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SoYoure coming to Africa for the FIFA World Cup

Here's what to expect when you get off the plane. in the year 2010. Well for one thing, get used to the "Vuvuzelas"; you're going to be hearing a lot of them. Come to think of it, you might as well get one for yourself. As the old saying goes.

"if you can't beat em, you'd better join em". What is a Vuvuzela anyway? Roughly translated it means "noise maker", which describes exactly what these elongated indigenous trumpets do. Recognized as a popular symbol of our soccer crazed culture, Nelson Mandela ordered hundreds of Vuvuzelas to be taken to Zurich in support of South Africa's bid for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

So far, they seem to have worked like a charm. Now that South Africa's got the ball, what are we going to do with it? For starters, President Thabo Mbeki plans on kicking around at least 100 billion Rand in honour of the beautiful game. Thirteen stadiums have been proposed, with venues located in key cities around the country, five of which are in the process of being built, another five are being renovated and a further three are almost ready. Making sure transport is up to scratch, 700 dedicated World Cup buses are expected to operate between the venue cities. At least 250 coaches, dedicated to the World Cup, will offer long-distance links between the venues.

In addition, special rail services are ready to transport fans to the thirteen state-of-the-art stadiums across the country. A quick profile of the three major host cities: First stop! Jo'burg's Soccer City Your first World Cup destination will in all likelihood be in Johannesburg, where the opening match will be played. The city of Johannesburg has already hosted several large sporting events. The Rugby World Cup final, played at Ellis Park and the final of the African Cup of Nations, which took place at Soccer City. You can expect modern venues with all the trimmings. The first matches will be played between both of these world-class venues.

The opening match at Soccer City, otherwise known as the FNB Stadium, will mark the start of the tournament. The other venue is the 94,000 seat Ellis Park Stadium, which is a mere 15 minute walking distance from the City Centre. Here's a tip on where to accommodate yourself on World Cup kick-off day: FIFA's headquarters are going to be based in the suburb of Sandton, with games being played between the two venues, Ellis Park and Soccer City. It might be a good idea to find accommodation between the two stadiums, namely Sandton if possible, this will ensure you have convenient access to the venues.

Which city hosts the next game? Although nobody knows for sure at this stage, it's highly likely that Cape Town's Newlands Stadium will be hosting the first and second round matches of the World Cup. Cape Town or just the "beautiful city" is no doubt a venue that has it all. The city sports a vibrant array of beaches, mountains, wine estates and a cosmopolitan atmosphere. The Newlands Stadium has been around since the mid-1880s and has hosted the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

Its security, parking and administration capabilities have regularly proven worthy of many major sporting events. The Newlands area is central to the best pubs, sports bars and restaurants in Cape Town. The stadium is literally just over the tracks from a major brewery. Capetonians are known for their festive spirit and the atmosphere is expected to be anything but bland.

Finding a place to stay won't pose any problems. Most areas are within 30 minutes of Newlands, including the airport. As mentioned earlier, the stadium is next to the train tracks and directly opposite the train station, so you can catch a train from Cape Town Station to Newlands, which is only 8km away, in less than 20 minutes.

Plus you don't have to do the driving after the festivities. Durban is to host World Cup opening ceremony Durban will be hosting the opening ceremony in 2010 and the Kings Park Stadium, which has won critical acclaim from visiting officials and the media, has been nominated as the location for the semi-finals. The stadium stands less than a kilometre from the Indian Ocean allowing matches to be played in the luxury of warm Durban evenings.

Kings Park Stadium is roughly ten minutes drive from the main hotels and the railway system is linked from the city centre to outlying residential areas. Although Durban has been mentioned as the favoured host for the opening ceremony and match, Johannesburg has received the same kind of attention. At this stage there is stiff competition between host cities, which is a good thing as this will make sure the best venue get picked. Get ready for an African World Cup: Sun block, Passion, Vuvuzela. As kick-off time draws nearer and South Africa gets ready for a global sporting festival of gigantic proportions, the blast of the Vuvuzelas can almost be heard resounding through the air. 50,000 of them are now being sold every month.

South Africa is a country in transformation and we have come a long way since the changes began. Preparations and renovations are already underway, ensuring everything will be running smoothly and ready come 2010. Now the only big question left to answer is.

will you be? .

By: Gregory Hudson

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