Kick off your World Cup experience online
The 2010 Football World Cup kick off is a week away! Here in Tamar’s Cape Town office we have gotten into the spirit of things, throwing ourselves behind our boys in green and gold. Some of us are supporting England though, and debates over the odds are getting quite heated. As South Africans, we are very aware of the pressure that an international event such as the World Cup can place on our country.
While many cynics have criticised Fifa’s decision to allow us to host the event, we South Africans tend to have more positive view of the event. Not only is it good for our country, but an event like this enables us to come together as a nation, to celebrate our unique heritage and to show the world what we’re made of.
To make it easier for our English guests, I’ve compiled a list of useful South African websites which visitors may find useful and which we locals use regularly. But first let’s explain a few uniquely South African traditions you may encounter on your visit.
Our ‘soccer’ fans are among the most eccentric in the world, as the world will soon discover. Fans support their team loudly and colourfully, with bright costumes, big hats and the ear shattering vuvuzela. The vuvuzela symbolises football in South Africa. In case you haven’t yet had the dubious pleasure of an encounter with one, suffice to say: bring earplugs. These plastic trumpets have been designed to make as much noise as possible. They are loved and hated equally by locals and foreigners, but after much deliberation I’ve decided that you only hate them, if you don’t have one. Get one on your iPhone here. Visit www.blowme.co.za and contribute to the longest ‘vuv’ blast ever.
The makarapa is another eye catching addition to our vast collection of football supporting paraphernalia. The modified, decorated miners’ helmet is unique to South African football fans and wearers of the makarapa continuously strive to outdo each other in creativity and size. Let’s hope you don’t get a seat behind this guy:
“Diski” is local township slang for football, and the Diski Dance is currently taking the country by storm. The dance translates the sport’s moves into a neat little jive. You may wish to learn the Diski Dance so you can join in the various flash mobs taking place in our major cities.
On a more serious note, visitors will need to eat, sleep and travel when they aren’t sitting in one of our beautiful stadiums. Each city has its own unique transport system – Johannesburg has the Gautrain, rickshaws can be found in Durban and Rikkis in Cape Town. Private cars and metered taxis can be hired quickly and easily across the country.
The Gautrain is a 50 mile long mass rapid transit railway system in our Gauteng Province, linking Johannesburg, Pretoria and OR Tambo International Airport. Taxis are available too, check out www.sacab.co.za. In Durban Zulu rickshaw pullers, with their eye catching traditional headpieces, are a major tourist attraction along the popular Durban beachfront.
In Cape Town you can hire a Rikki taxi – either book a regular metered four wheeled taxi at www.rikkis.co.za or flag down a tricycle driver who will squeeze up to three people into his back seat and take you where you need to go. For a complete list of private car hire companies in SA, check out www.car-rental-south-africa.net.
We are also pretty well known for our biltong and boerewors, so be sure to try these local delicacies while you’re here. We enjoy a broad spectrum of international culinary influences, from fine French dining to traditional Thai or classic Italian. For those who prefer British cuisine, our seafront harbours offer fresh fish and chips, and a slap-up pub lunch can be found in every city and town. Durban is famous for its spicy curries, while Cape Town offers an abundance of seafood restaurants. Visit www.dining-out.co.za to locate the best eateries in your area.
In case you haven’t yet found a place to stay while you’re here, check out www.sleeping-out.co.za. Similar to Dining Out, the site will help you find a bed for the night. The site www.coastingafrica.com also offers a broad spectrum of accommodation options, from sea view villas to safari style camps.
Since June and July are our winter months, you’ll have to pack for cool, wet weather. Check out www.weathersa.co.za for a detailed forecast. I would like to warn visitors who choose to stop in Cape Town to pack for both winter and summer. The Cape Town weather is notorious for its many moods, swinging from clear and calm to dark and stormy in a matter of minutes. Durban weather is generally warm all year round, while Johannesburg offers crisp cool winter days.
For the tech savvy traveller, iPhone and Blackberry apps abound. For Blackberry’s we suggest the South Africa app to provide real-time access to scores, breaking news and event coverage. For iPhone try SouthAfrica 2010, specially designed to provide you with coverage of all the games. My SA is also a popular iPhone app in the Cape Town office. English is widely spoken in South Africa, but if you’d like to blend in like a local, you’ll have to learn the lingo. Try Ultralingua, a multilingual slang dictionary.
And lastly, I would like to welcome you to South Africa. We hope you enjoy your stay and leave with many great memories of our beloved Rainbow Nation.