The 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup will open on 11 June 2010 in Johannesburg. This will be the first ever Cup to be held on the African continent. The World Cup matches will be played on ten stadiums, located in nine cities across South Africa, capitals of the country’s nine provinces.
Here is a quick guide to the nine cities hosting the world's biggest sporting event:
Johannesburg is South Africa’s largest city and provincial capital of Gauteng, the economic hub of the country. This is where the opening ceremony and World Cup Final will take place. This cosmopolitan, vibrant city is also known as Jozi, Egoli, Jo’burg and City of Gold. There is plenty to look forward to on a trip to Johannesburg. Enjoy the day at the Zoo or take a tour of some of the art galleries in the city. If you love night life, there are numerous bars and night clubs to choose from.
Pretoria is the administrative capital of the country. This city is home to many historical monuments. It boasts beautiful architecture and attractive purple-blossoming jacaranda trees. The nearby Groenkloof Nature Reserve is worth a visit, as is the city’s Zoo.
Cape Town, also known as Mother City, is the legislative capital of the country and a very popular tourist destination. Many consider Cape Town to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The scenery around it is certainly unsurpassed. All in all – plenty to see!
Durban is the third largest city in South Africa and host city for one of the two soccer 2010 World Cup semi-finals. This is a great destination for those who love sub-tropical climate. Nested by the Indian Ocean, this city boasts a number of attractions including uShaka Marine World, one of the largest aqua marine parks in the world.
Nelspruit is the capital of Mpumalanga and has a population of less than 250,000. This city is located in an area blessed with outstanding natural scenery. This is a city for nature lovers. Famous spots like Kruger National Park, Blyde River Canyon and God’s Window are within easy reach.
Rustenberg is situated in the North West province of South Africa. This city is home to the fourth largest National Park in South Africa, the Pilanesberg National Park. Less than an hour away is Hartbeespoort Dam, the perfect weekend getaway. A little further from the city is one of the most popular destinations in South Africa, Sun City, which guarantees an unforgettable casino experience.
Port Elizabeth is known by its immaculate beaches and entertainment areas located on the beachfront. Close to the city are the Addo National Park, a home to over 450 elephants, and Kragga Kamma Game Park, which has a variety of wildlife, from white rhinos to buffalos and cheetahs.
Bloemfontein is situated at the heart of the Free State Province. Known as artistic city, Bloemfontein is the third (and last) capital of South Africa. This is the seat of the judicial branch of national government. Bloemfontein literally means 'fountain of flowers' in Afrikaans. The National Museum houses one of the most extensive collections of fossils and archaeological artifacts in South Africa.
Polokwane, which means 'place of safety', was previously known as Pietersburg. It is situated at the centre of the Limpopo Province, famous for its gigantic baobab trees. One of major tourist attractions is Makapan's Cave, a site relevant to the human evolution and the appearance of modern man. The Cave of Hearths is one the best-preserved Stone Age sites in the world.
Photo: Rodger Bosch, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com