Nine South African cities are host to the 2010 Fifa World Cup, with the tournament’s 64 matches being played in 10 stadiums, two in Johannesburg and one in each of the other cities.
The host cities are:
Johannesburg - The economic hub of Africa, Johannesburg is a bustling, sprawling city of contrasts, spread across the small but densely populated province of Gauteng.
Cape Town - South Africa's oldest and loveliest city lies in Table Bay on the Atlantic Ocean, in the south of the Western Cape province.
Durban - The warm Indian Ocean, beautiful beaches and the city's tropical climate make Durban one of the nicest places to be in the South African winter.
Pretoria - A quiet city north of Johannesburg in Gauteng, Pretoria is the capital of South Africa, and rich in history.
Port Elizabeth - The Friendly City lies in Nelson Mandela Bay on the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape province.
Bloemfontein - The capital of the Free State province, Bloemfontein is a pretty city with thousands of rose bushes and some poignant memorials.
Rustenburg - Tranquil jacaranda-lined streets belie the fact that Rustenburg in North West province is in one of the world's most heavily mined regions.
Nelspruit - The capital of Mpumalanga province lies in the fertile valley of the Crocodile River.
Polokwane - The capital of Limpopo province is ideally situated near the border of the wildlife-rich Kruger National Park.
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Johannesburg is the largest and wealthiest of South Africa’s cities, with a population of over 3.2-million - and growing fast. It is the capital city of the province of Gauteng, the economic heartland of South Africa, and lies south of the country capital of Pretoria.
Soccer City on the outskirts of Soweto is the flagship stadium for the World Cup, a huge structure modelled on the shape of the calabash, an African cooking pot. Built in 1987, Soccer City has been enlarged and completely transformed by a massive reconstruction, with the west stand the only remaining section of the original stadium. For the World Cup it will have a capacity of 94 500 seats, and 88 430 thereafter, making it the largest stadium on the African continent.
Ellis Park Stadium
Ellis Park in the inner city of Johannesburg is home to the Golden Lions rugby club and Orlando Pirates football club, and was the setting for South Africa's triumphant win in the 1995 Rugby World Cup. An existing stadium built in 1982, it underwent minor upgrades for the World Cup. Ellis Park has a capacity of 61 639 seats.
Johannesburg media contacts
+27 83 215 9745
+27 82 492 2424
Johannesburg is often compared with Los Angeles, with which it shares a similar sprawling topography, with tracts of housing arranged around widely dispersed commercial centres. Los Angeles covers more area, but it's a patchwork of independent local governments. Johannesburg is a single municipality that covers over 1 645 kilometres. One recent study concluded that if a resident of the southern-most area, Orange Farm, were to walk to the inner city, the journey would take three days.
The city’s wealth was built on the rich reserves of gold in the mineral-rich Witwatersrand ridge. Its beginnings are marked from 1886, the year gold was discovered. Johannesburg quickly became a gold-rush shanty town, and was barely in its teens when conflicting interests over who controlled its new-found wealth sparked a war that changed southern African history: the Anglo-Boer War. In less than 30 years the city had outpaced every rival to become southern Africa's major commercial centre.
Johannesburg was named after two commissioners, Johann Rissik and Christiaan Johannes Joubert, who confirmed the discovery of gold. It is also known by its local nicknames Joburg, Jozi and Egoli - which is also the title of a long-running South African soap opera.
Unlike many of the world’s cities, Johannesburg is not located near any natural resources or outstanding features: it has no ocean, no lake, no rivers and no mountains. But it is still in many places a pretty city, with its thousands of trees planted in pavements, parks and private gardens making it the largest urban forest in the world.
Because there are no mountains or estuaries to block growth, the city is a shapeless sprawl in which places of interest are often widely separated. There is no US-style city grid, but a ring of highways does provide some easily accessible points of reference for out-of-towners. The dominant forms of transport are the private car and the minibus taxi.
Johannesburg has a mild climate, neither humid nor too hot for comfort. In summer, which runs from September to April, the city offers warm African sunshine, often followed by brief but violent thunderstorms and then balmy nights. Winters run from June to August and are generally mild, with a few bitingly cold snaps.
The city is serviced by OR Tambo International Airport , the largest and busiest airport in Africa and a gateway for international air travel to and from the rest of southern Africa.
Johannesburg produces 16% of South Africa's gross domestic product, and employs 12% of the national workforce. It accounts for 40% of Gauteng's economic activity. While gold mining no longer takes place within the city limits, most mining companies have their headquarters in the city. A variety of manufacturing industries also operate in the city. Many banking and commercial companies are also located in Johannesburg and so is Africa's largest stock exchange, the JSE Limited.
Johannesburg has six major stadiums, four of which are equipped to host large-scale international events. The city has hosted numerous international events, including South Africa’s victorious 1995 Rugby World Cup, the 1996 African Cup of Nations, the 1998 International Association of Athletics Federation World Cup, the 1999 All Africa Games, the 2003 Cricket World Cup, the 2004 World Summit for Sustainable Development and the 2005 World Petroleum Conference.
Known as the Mother City, Cape Town is the oldest urban settlement in South Africa, founded by Jan van Riebeeck and his band of Dutch settlers in 1652. A popular destination for foreign tourists, Cape Town offers a wealth of attractions, from a rich cultural heritage to a bronzed beach scene, all nestled between the curve of Table Bay and the foot of Table Mountain.
Cape Town Stadium
Built from scratch in the beautiful suburb of Green Point, Cape Town Stadium has views of both Table Mountain and the ocean and, in the distance, Robben Island. Built on Green Point common and within walking distance of the popular V&A Waterfront, it has a capacity of 66 000 seats.
Cape Town media contacts
+27 82 465 4965
Cape Town is often rated as one of the most beautiful in the world. It was nominated as the world's leading destination in the 2005 World Travel Awards, and named the best destination in Africa. It was also voted the best foreign city in the UK's 2004 Telegraph Travel Awards.
Its long history gives Cape Town a rich cultural mix, from beautiful Cape Dutch homesteads and elegant Georgian townhouses to traditional dancers with painted faces performing in the city streets, the smell of spicy Malay cooking, the tang of a well-made wine, and the sound of the snoek horn advertising the wares of fish vendors.
The city’s best-known attraction is Table Mountain, accessible by cable car or on one of many well-marked hiking trails. The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is another favourite, with its shops, restaurants, music venues, nightclubs and hotels set in a working harbour with the mountain looming behind it.
Other attractions include taking a ferry to tour historic Robben Island, walking through an abundance of indigenous African flora at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens and visiting the Castle of Good Hope.
Magnificent beaches line the Atlantic seaboard - Clifton, Camps Bay and Llandudno to name just a few - and warmer waters can be found at Muizenberg, Fish Hoek, St James and Strand. The surfing is fantastic, and the diving cold but good.
The city has a mostly Mediterranean climate, with rain-free sunny summers and cold and wet winters. In summer, between November and March, the temperature can range from 20ºC to 25°C up to more than 40°C. Winter temperatures range between lows of 7ºC to 12°C, with highs of up to 30°C.
Cape Town is the economic hub of the Western Cape. It also has the primary harbour and airport in the Western Cape. The large government presence in the city, both as the capital of the Western Cape and the seat of the National Parliament, has led to increased revenue and growth in industries that serve the government. Cape Town hosts many conferences, particularly in the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
Cape Town is host to a number of major international events, which include the annual Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour, Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon, and Sithengi SA International Film Festival. It was also a host city for the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the 1996 African Cup of Nations and the 2003 Cricket World Cup.Useful links
Durban is South Africa's third-largest city in area, and the largest city in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. A subtropical city on warm Indian Ocean coast, its port is the busiest in South Africa, and the busiest container port in the southern hemisphere. It forms part of the metropolitan municipality of eThekwini.
A new stadium built near the beachfront, Durban Stadium has transformed the city's skyline. It has been designed as a multipurpose venue, with attractions such as restaurants, shops, an art gallery and children's play areas. There's also a cable car up its arch to a top platform providing panoramic views of the city and the ocean, and even bungee jumps from the top of the arch. Its total capacity is 69 957 seats.
Durban media contacts
Debbi-Lee Kelly (agency)
+27 82 808 8812
Durban began life as Port Natal, a remote trading outpost. In 1835 it was renamed in honour of British governor of the Cape Colony, Sir Benjamin D’Urban.
Today, the sunny east coast city is a popular year-round holiday destination, famous for its balmy climate and superb surfing and swimming beaches. It's not all fun in the sun: apart from being bustling harbour city it is also Africa's top convention city, with the Durban International Convention Centre ranking fourth among the world’s top conferencing facilities.
Being a coastal city with an always warm climate, Durban remains one of South Africa’s top tourist destinations, with many of its key attractions following an oceanic theme. UShaka Marine World, the southern hemisphere's largest marine theme park, is a must on any visitor’s to-see list.
For a taste of the real Durban there's the Victoria Street Market, offering African and Indian wares. The Warwick Avenue triangle is where herbalists and street vendors sell anything from traditional medicines and food to Zulu artwork, and Grey Street is a fabric buyer's mecca.
No visit to this sunshine city is complete without exploring the Golden Mile, a beachfront stretch where visitors can catch a rickshaw ride, buy curios or enjoy a seafood meal with a view of the sea.
Durban hosts many major international events every year, including the Dusi Canoe Marathon, the Comrades Ultra Marathon and the prestigious Durban July Horse Race. It was also a host city for the 1995 Rugby World Cup, 1996 African Cup of Nations, 2003 Cricket World Cup and the 2006 A1 Grand Prix.
Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa, lying north of Johannesburg in the province of Gauteng. Over 150 years old, it is a place of grand monuments, delightful architecture and lovely open spaces.
Loftus Versfeld Stadium
Loftus Versfeld Stadium is one of the oldest stadiums in South Africa. It has been used for major sporting events since 1903, and the first concrete structure, which could accommodate only 2 000 spectators, was built by the City Council of Pretoria in 1923. It has undergone minor improvements for the 2010 Fifa World Cup, and has a capacity of 49 365 seats.
Tshwane/Pretoria media contacts
+27 82 881 5610
+27 83 374 2061
Pretoria city is part of the larger metropolitan municipal area of Tshwane. It hosts the United Nations, and has the second largest number of embassies in the world after Washington, DC. The city prides itself on its beauty and cultural activities for its guests. It is a place of friendly citizens, with theatres, museums and art galleries.
It is a government-based city, home to many government head offices, but this does not make it dull and bureaucratic.
As the academic, scientific and technological capital of South Africa, the city has the most highly developed technology and research sector in Africa.
It boasts four universities and is home to a number of scientific institutes, including the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Institute, both recognised internationally for the quality of their work.
Pretoria was the capital of Paul Kruger Boer Republic, and has some architectural gems. The European influence of the first white settlers can be seen in the buildings around Church Square, which are all national monuments. Here you’ll find the Palace of Justice, the Old Capitol Theatre, the Paul Kruger statue, the Tudor Chambers, the "Ou Raadsaal" and the General Post Office, designed by John Cleland.
Above the entrance to Church Square is a clock surrounded by nude figures by renowned sculptor Anton van Wouw. The city centre also offers the Museum Mall, designed to give visitors a similar experience to that offered by the American Smithsonian Institute in Washington. On one end of the city is the Station Building, designed by Sir Herbert Baker, who also designed the graceful Union Buildings, where the Presidency is housed. The massive building, started in 1901 and completed in 1913, cost £1,180,000 – a fortune in those days.
The city’s most iconic structure is the Voortrekker Monument, immediately visible on a hillside on the approach to the city from Johannesburg. Erected to commemorate the Boers who trekked from the Cape Colony in search of their freedom in the 19th century, it has it has recently been joined on a neighbouring hill by Freedom Park, which commemorates the struggle against apartheid.
Pretoria has hosted many international sporting events, including the 1995 Rugby World Cup, 1996 African Cup of Nations, 1999 All Africa Games and 2003 Cricket World Cup.
Known as the Friendly City, Port Elizabeth lies in Nelson Mandela Bay on the windswept Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape province. One of South Africa's important seaports, the city is the largest in the Eastern Cape. It is known for its sunshine, temperate climate, exhilarating sea breezes and golden beaches.
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium was the first of South Africa's new 2010 Fifa World Cup stadiums to be completed. It has a capacity of 46 082 seats.
Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth media contacts
+27 71 675 9344
Port Elizabeth forms part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, which includes Uitenhage and Despatch, and is named after the Nobel Peace Prize winner and South Africa’s first democratically elected president.
The city’s economy is based primarily on the automotive industry with General Motors, Volkswagen, Ford and others operating from this area. Port Elizabeth is also the closest city to the Coega Industrial Development Zone.
Port Elizabeth has excellent and varied sporting facilities. Its many active sports clubs cater for bowling, golf, tennis, badminton, squash, volleyball, pool, darts, athletics, cycling as well as seasonal sports such as soccer, rugby, hockey, roller hockey, cricket, motor racing and more.
Major events the city has hosted include the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the 1996 African Cup of Nations, and the 2003 Cricket World Cup.
Bloemfontein is the judicial capital of South Africa, the provincial capital of the Free State and the largest urban centre in the Mangaung Local Municipality. A pretty, medium-sized city, it lives up to its name, which means "spring of flowers" in Afrikaans. There are thousands of rose bushes lining the streets, which create a wonderful spectacle most of the year, but especially in spring.
Free State Stadium
Home to the Cheetahs rugby team and Bloemfontein Celtic football team, Free State Stadium was built in 1952 and upgraded in 2008 to increase its capacity to 45 058 seats, as well as improve security, lighting and turnstiles.
Mangaung/Bloemfontein media contacts
Founded in 1846, Bloemfontein was the capital of the independent Boer republic of the Orange Free State until the Union of South Africa was declared in 1910, when it was made the judicial capital of South Africa. It is the site of the Supreme Court of Appeal.
There are a number of museums dedicated to subjects ranging from natural history to warfare. Probably the most poignant memorial is the Women's Monument, erected to commemorate the tens of thousands of women and children who died in British concentration camps during the Anglo-Boer War.
Bloemfontein is very conveniently situated as a stopover point between Cape Town and Johannesburg, and it is the closest major city to the Kingdom of Lesotho.
The city is a major event-hosting destination, with world-class sporting facilities, a developed infrastructure exist and numerous training facilities. International events it has hosted include the 1995 Rugby World Cup, 1996 African Cup of Nations and 2003 Cricket World Cup.
Its tranquil jacaranda-lined streets belie the fact that the Rustenburg area in North West province is one of the world's most heavily mined regions, with a wealth of platinum underground - 70% of world production.
Royal Bafokeng Stadium
An existing stadium, the Royal Bafokeng Stadium required only minor renovations for the World Cup. It has a capacity of 44 530 seats.
Rustenburg media contacts
+27 14 590 3300
+27 82 810 9981
Lying at the foot of the Magaliesburg mountain range, Rustenburg was established in 1851 as an administrative centre for a fertile farming area. The surrounding region produces citrus fruit, tobacco, groundnuts, sunflower seeds, maize, wheat and cattle.
Rustenburg was a host city during the 1995 Rugby World Cup, and also hosts the South African National Athletics Championships. Its stadium, the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, was built by the Bafokeng Nation, which owns much of the platinum-mining rights in the region.
Nelspruit lies nestled on the Crocodile River, near the border of Mozambique, and is a major gateway to the world-famous Kruger National Park.
With Nelspruit's proximity to the Kruger National Park, Mbombela has a quirky wildlife theme, with large giraffe-shaped orange girders facing outwards on its exterior, and funky zebra stripes on the seats inside. Built from scratch, the stadium has a capacity of 43 589 seats.
Nelspruit media contacts
+27 82 423 3330
+27 71 460 5246
Nelspruit is the capital of the province of Mpumalanga - which means "the place of the rising sun", which itself is the gateway to the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which stretches over South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique and includes the Kruger National Park. With its subtropical climate, abundant sunshine and lush covered hills and valleys, Nelspruit forms the ideal base from which to explore Mpumalanga.
The city has two airports, Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport and the Nelspruit Airport.
Major industries in the area include the canning of citrus fruit, paper production, furniture manufacture and timber. Its fertile soils and warm climate provide perfect conditions for the growing of citrus and tropical fruits, mainly mango, banana, avocado and also many varieties of nuts.
Polokwane, previously known as Pietersburg, is the capital city of Limpopo province.
Peter Mokaba Stadium
With a design inspired by the baobab tree, a common sight in Limpopo, the new Peter Mokaba Stadium has a capacity of 45 264 seats.
Polokwane media contacts
+27 83 380 9252
+27 82 200 5357
Polokwane is the largest city in the north and a major economic centre. It is a pretty city, with wide streets lined with purple-flowered jacaranda trees, colourful parks and sparkling fountains.
Polokwane, which means "a place of safety'", lies 60 km south of the Tropic of Capricorn and encompasses the vibrant communities of Seshego, Mankweng and other local townships.
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