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TRAVEL STORY

Heading south

Got tickets for one or more of England’s group games? All set for the trip of a lifetime? Michael Coverdale offers a guide to the three cities playing host to the Three Lions, and shows there’s much more to do than idly sit around drinking

World Cup 2010 hosts South Africa may not have the organisation or efficiency to which Germany played centre stage in 2006, but what the country does have is a combination of sun, sea, surf, shark-diving and safari.

Three cities will play host to the Three Lions faithful as England hope to get a convincing start to their World Cup in Group C. Each city will offer something equally enthralling for the England fans lucky enough to be its guest, and Gambling can tell you why.

RUSTENBURG 12/6, VERSUS USA

Rustenburg is the country’s fastest growing city, boasting the world’s largest production of platinum, with around 70 percent of the world’s production processed in the city, which is home to the world’s largest platinum refinery.

It is situated about two hours from Johannesburg and if England win Group C they will play the first round of the knockout stage here too.

The city’s major attraction is actually its location, as it is based just 25 minutes away from the once-controversial Sun City, known as the Las Vegas of South Africa, which could make this one of the most popular bases for England fans among all of the World Cup venues.

During apartheid, Sun City was able to provide ‘immoral’ activities banned in the rest of the country, such as gambling and topless revues. Such activities still exist and the City now has two international-standard 18-hole golf courses, both designed by nine-time major winner Gary Player. However accommodation in the city starts around £200, with Rustenburg closer to £20, making the host city a far cheaper base.

Day Tripper: If the glitz of Sun City does not grasp you, you can get over to the Hartesbeespoort Dam, roughly 40 minutes drive, which offers water sports and an animal sanctuary

The Venue: The Royal Bafokeng Stadium

Capacity: 42,000

CAPE TOWN 18/6, VERSUS ALGERIA

South Africa’s primary tourist destination, Cape Town boasts incredible nightlife, great heritage and extraordinary sites. ‘The Mother City’ has almost inexhaustible appeal to the tourist and will attract the highest volume of England followers.

The city is built around the Cape Peninsula mountain range, at the centre of which lies the world-famous Table Mountain, offering a great vantage point to view the whole region. You can also take a trip to Robben Island, the location where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for nearly twenty years. Boats leave from Victoria and Alfred Waterfront and take 30 minutes each way.

The primary destination for fans looking to watch the games without tickets will be on the Grand Parade Fan Park from Cape Town Stadium to Riebeeck Street and Somerset Road, and then all the way to Green Point Stadium.

The purpose-built stadium has an incredible view overlooking the ocean. The surrounding area plays host to some of the city’s most affluent bars and restaurants along the waterfront itself. The main hub of Cape Town’s famous nightlife is found at the bars and clubs that line Central Long Street.

The QE2 cruise liner is set to moor in the city during the finals – built in Clydebank, Scotland in 1969, it will be the a lonely Scot in a city bound to be engulfed by the legions of English.

Day Tripper: A day away from the fan parks can be spent at Seaforth Beach among the penguins resident on the bay, while (for more avid penguin fans) there is a penguin colony at boulders bay. Otherwise, a trip to Hermanus is an hour and a half by road, where you can shark dive or watch magnificent whales.

The Venue: Green Point Stadium

Capacity: 68,000

PORT ELIZABETH (NELSON MANDELA BAY) 23/6, VERSUS SLOVENIA

Known as the Windy City or, increasingly, as Nelson Mandela Bay, the city is widely renowned as having one of the best surfs in the world, making it the water sports capital of Africa. However, standing on the southern coast it suffers wet and – as you might expect – windy winters.

Not famed for its nightlife, the city would more suit those guests looking to take in water sports and wildlife around their daily dose of three games of football in the fan parks erected in the city.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium will play host to the final game of Group C when England face Slovenia. A good omen for England going into the game is that the Stadium was actually opened by a rugby match where the British and Irish Lions beat the Southern Kings 20-8.

Day Tripper: To the north of the city lies the Addo Elephant National Park, which features all the ‘big five’ safari animals. Around an hour up the coast is South Africa’s premier surfing location Jeffrey’s Bay – home to the Supertubes, once described as the most perfect surfing waves in the world.

The Venue: The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

Capacity: 48,000

WEATHER

With the World Cup being in Africa it is commonly thought that there will be extremely hot and humid temperatures. However, from May-July the country is actually in its winter and weather-wise this is actually the worst time to visit. The temperature generally peaks at 20C, and hits a low of 8C with around 65mm of monthly rainfall.

CRIME

According to the Foreign Office, two major scams exist in the country. The primary scam is the cloning of cards when at ATM machines, where thieves pose as helpful passers-by or bank workers, in order to clone cards. The other is carjacking, where people pose as broken down drivers seeking help, when in reality they are looking to drive off in yours!

FOOTBALL: A UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE

Though football is a game that unites many continents and nationalities, it should be remembered that sometimes travelling to a foreign World Cup can be a bit of a culture shock. That was certainly the case in 1966 when interpreters had to be called out to a Sunderland tourism bureau after a group of Italian fans became agitated that their requests to see the Loch Ness monster were not being met.

TRAVEL STORY ARCHIVE

City of light and love
Although there is never
6/2/2011
The Vegas of the Med
As a regular visitor
8/2/2011
Heading south
Got tickets for one
9/6/2010
Phoenix from the flames
Warsaw has risen from
10/5/2010
Melbourne bound
Poker travel agent and
24/3/2010
Best of Bohemia
Having busted out of
13/1/2010
Viva Sevilla!
Time for some culture
1/12/2009
Bier o’clock
Gambling editor Chris Lines
22/10/2009

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