year and had a whale of a time. I love SA anyway, and have been there on holiday a couple of times. The new stadia look great and although the weather won't always be great, it's a known quantity. By and large, the people are terrific and if you use some common sense, your chances of being a victim of crime are no worse than in South London. Yes, it will be expensive - but what do you expect at such an event? Travelling from venue to venue may be a bit long drawn-out: they have done a huge amount to improve the roads, but sheer distance can be a drag, with flights not easy to come by, but you can break up your journey with safaris etc and see a lot and have a lot of fun.
    All that having been said, it saddens me to say that I have made the decision not to go to the football world cup, for a couple of reasons. The towns and cities are not that big, so fans of different nationalities will be staying, socialising and (most importantly) drinking cheek by jowl. So, take 2 or more nations whose fans hate each other, stick them side by side for a few days with nothing to do but drink (be fair, plenty won't be looking for the culture), light the blue touch paper and retire. Ok. Now let's add the woefully inadequate SA police, who are unlikely to know how to handle the problems and, when it gets out of hand - as it surely must - will over-react with a vengeance. On the Lions Tour, there were 25,000 good-natured fans all there to support the same side, and the police (and match stewards) didn't know what to do. The crowds self-regulated - if they had not, it would have got out of hand. Now consider how many football fans there will be and how they regard each other.
    BTW, I hope I'm wrong and sit at home gutted, while all of you have a brilliant time. But I'm afraid that I won't risk my sons' wellbeing.

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  • 73. At 6:13pm on 30 Nov 2009, Simon Austin wrote:

    #57 dashanV - these facts and figures were given to me by the Foreign Office

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  • 74. At 6:24pm on 30 Nov 2009, Jason wrote:

    I spent 26 years in South Africa (Johannesburg) and 4 in Cape Town and let me just warn the Brits, we do not tolerate spoilt anti-social Brits looking to get drunk and cause trouble. Behave and we'll all get along.

    As for the comments about people living in Cape Town claiming there is no crime - ARE U CRAZY? Perhaps you are the wealthier families that can afford to live in armed protected estates? The rest of us suffer, in fact the police have issues warnings recently reminding Capetonians just how bad the crime is and that you should stop being so Naive!

    Beautiful country with so much to offer but like somebody mentioned in an earlier post - SA needs 10 years to determine whether or not it will come right.

    Remember the countries government policies are completely anti-white at the moment! MP's telling us to leave the country they don't want us!

    Don't go near townships (informal settlements) and be careful if you are in or around JHB.

    Have fun, oh and don't sleep with any of the sex workers what ever you do!

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  • 75. At 6:25pm on 30 Nov 2009, Paul Hamilton wrote:

    To those people claiming that SA's crime problem is no worse than the UK's: I have lived in Cape Town for the last few years, and now live near London. Please don't exaggerate the UK"s crime problem. Yes, we often hear stories about it but it is nothing compared to South Africa.

    SA is a beautiful country and I'm sure the World Cup will be fantastic, but I think some people are in danger of downplaying the levels of crime. Some of my friends and family in SA have been burgled at gunpoint, carjacked and worse. I don't think too many people here could say that.

    Anyway, as many people have said - be sensible and you will likely come to no harm. Enjoy the tournament!

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  • 76. At 6:41pm on 30 Nov 2009, Mitch wrote:

    I work in RSA a lot, I have been visting for over 6 years. I work with organisations that are supporting the WC and without question they are very much under-estimating the number of visitors and the size of the potential problem.

    South Africa is a beautiful and fantastic country, personally I'd live there in a heart-beat. However you do need to prepare - infrastucture is 3rd world, security/emergency services are outdated and crime is very high.

    Anyone thinking of going, go - a lot more chance of a massively rewarding experience than not. However prepare; be cautious more than worried, expect delays/mishaps and have contingencies, stay well within the law (the police will be harsh), relax and go with the flow...

    Should it have been awarded to RSA - yes, it's a global game and if you can run it in Mexico you can run it in South Africa!

    Ps. I'm going...

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  • 77. At 7:16pm on 30 Nov 2009, timetraveller wrote:

    I would recommend that you read this article by Jeremy Clarkson.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/jeremy_clarkson/article5821586.ece

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  • 78. At 7:17pm on 30 Nov 2009, declanUKUSA wrote:

    Been to South Africa 4 or 5 times.
    Great country, I mean really GREAT country.
    Yes there is crime but I wouldn't hesitate to go for the World Cup.
    (I won't be due to family commitments).
    Go, be careful/be smart, and enjoy.

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  • 79. At 7:32pm on 30 Nov 2009, A wrote:

    If I would have the money for the flight and the time off from my company I will go.
    I've been there ten times already (and again next time in January 2010).
    If anyine want go, they can stay in the b&b in the townships, it is cheap (300 R per night) you can enjoy public viewing with the black communities eg in Kayelithsa and you receive a real "african" experience.

    AND IT IS NOT DANGEROUS (even if loads of (white) south africans in talking down their own country tell you someting different.)

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  • 80. At 7:33pm on 30 Nov 2009, czmate64 wrote:

    I am a monthly visitor to SA, Jo,Burg for the last 2 years. Violence is a regular question I get and maybe I have been fortunate but I have never experienced anything at all but thats not to say its not there.Mind you if you go out in too any Town in the uk on weekend night you probably run about the same risk of being mugged. But as with any travel anywhere it always comes down to common sense and following the general advice you can get from the web. Public transport is generally none existent but the new Gauteng rail link will be excellent if it is actually finished in time.For internal travel by air unless you have already booked some internal flights expect to pay a lot more than usual I heard that costs were tripled already on the radio. There will be enough accomodation in my opinion i know a few good Guesthouses who could not get registered due to the redtape but are of a very good standard just look on the search engines 600 zar a night is top of the range price.
    I think the blog is about right about travelling on spec a lot of England fans do this but do not do it to SA. However do not let the horror stories put you off its a great country with some brilliant people and not all waiting to rob you when you step of the plane that is asumming you can get a flight because most SAA eco flights are gone.
    I hope England are in group 2 that would probably be the best for travelling.

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  • 81. At 7:35pm on 30 Nov 2009, Alan wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 82. At 7:42pm on 30 Nov 2009, Harry Dodridge wrote:

    I think the idea behind having SA to host the World Cup is a good one. However the tournament coming ever closer and especially after reading this article, there may well be problems. At the end of the day, we will have to wait and see. Go out there with a positive attitude and enjoy it but I have a suspicion that there could well be some downsides, hopefully none too serious or SA will go down as a bad host.

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  • 83. At 7:56pm on 30 Nov 2009, RogerJ wrote:

    n Boer maak 'n plan.

    A UK company with SA connections and expertise has already been established to address some of the concerns expressed here. Local knowledge for each centre will be deployed to assist with transport, safety and security etc, all aimed at enabling fans to enjoy the experience with peace of mind. Further details will be available shortly.

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  • 84. At 8:17pm on 30 Nov 2009, ac7454 wrote:

    I have lived in SA for the past 4 years and have not once experienced a difficulties, I honestly think people are letting their preconceptions and stereotypical ideals get in the way of a once in a lifetime experience, it is sad really.

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  • 85. At 8:35pm on 30 Nov 2009, BognorRock wrote:

    Comments like those from #17 and #18 don't help, turning around and insulting England and the English just because you are over-sensitive.

    There will be near zero trouble from English fans, trust me. Not only do all the known trouble makers have their passports taken away but even they wouldn't bother going to all that expense to go to SA just for a fight. The lack of English trouble at Euro 04 and World Cups 02 and 06 proves there is little problem.

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  • 86. At 8:46pm on 30 Nov 2009, Pompey_Addick wrote:

    Interesting posts. I posted earlier #16, but thought i would add a few extra comments now i have the time from home.
    Trying to be constructive, any England fan, whether going in a group or single traveller will no doubt have an experience to last a lifetime. Dont be afraid of the media-driven violence attitud-as most Brits who have posted here with experience of SA, the vast majority have positive comments.
    I would suggest, if you do go, then Cape Town will be more than likely where most England fans will go - it has a big English population anyway, and has most of the tourist must-do's anyway. IF you can, try to get accommodation near the ground at Greenpoint (yes, it may be statin the bleedin) , with the Waterfront being absolutely perfect, if you get a map, any place on the Atlantic seaboard will be perfect - even down to Hout Bay. You will have to have your own transport, but please, NO drink driving - you DO NOT want to be spending the night in Pollsmoor prison.
    Even going around the bay to Blouberg may be a good option - especially if you want to rent a bigger house with say 6/8 of you.There is a big property development at Big Bay where i *think* there is a relatively new ferry service to the Waterfront where you can walk to Greenpoint stadium.
    Overall, its a beautiful country, with some stunning sights and scenery - you will not regret it one bit, and, if you stay street-wise , you will be ok.

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  • 87. At 8:56pm on 30 Nov 2009, Peter D wrote:

    Could those who know about SA help me here, are you allowed to carry personal protection, like a Taser or stun gun, how about mace is there a problem spraying pepper spray in a would be hood's face?
    What personal protection can one carry, is it OK to carry a pistol, airgun etc?
    What concerns me is not the local crime guys, its the ones from other African countries who will see the World Cup as a good time pick up some extra jewelery or cash.

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  • 88. At 9:00pm on 30 Nov 2009, educ09 wrote:

    To be quite honest I found most of the 30 comments or so read to be biased if not a little funny. The obvious South Africans amongst the bloggers are for the event and seem to want to make and the English are doing the usual and reading too much into a situation where common sense should prevail.
    Yes South Africa has an obvious crime problem on the whole but I’ve never been to any city town or village in the entire world and not been warned about no go areas. So why is SA any no different?
    Yes I am English but I’d like to think that prejudgement on a place I know very little about would be inaccurate and therefore offensive. I would like to think that any other self respecting English people would be the same.
    As stated earlier commonsense should prevail. Soon as you step out of any airport around the world you are reminded continuously through posters and by tourist information advisers that there are do's and don'ts for crime prevention. Just take onboard any advice, do a bit of research and stay in areas advised (like anywhere else you would travel to).
    Yes prices will be higher than usual but why not take advantage, is that not what any country in the world would do. How much do you pay for a holiday in February compared with August? How many ice-cream vans do you see in the winter? How much does a club charged on average until a top DJ comes along? Where there's a market there's someone looking to take advantage. Fair play and good luck to South Africa.
    On a final note, don't moan about English fans, we're not all thugs. I go to football matches every Saturday and I’ve never once looked for or found trouble. I'd say 99% of us just want a laugh, enjoy a football match and socialize. The other 1% are idiots!

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  • 89. At 9:07pm on 30 Nov 2009, Pedro wrote:

    What about the prawns? Have they got rid of them? They are my main concern followed by the high airfare and hotel prices. Damn prawns!

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  • 90. At 9:17pm on 30 Nov 2009, Pompey_Addick wrote:

    Errrr, PJP500 #87, no, airguns,mace,pistols, you might be surprised to hear are NOT allowed in most civilised societies of the world ! Personally, i would rather be mugged than spend a sentence in a SA prison by using a pistol in public in SA.
    I'd agree with #88 in as much, I think that most brainless England fans who would cause trouble will not have the money to be able to get there in the first place, and if they do, then they will get short shrift by the local police.
    Again, stay street-wise, stay in a group, dont drift off the main areas,be courteous and respectful = trip of a lifetime !
    Cmon England !

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  • 91. At 9:28pm on 30 Nov 2009, boothie15 wrote:

    Post 57: "This article is completely inaccurate. I live in South Africa. Driving from Johannesburg to Cape Town does not take 17 hours. It takes 9. I've done it. I know."

    Article is not entirely inaccurate actually. It is about 1450 km (900 miles) from CT to Joburg. If this chap travelled that in 9 hours he was travelling at an average speed – without breaks! - of 160 km/hr (100 mph) which is about as stupid as one can get on SA roads (good as the surfaces are) given the local wildlife, local people and local minibus taxis, as well as the fact that national highways are almost always single-carriageway. So well done you, DashanV, the latest Darwin Awards Committee awaits you. Just don't take any innocents with, OK.

    Travelling 900 miles in England could easily take 17 hours as that's averaging 50 mph - about right on today's over congested and over policed British roads. Bournemouth to Rotherhithe in London easily takes 3-4 hours on a Friday afternoon. And that's only 110 miles!!

    If driving, I would budget a 13 hour trip to include two meal breaks and a 10 min break every 2 hours.

    Bloemfontein is an ideal place to be based - 4 hours from Jo'burg, 5.5 hrs from Durban, 6 hours from PE and 9 hrs from CT. It’s cold there though in June & July so take a wooly coat, gloves, a hat and warm socks!!

    Durbs-by-the-sea though is the money shot - very mild winters with minimal rain (normally!), and relatively safe compared to urban CT and Jhb.

    Crime stats are real and quite scary, agreed. But a vast majority of crimes are concentrated in certain areas and so they are badly skewed. For example, in Rondebosch, a lovely suburb in CT, there were 2 murders and 3 rapes in the year April 07 - Mar 08. Sandton in Jhb had 10 murders. London experienced 159 murders in the same period. In 2003 it was 222.

    Saying that, it is just a case of being smart and plan each little sortie out and about for 15 mins before hand, stay in groups, use your noggin' and you will (most likely!) be fine.

    And let's be honest, SA is still much cheaper than Europe and SE Asia.

    A pint of freshly poured crisp premium pilsner at the local bar overlooking the Indian Ocean: £1
    A 600g cut of prime fillet steak cooked to perfection, taken under Mandela’s statue in Sandton, Jo'burg: £5
    An exquisite bottle of Cape merlot wine enjoyed with friends on a achingly beautiful Cape winelands farm: £8
    Knowing you’re part of history being made, in the Rainbow Nation, while the grumpy frumps who rubbished the place and the tournament eat beans on toast and drink Carling in the crowds of Malaga: PRICELESS!

    Be safe, be smart and have an amazing time!!




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  • 92. At 11:14pm on 30 Nov 2009, Kieran Flynn wrote:

    Hell! It will be my 6th World Cup, none of which have caused any problems. South Africa? I have been seeking accommodation for 2 months from over 10 agents and they all say SA is full, try Zimbabwe. I am travelling with my young family and I have this sure feeling its all going to turn to custard. It is Blatter's folly and he should be forced to resign as a result.

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  • 93. At 11:17pm on 30 Nov 2009, Liam wrote:

    It dont say it was taken from table top mountain, it says its in the background. Still dont agree with the world cup bein in south africa.

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  • 94. At 11:39pm on 30 Nov 2009, Deathkne11 wrote:

    Would like to clear up a few inaccuracies by posters.

    1. Crime It's particularly a problem in and around Johannesburg the other cities in SA are about as safe as any other city in the world.
    (comparing crime in UK to SA is a waste of time, crime in SA is violent crime in UK is mostly non-violent) though to be fair you are probably more likely to die/get injured on South Africa's roads. (see later)
    You cannot compare Rondebosch or Sandton to London there's a slight population difference (post 91)I lived in SA for 23 years and was never a victim of crime but then all other members of my family were. You pays your money and you takes your chances. But personally I would steer clear of Johannesburg.

    2. Medical expenses - I wouldn't prepare for that amount because a stay in Intensive care anywhere is expensive and costs of repatriation are extortionate (there's a reason most insurance companies limits for medical expenses are in hundreds of thousands if not millions) Personally I think £24000 is very conservative, better bet - get travel insurance with medical cover. I have worked as a doctor in RSA and UK I know of what I speak & I kid you not First class flights are a cheap bargain in comparison to flight home with medical escort.

    3.Driving - There is no way in hell you are gonna get from Cape Town to Johannesburg (or vice versa) in 9hrs or 12 hrs or even 14 hrs. I have done this trip several times and 14 hours is realistic unless you drive above 100mph or don't stop except to fill up, BUT this is with normal traffic and without all extra buses, minibuses and extra rental cars which will all be doing the same thing. Personally I would discount making it in one day during the world cup. Plan accordingly. SA Drivers are a little more ahem... aggressive than most countries and there is no system for making sure vehicles are maintained. Hence drive like your life depends on it because it could. Assume nothing about the other cars on the road with you, indicating is purely voluntary (particularly in Cape Town) or the beginning of a road rage incident (in JHB) so be prepared. You have to hire a car etc in SA there is no other means of transport. Don't hire a minibus these are prone to being hijacked/stolen as they form the Taxi fleet in SA. If you don't believe me ask any SA friends if they own a minibus? Travel is going to be a nightmare. I wouldn't go anywhere near an airport unless absolutely necessary. It took us an hour just to get through JHB international's security and immigration checks when leaving, people were missing flights and that was without a world cup.

    Travel in groups
    Avoid Curio shops - they are rip offs
    Drive ultra carefully
    Find out which areas to avoid
    Eat as much Biltong as you can
    Drink as much Wine as you can
    Enjoy

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  • 95. At 11:44pm on 30 Nov 2009, Neil Copage wrote:

    Question: In which City are you likely to e mugged if you walk around in the unsavoury corners at night, with a video camera over one shoulder, and a mobile phone hanging out of you pocket?

    Answer (a) London (b) New York (c) Glasgow (d) Cape Town
    Well... suprisingly enough, it's all of them.

    I was in Cape Towm for the Rugby World Cup, and the hospitatility, kindness, and attitude of the South African people live with me to this day. Just be sensible. If you look for trouble, it will find you. If you don't look for it, you will have a wonderful time.

    The moral - Go. Enjoy. Book accommodation before you go (it's not a country for sleeping in doorways), and come back enlightened.

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  • 96. At 00:40am on 01 Dec 2009, Geoffroth wrote:

    Just booked the flight and guest house for me and my good lady (who was organised enough to enter the FIFA draw and get tickets for the qtr final in Cape Town). Can't wait to get over there and enjoy it. Yes, the flights are costly and the guest houses have put their prices up, but that is to be expected. I appreciate that if you're following a team you'll have additional challenges, but I'm just happy to go and be a part of it and venture off for a few days and see something of this unique country.
    Probably end up watching New Zealand against Algeria! Off to hunt for last 16 tix.

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  • 97. At 00:56am on 01 Dec 2009, Ross wrote:

    Interesting opinions and comments,
    As a Scotland fan and as another year goes by that we haven’t qualified I won’t be attending this year’s world cup in South Africa, had we qualified I would most certainly be looking into tickets. Yes there is crime in South Africa, but like many of the other post say there is crime in every major city in the world, it comes down to common sense and not putting yourself into stupid situations and having your wits about you. Yes hotel and flight prices are going to be grossly overpriced and inflated but please name me a major sporting event that this doesn’t happen. I live in Perth Australia and am looking into flights to go the Melbourne F1 GP, all hotels and flights pretty much double for the event, same is for the Australian Tennis open, it’s just something we all have to accept if we wish to go to a major sporting event like the world cup.
    Personally I think a world cup in Africa would be a fantastic experience and if only Scotland had qualified id be there enjoying in next summer!

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  • 98. At 01:10am on 01 Dec 2009, Rich wrote:

    After visiting SA this summer for the British Lions tour I really do fear for the success of this Football World Cup. Yes SA is a dangerous place, but in 20 days of being there, staying in Cape Town and Durban and driving 2,000 miles around the country we had no problems. However, we were constantly warned about the dangers, warned not to walk at night, not even to leave the door open in our villa through the day. These warnings were all by locals or friends that we knew in South Africa.

    I would certainly not go for the Football World Cup, the Rugby was a fantastic event but so poorly organised, ticket prices were a joke, far too expensive for the locals and so badly sold, they really screwed up. The infrasturcture was a nightmare, trains are a no go, taxis are few and far between, getting around will be a major issue, and you dont want to be walking anywhere at night.

    I also have to question the mindset of Fifa and the money they have spent on the stadia in SA. Who is going to play in these amazing stadiums when the world cup has gone, take Durban the new stadium there is unreal and right next door to Kings Park,the rugby team will not move and the new stadium does not have the support base for the football team, it will be a massive white elephant. The same goes for Cape Town, why did they not invest in improving Newlands Rugby ground, it all boils down to politics and money and the new stadium with table mountain in the back ground makes Fifa and SA look very impressive. What doesnt look impressive is the mile after mile of really poor housing as you leave the airport and the clear poverty which is everywhere around Cape Town. I loved SA the people are great and the country is amazing but I hate to say it they are not ready for a World Cup and an event on this scale.

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  • 99. At 02:47am on 01 Dec 2009, ******~Mr RAM~L.F.C. & B.D.~****** wrote:

    If FIFA was that eager to award Africa the honour of hosting the event for the first time than perhaps a more stable country like Morocco or even Egypt would have been a better choice? Crime in South Africa is more or less unparalleled. I have a two close friends who both left South Africa as they couldn't tolerate the lack of oppurtunities, crime, police brutality and corruption, lack of respect towards women (particularly amongst certain ethnic groups) and the sickening levels of violence towards helpless childeren. I pray the world cup transforms SA for the better because its in need of drastic change.

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  • 100. At 03:40am on 01 Dec 2009, Steve Sykes wrote:

    I'm sorry, but purely on football terms, why was South Africa even considered for hosting the World Cup? It's not what I would consider a hotbed of football. Rugby. Yes. Cricket. Yes. Football. No.
    Moving along to the larger spectrum. Was this some kind of kickback for ending Apartheid? Probably. The liberals didn't really think this one through, did they.
    Call me an old fogey, but was the World Cup not better when it was hosted by Europe and South America?
    Best World Cup in my life time (apart from 1966!) was Italia '90. True passion. Great fans. Wonderful stadia. And yes; I was there! On planet Syko, the World Cup would alternate between Europe and South America every time.

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  • 101. At 04:06am on 01 Dec 2009, tarquin wrote:

    I haven't been to SA since I was a kid in the nineties, it was pretty crazy then - my uncle recently left saying it was getting too bad and he wanted his kids out, can't say I'm too keen to go to this one

    Sure the SA world cup probably will be pretty good - if you plan ahead, and are cautious, but the fact remains this isn't going to be as easy as Germany, for various reasons (including that you can't get there in two hours) - so less people will be going, I count myself among the number that won't be going, but did last time

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  • 102. At 04:39am on 01 Dec 2009, Vlamkop wrote:

    I'm pretty amused with a lot of the blogs I've read up till now.

    All I see and read is whinge here, whine there, and constant moaning. What's wrong with you?? Coming from the UK you should be ecstatic and enthused and want to attend the WC in South Africa.

    South Africa is a beautiful place with beautiful people, wonderful wildlife, awesome scenery and a very favorable exchange rate for your pounds sterling!

    Sure there's crime in ol SA, but there's crime in every country in the world!! Be street smart and ask the locals where to avoid and you'll be fine! Guaranteed.

    Instead of moaning all the time, rather buy a ticket and go experience all the great things South Africa has to offer first hand.

    Lastly, if you can't find accomodation, rent a house or flat! This option can work out cheaper especially if there's a few of you attending.

    For all of you who are attending, enjoy and have a great time. I'll be traveling from Perth Australia and am so looking forward to my holiday and watching some great football.

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  • 103. At 05:11am on 01 Dec 2009, Vespa wrote:

    Safe? Sure, safe enough for one of my family members to nearly have their life taken in our own house. I am fortunate not to live there anymore - ever wondered why so many of my country folk now make London their home? SA can use the pounds however be cautious.

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  • 104. At 05:19am on 01 Dec 2009, Steve Sykes wrote:

    Interesting comments all round. I've never been to South Africa, but perhaps those with the experience to comment wisely could inform me if; As a white European, I would have been safer travelling there now, or during apartheid? I would love to know. The fact is, the media portrait of South Africa is of a country sinking into corruption and lawlessness. Is this accurate? I would love to know.

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  • 105. At 05:27am on 01 Dec 2009, Lesley wrote:

    Having lived in both SA and UK I feel compelled to at my penny's worth :)

    Weather === It will be mid winter in SA during the World Cup. Cape Town has winter rainfall, so it will be wet, probably windy, and on the around 10-15 C side in Cape Town. In Durban (where I live) we will still be wearing our summer clothes, except for that 1 week that always brings out the jerseys. Of course, if you're from UK, you won't bother with your jerseys ... it will be nicer weather in Durban mid winter, than the UK mid summer. And we don't have much rain in winter in Durban. We're having our rain now. You will all be spending days on the beach in Durban, even though its winter.

    In Jo'burg it will be warm during the day, and cold enough for jerseys and jackets at night. It warms up quickly at dawn, and cools down quickly at night ... and that goes for most places in the interior.

    Crime === yes, we have one of the highest crime rates in the world in SA. What the statistics don't tell you is where the crime is taking place. The bulk of the violet crimes are in the townships (huge densely populated areas developed during the apartheid days), and the squatter camps. People visiting the country for the World Cup will not be staying in these areas. They will be staying in the upmarket areas. There are no hotel and guesthouse facilities in townships and squatter camps.

    If visitors follow basic guidelines that exist the world over for mugging, they will be OK.

    The biggest crime problem that visitors will face IMHO is potential car jacking, bag snatching out of cars. Defensive driving goes along way towards reducing this risk. In terms of bag snatching, don't put stuff on the passenger seat. Someone will likely break the window to get it. Put it in the boot or floor. Travel with your windows down an inch. Much harder to break than a closed window. At intersections, watch out for people lurking near the traffic lights etc. Leave enough space between you and the car in front to do a u-turn and drive away. Be vigilant in your cars. There are car jacking hot spots. Find out where they are and avoid those intersections. GPS will be very helpful because you can exclude certain areas that the GPS will then not navigate you through.

    Any local of any city would be more than happy to give you no go areas/streets and help you prepare before arrival.

    Oh, and when you hire a car, take all the insurance you are offered. It will reduce the excess that you need to pay if the car is stolen, and as a lot of visitors will be using on street parking overnight instead of secure parking the risk of your hire car disappearing overnight is far greater than the risk of you getting car jacked.

    Walking == at 3am it isn't a good idea in any city. Where we live in suburban Durban, we walk to the local shops, gym etc. Just doing our bit for greening the planet. We do this during daylight hours though, and drive after dark. We have not been mugged for our groceries or gymbags :) Walking is safer than cycling ... people do get mugged for their bicycles from time to time.

    Prices == locals pay the same prices for everything as the international tourists, with one exception. OUr national parks and provincial parks. I don't see this as unfair. Our taxes pay for the upkeep and maintenance of these parks for the benefit of the South African population, so we get to pay a little less to use them. The rates are so awe inspiring cheap though that they are certainly not unaffordable to overseas visitors. At the expensive private game reserves, we have to pay just as much as you do.

    The price of food etc I'm sure will probably go up during the World Cup, and us locals will be paying the higher prices right along with you. As well as probably having our electricity supplies cut (load shedding) so all the stadiums and hotels etc are never without electricity for the guests.

    I think what would be incredibly helpful to the WC visitors would be if someone set up (and I'm not volunteering) a website where visitors could say where they had booked accommodation etc and locals in that area could give specific advice on where you can go, and where you should avoid in the surrounding neighbourhood - e.g. if anyone has booked into the guesthouse 5 doors down from my house, I know they will be perfectly safe etc, and would be happy to tell them so. On the other hand, if anyone has booked into a guesthouse across the road from a squatter camp (hopefully nobody!!) I would be equally happy to strongly suggest that they find somewhere else!

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  • 106. At 06:01am on 01 Dec 2009, MattyUnitedWeStand27 wrote:

    Hi guys...i will not attack anyone specific because i don't blame you for your concerns.
    As a south African please do know that the media highly exaggerate the way things are over here. Kinda same way the british react to a "England Defeat" - Like it's the end of the world. I am by no means saying that we're the safest country around, no way...But the media take it too far and you have no idea how upset south africans get when i see comments like these..Whether it be on the news or blogs as such!!!...South Africa is 1 of the most friendly and beautiful country's you will ever come accross!!...and when it comes to football we Stand United...Do know I have been to the UK, the UAE, Egypt, Kenya, Kuwait and i am telling you they are no different...I lived for 2years in The UAE and these people simply hide their crimes from the Media to keep their status as the #1 Tourist Destination - but the stories keep leaking...the place is filled with Chinese Mafia groups and weird Mobs just like any other country...But they hide it...Have you ever heard of Stabbings or Murder or brawls as such at a Fotty game in South Africa???...Perhaps once a season..But these things happen all the time in European and South American leagues and such...Perhaps i am comparing 2 much but trust me We will stage a beautiful event - It will not be perfect (No world cup has ever been, there will always be the odd slip up or crime story outside) But for those who dont come, be prepared to live with regret for missing out on this oppurtunity!...It will be a success, our country is standing together to make this 1 of, if not the best World Cup Ever!!!...1LOVE 2 ALL...

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  • 107. At 06:24am on 01 Dec 2009, Sergio wrote:

    South Africa is a jewel. Its trying hard to solve its problems and faces them head on regarding racism and so forth and is not brushing their problems under the mat like most countries. The world cup will be a success, there is ample security around the so called tourist zones. If you go wondering by yourself down dark alleys at night then you looking for trouble. A little bit of common sense never hurt anyone.
    I live in Durban where there are lovely beaches and friendly people. The coastline along the Kawazulu natal North coast is wild and untouched. You kinda feel like an explorer around the 1500's setting foot on an untouched paradise, wild and natural. You not gonnna be sorry you came to South Africa. Stay in a group, enjoy the good food the 13 to 1 exchange rate. Beers cost R31-00 for a six pack...our fillet steaks and rump and meats are the best in the world. accommodation: so what if you have to travel from your bush lodge about 3 hours from the stadium. You get to see the best of both worlds, in the heart of the bush and then to modern marvels in the built up areas.

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  • 108. At 06:28am on 01 Dec 2009, Lesley wrote:

    Reply to 104. At 05:19am on 01 Dec 2009, sykousa wrote:
    Interesting comments all round. I've never been to South Africa, but perhaps those with the experience to comment wisely could inform me if; As a white European, I would have been safer travelling there now, or during apartheid? I would love to know. The fact is, the media portrait of South Africa is of a country sinking into corruption and lawlessness. Is this accurate? I would love to know.

    ================================

    Depends on how you measure safety. You probably would have had less risk from carjackings etc, but much greater risk of being blown up in a shopping centre or pub.

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  • 109. At 06:52am on 01 Dec 2009, Philip wrote:

    It is true that prices are being pushed up just because of the world cup. I think international fans will benefit from booking accommodation at normal residents....A lot of people are opening their houses at a fraction of the cost of so-called guesthouses. Residents can also provide transport, and useful info on crime no-go's.

    On the public transport. South Africa is planning a new dedicated public transport system running from Gauteng to all the inland venues. A coastal system is also planned connecting Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town along the coast.
    These buses at being delivered from October, as 560 new ones were ordered. In Gauteng (Johannesburg and Pretoria), there will be 5 transport Hubs, with a service from each hub to each inland host city.

    the prices for this transport will be considerably cheaper than what visitors are used to.

    In short, The world cup can be a over-expensive trip by using guesthouses and travel agents, or a once in a lifetime african adventure by incorporating locals and getting the best experience you can ask for.

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  • 110. At 07:40am on 01 Dec 2009, martin davis wrote:

    Unfortunately not every team will be based in cosy Cape Town . Cant wait to wander round Polokwane , Rustenburg or Joburg after group match. You speak with visitors to SA for the Lions Tour . They could just about cope with numbers in terms of accomodation and transport.The FWC will be a lot bigger as a sporting event than any Rugby or Cricket tournament played by a handful of countries. Dont kid yourselves . Outside of CapeTown Durban Pretoria ....its gonna be a crime festival, fans with nowhere to stay , poor ticketing FIFA disaster.....good luck.

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  • 111. At 08:01am on 01 Dec 2009, richmay1 wrote:

    This is a wonderful article of doom and gloom.Very Dantesque and terrifying in tone.Was this written to create terror and fear or was it written to create controversy and inspire as many posts as possible?
    By the way what about the lions,tigers elephants and jackals we are likely to encounter on the streets of SA in 2010? And of course the cannibals roaming around in loin clothes waiting to jack the first tourist they come across? Give me a break and get a life.
    As for me I am going to be in SA to witness the first world cup on African soil,come on this is history in the making,and am ready to bear any minor discomfort(s) to see it live.
    Anyone not comfortable with the arrangements does not have to go,just stay at home and watch it on the telly.

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  • 112. At 08:13am on 01 Dec 2009, Big_Alf wrote:

    I'm glad there will be so many of my fellow Brits will be choosing to stay at home and experience the World Cup with Motty from the comfort of their ivory armchairs.

    Having witnessed the Lions tour and now the cricket, the reaction of the locals here towards the behaviour and enthusiasm of the travelling support has been well documented in the media.

    The fewer pot bellied, sunburnt, replica clad beer monsters we have marauding down Long Street shouting 'INGERLUND INGERLUND INGERLUND' the better imo.

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  • 113. At 08:59am on 01 Dec 2009, 78sum wrote:

    I live in neighbouring Botswana and visit South Africa from time to time.
    South Africa is undoubtedly a very beautiful country with lots to offer, but it is dangerous. Jo'burg more than Cape Town or any other place.

    I didn't have time to read every reply to this blog but there are some saying that it is no more dangerous than UK etc. Thats just not true. The difference is in Jo'burg the robber is likely to shoot/stab you before taking your goods rather than just demanding them. I'm not saying that that is the case every time, but far more likely than the UK.

    The other thing that worries me about Jo'burg is how nearly everyone I know who lives or has lived their has their own carjacking or gun hold up story. It's just far too common and too many people have guns.

    I think the statistics in the blog are also misleading. The 450,000 tourists last year will most likely have been all cosy in the game lodges far away from the cities where the crime is or in Cape Town where the crime is much lower or more localised than Jo'burg.

    I know this post seems all doom and gloom but it isn't intended to put people off coming to South Africa. I still go to South Africa, and will be there next month on holiday. I guess what I am saying is just go there knowing that you have to be more careful. Be more aware of yourself...

    and if you can, go to the games that are NOT in Jo'burg.

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  • 114. At 12:42pm on 01 Dec 2009, Gillsed wrote:

    I've attended several tournaments before, Euro '96, France '98, Euro 2000, Euro '04 and Germany '06. All were brilliant, stunning experiences but I won't be going to South Africa and many other regular England fans will be giving it a miss too. I know over 30 people who went to Germany in '06, but just two are even mulling over going to South Africa in 2010.

    The reason? Well basically the cost. Flights are stupendously expensive already, if you want to follow England then you can't book up until the draw has been made.

    Accomodation is also in very short supply and prices are a rip-off.

    The logistics of getting around are a nightmare - with virtually no public transport the options are car (I don't drive, the distances are huge) or internal flights, many not on sale and those that are already a rip off.

    If you want to follow your team through the knock-out stages you can't book in advance making the costs go up.

    South Africa are in danger of repeating the mistakes of the recent Cricket World Cup in the West Indies where hardly any foreign fans turned up due to the rip-offs.

    Despite what some posters on here blithely suggesting "rip-offs always happens" at sporting events that is simply not true. We were never ripped off once at all the previous tournaments we've attended, okay, we travelled independently and it took planning but because the host countires had excellent transport options and plentiful budget hotel space it was still affordable.

    As for crime, well I've never been to SA, I've met exilesd South Africans in the UK with horror stories but am sure with the authorities flooding the obvious tourist areas with police etc it should go okay for most people most of the time. However being constantly aware and cautious is hardly the recipe for a relaxing stay. Robbery, carjacking, murder etc never once crossed our minds in previous tournaments and that did include wandering back to our hotels a bit squiffy at 4 in the morning on foot in the dark because from Porto to Lisbon to Berlin to Koln, from London to Liege, from Bruges to Paris we never felt threatened, never were threatened and never met anyone who'd been robbed/mugged etc. I can't imagine the "Mile of beer and football" from Berlin in '06 being repeated in 2010 for two reasons, firstly there won't be many people going over just to take in the atmosphere, nobody will go unless they've got at least a couple of tickets to games, and secondly getting drunk with 500,000 other people will be too risky.

    In '06 over 100,000 England fans went to Koln for the Sweden game, 30,000 managed to get their hands on tickets for the game but the rest just had a carefree, relaxed party in the city and fanparks. That won't happen.

    It will be more like 2002 with very few travelling fans from many nations (again cost putting off the vast majority), it made for a very different world cup, the locals made it really and I'm sure the South Africans will embrace it and have a brilliant time but it is a shame the profiteering (and fear of crime) will rob it of some of the best features that made 2006 an unforgettable, relaxed world party.

    To be honest I'd love to go but I can't justify the expense, neither can any of my friends. It is all very well saying the touristy bits of Cape Town are lovely but 90% of the World Cup is the other side of a big country and Jo'burg is the obvious place to be based distance wise and yet that is precisely where the crime rate is highest...

    Part of World Cup bids includes transport and accomodation, South Africa appeals to be lacking in both these crucial elements, it is good to take the World Cup to different places, new continents but perhaps this time the desire to "make up for" SA "missing out" on hosting '06 has been allowed to swing them being allocated the rights to host where fundamental problems remain and will blight a global event which can be a lift afirming, dazzling assault on the senses that leaves you glowing with joy at the whole staggering experience...

    For those that go, have a brilliant time, I'm sure you will but I'll be saving my money to watch England away in some of their Euro 2012 qualifiers and making plans for an adventure in Poland and Ukraine...

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  • 115. At 1:17pm on 01 Dec 2009, Pompey_Addick wrote:

    "For those that go, have a brilliant time, I'm sure you will but I'll be saving my money to watch England away in some of their Euro 2012 qualifiers and making plans for an adventure in Poland and Ukraine... "

    Hmmmm, yes, i can just see the argument when discussing the topic with the other half.... 'Dear, where shall we go on holiday to watch a great sporting event, shall we go to Gdansk or shall we go to Cape Town?? - derrrr, oh I know , lets go to GDANSK !!!!!!'

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  • 116. At 1:20pm on 01 Dec 2009, Gillsed wrote:

    I've been to Poland three times and really enjoyed it. Have Polish friends from near Gdansk which is supposed to be a fine city. As I said earlier, would like to go to SA but can't/won't pay the rip-off prices.

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  • 117. At 4:59pm on 01 Dec 2009, Agent Mubarak wrote:

    I'll be giving this one a miss.

    Too expensive, too dangerous, no accomodation + never met a nice South African :)

    It's a shame after the success of 2006, FIFA had to give 2010 to an African nation in spite of how under prepared they were.

    At least Blatter will step down after the inevitable shambles the tournement will be.

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  • 118. At 8:57pm on 01 Dec 2009, McK wrote:

    Equal rights for the Prawns!

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  • 119. At 9:39pm on 01 Dec 2009, Stephen wrote:

    I am again disappointed with the negative focus that seems to be prevalent in the British/foreign press. Of the 3 points mentioned in the article, only the concerns about crime and safety have any level of validity this time round, and even that is somewhat blown out of proportion.

    This will be my 5th World Cup Tournement in a row and accommodation is always an issue, both from a perspective of availability and price increases, that is why I try and book a year ahead of time to try and avoid some of these possibilities. I mean the local hoteliers and accom owners are always gonna raise prices when the opportunity comes along, you know, "make hay while the sun shines..." I wonder what the prices will be like in London for the 2012 Olympics...?

    These writers seems to have the memory of a goldfish at times, they seem to have forgotten that the World Cup has been held in countries that are not well regarded for their infrastructure and transportation links. Have they forgotten that in the past 10 World Cups it has been held in Mexico and even spread between 2 countries with Korea/Japan, both of which had large distances between venues. The reality is that unless the World Cup is held either in Europe or the USA, transportation is always gonna be a challenge in terms of getting from one venue to another. I guarantee that they will raising the exact same concerns when we head to Brazil in 2014...

    There is no denying that when you look at the statistics and listen to the news reports, crime is a bigger factor in South Africa than has been the case in World Cups of the previous 30 years. But like many countries around the world, the crime in South Africa is mostly found in a few specific locations, and also generally directed internally and not specifically targeted at foreign tourists as it is some other parts of the world. Common sense prevails here and you won't catch me wandering drunk around the city centres or townships at 2am in the morning, much the same I wouldn't in London, Berlin, Sydney, or even Tonbridge Wells come to that. I wont be wearing designer clothes or dangling expensive camera's or phone about my person either, as this would just be attractring attention. And even though I won't allow myself to be closeted in the safety of an international hotel or gated resort, only leaving the compound to be whisked to and from a stadium, I will be applying the same common sense rules I use when travelling to any unfamiliar city or town, and experiencing as much of the local colour and culture as possible.

    Maybe the journo's should focus some more attention on the successful preparations that have been made, the stunning new and refurbished stadiums, and the legacy of social and cultural change that the 2010 World Cup has the potential to bring to South Africa. It's almost as if some of the foreign press don't want this World Cup to be a success, but I am somewhat optimistic that South Africa could be springing a major surprise on the world next year, and I'll be there to experience it....

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  • 120. At 09:09am on 02 Dec 2009, Andrew wrote:

    I'd feel safer travelling with Ross Kemp, that guy knows his gang crime.

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  • 121. At 09:26am on 02 Dec 2009, Andrew wrote:

    #91 Boothie15

    Post of the blog no question! Very well said.

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  • 122. At 12:08pm on 02 Dec 2009, LANDI wrote:

    To face the reality on above nagative comments(security) South africa is a country like any other country,we hosted the big world standard events where was the concern of security then?now the world cup is around the corner and some people are getting dubious about the security,yes i would be concerned as well like any other country that you have never been,for instance UK got its own problems on things like crime etc,is it because South africa is a free and democratic country it projects every thing to the world and for your awareness,I live in the UK as well but funny enough that other side of the world (SA)don't know the whereabouts of crime etc in the UK?why because they think there are no such things,who mislead the world then?is it wealth,media or what?people if you don't want to travel to South Africa to watch the world cup rather watch it at home in your comfortable couch and stop talking about something that you don't know and let South Africa host the world cup peacefully and freely.

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  • 123. At 9:20pm on 02 Dec 2009, magicPolka wrote:

    It's difficult to capture how I feel about SA in just a few words. I've lived here my whole life. I'm 27 now and love the country. I've travelled around the world pretty extensively and have yet to find somewhere as captivating and beautiful, I concede it may just be that this is home.
    South Africa offers so much. Beautiful land scapes, fantastic oceans, great food and everything in between. Friends and I often fantasize about coming here with Pounds (British pounds) as the general prices, when converted, are laughable. You'd have access to some of the finest restaurants around; offering steaks that are more than likely incomparable anywhere in the world. Our food here is simply fantastic. The range, quality and affordability is simply amazing.
    Beer would cost you less than a quid :P as long as prices aren't too inflated over WC time.

    Crime does happen. Crime happens everywhere in the world. And i guess it's difficult to convince anyone as 'it could happen to you'. Yes,There are electric fences on many homes in suburban areas. However,I will only speak from my feeling, and I feel safe and free here in SA.

    The space and freedom we enjoy in SA, as well as the beautiful landscapes are breathtaking. From the game reserve, to the coast there is so much on offer.

    Many people are licking their lips at the prospect of foreigners coming here, and it seems like almost everyone is thinking or looking at renting out their house or apartment at exhorbitant rates to unsuspecting tourists. I recon put in an offer and stick to it. If not, i'm almost certain the inexpense of food and wine will compensate for that.

    Do research. Read the lonely planet on South Africa. And rather than making assumptions, come here and experience it, take your experience home, share it with your loved ones and im pretty certain many of you will be coming back with them in years to come.

    South Africa is beautiful.

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  • 124. At 11:16pm on 06 Dec 2009, Deathkne11 wrote:

    I'm tired of people saying there is crime everywhere not just SA.
    I don't have burglar bars, 6ft+ walls round my property and I can walk around anytime day or night in my local cities. I don't know a single person here who has been held up at knife or gun point, nor have any of them been victims of anything more serious than vandalism. I know hundreds of south africans including family members who have not been so lucky. And none of them went to any townships to be victims of crime. So stop saying crime in SA only happens in townships cause that is BULL!

    I lived in South Africa for 23 years, it's not the most beautiful country in the world I don't think it would even make my top ten, maybe just outside.

    Is it worth visiting? Yes it is but I wouldn't want to live there (mostly cause it's one of the most isolated countries in the world, but crime, poverty, aggresiveness, snobishness all feature in there too)
    Stop trying to compare SA to UK there are no comparisons.
    SA has good weather & beef but that can be found in countless other countries too.

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  • 125. At 06:56am on 12 Jan 2010, Frank wrote:

    Leading up to kickoff in less than 150 days I must admit, like millions of other fans, I had trouble deciding if or not to travel to South Africa. The anticipation was killing me.

    Perhaps it will all make sense when I get to Africa because now I have made a giant leap out of my comfort zone. Come on diehard fans, we can go to the end of the earth to support our teams.

    This might have something to do with where I am staying. Who was at the 2006 German World Cup? While hostels are pretty great for young travelers they, like hotels, lack the soccer specific atmosphere I was looking for. Then I hit the ultimate soccer fan mecca, the Westfalenhallen Dortmund Fan Camp.

    Two weeks ago I was frantically searching online looking for a great place to stay during the African Cup. I came across all sorts of little interesting hotels, hostels and campgrounds. I reckon you cannot possibly enjoy the World Cup to the fullest by staying in a hotel room all by yourself.

    Now picture yourself in the middle of Kruger Park with 160 fans from across the globe at a camp specifically prepared to host soccer supporters. The 2010Camp Safari Club offers a week long African encounter with safari drives, bush walks, cultural visits, daily markets and entertainment.

    The weather is fantastic in this region during June/July due to the mild sub tropical climate.
    Lets support this great community initiative. For more info check out www.2010camp.com

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  • 126. At 9:58pm on 18 Jan 2010, Malenko wrote:

    Having seen today the frankly hysterical reaction of the RSA government to the plans by a company to sell and promote WC themed anti-stab vests, I am seriously concerned that there is a disconnection between the ideal and reality in the planning rooms of the WCSA. Ministers might like to believe and talk about RSA being no different to other countries, it may sit well with domestic voters and possibly Presidents Zuma and Blatter, but just isn't grounded in reality.

    Firstly, making comparisons with Cricket and Rugby WC's is nonsence. The scales are vastly different, as are the cultures and demographics of the travelling supporters. Secondly, to hear that FIFA is sanctioning the use of unrated accomodation by the WC ticket and accomodation managers borders on negligence. This a county with almost the worst per capita rates of robbery, homicide, carjacking and burglary - all together. I have a great fear that we will be looking back and not talking about a remarkable victory for Brazil, but the number of Brits robbed or even killed. But hang on, given the resources, the enormity of the competition and the problems endemic in the country, would not this post mortem (which will be the fate of many a fan come June)have the ring of asking why a chimp, trained to use a typewriter and asked to write Shakespeare, has defecated on the paper instead of producing Hamlet? You can't blame the chimp, he's a chimp. Just as you won't be able to blame RSA when the robberies and murders totals climb faster than Messi's goal tally.

    It won't be RSA's fault, they aren't ready, nor can they be expected to be ready. They sold FIFA an impossible dream 10-20yrs minimum before it was remotely possible. They have become convinced by their own delusions, but FIFA is ultimately resposible. They should have known better and put fans' safety above Mr Blatter and co securing AFC support in future elections.

    Handringers and others might not like this post, but if only a few people who read think about and stay home this summer, then a few people will avoid becoming a statistic this summer.

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  • 127. At 8:59pm on 09 Mar 2010, U14377430 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 128. At 4:48pm on 17 May 2010, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Simon~

    I hope that the Forthcoming World Cup in South Africa will be "heaven" but...I am kinda of skeptical!

    (D)

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  • 129. At 6:48pm on 17 May 2010, Loyal SA wrote:

    Knowing that SA will not get far in the world cup, most of the people I know in SA is supporting Brittian after SA falls out. Please come over to our lovely country and wear your Red&White proudly!
    The real problem is what happens after the world cup!!!???? Most people outside SA dont give a damn about the aftermath but I am one of the few guys left behind to pay for the sins of my grandfathers.
    But thats enough moaning, please come over and enjoy this world cup with us!

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  • 130. At 00:18am on 19 May 2010, Aimee wrote:

    It appears that the biggest problem is finding affordable accomodation, a solution is simple.

    http://blogs.sun.ac.za/news/2010/04/12/affordable-soccer-world-cup-2010-accommodation-2/

    Alternatively I would advise people to log on to www.gumtree.co.za and search for accomodation there.

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