With less than a month until 2010 World Cup, the biggest sporting event in the world with hundreds of thousands of fans attending and billions watching, all eyes will be on South Africa, the host country.
U.S. soccer fans have made up the bulk of ticket holders but, understandably, have some concerns about going to a country so far away with a less-than-stellar reputation.
With all the media reports on whether the African nation is ready for such a large event, ABC News wants to give fans a little cheat sheet of "do's and don'ts" to help make their World Cup experience truly other-worldly. The month-long event starts June 11.
Take advantage of public transportation. Each of the nine host cities has a public transportation plan to get spectators to and from matches. In the larger cities such as Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, for instance, there's a commuter train that picks up at various locations across the cities and goes directly to the stadiums. There are various park-and-ride and public bus plans as well. Check out the transportation breakdown for all of the host cities HERE.
Bring some warm clothes. Despite the tournament's taking place in June and July and on a continent people typically think of as being oppressively hot, South Africa gets pretty chilly during this time of year. It's actually the country's wintertime. This is especially true for Cape Town, which literally sits at the very southern tip of the entire continent. Temperatures during the World Cup could be as low as 45 degrees, so make sure you bring a jacket or at least a sweater.
Look for last-minute deals. If you haven't already booked your accommodations, don't despair; deals can still be had. Several travel companies throughout the world have offered World Cup packages that haven't been as popular as they hoped, and now they may be ready to bargain. Contact a local travel company and see if it has any accommodations as part of packages that haven't sold. You might be surprised at the deals you'll find.
See more than just soccer. South Africa is an incredible country with an even more incredible history. In every host city, there are cultural and natural sites that anyone traveling there would be remiss not to see. In Johannesburg, a trip to the apartheid museum, which is running a special exhibition on Nelson Mandela, is an absolute must-do. Exploring the historically- and culturally-rich township of Soweto, these days more like a hip suburb, is also worth doing.
In Cape Town, try to book a tour of the infamous Robben Island prison, which housed Mandela and other anti-apartheid activists for nearly 30 years. (You may need to book your spot now before you go.) Cape Town has often been called one of the most beautiful cities in the world and for those who don't mind the trek, or the cold, a hike up to Cape Point will reward with breathtaking views, and you can always reward yourself with some amazing wine. The area sports world-class vineyards.
And don't forget about the wildlife. Just a few hours outside of Johannesburg lies Kruger National Park, famous for its large abundance of the "Big 5" for safaris: Lions, elephants, cape buffalo, rhinos and leopards.