Bound for World Cup With 100,000-Plus Americans? Take This Advice

Relax and enjoy South Africa's many offerings, but be smart.

May 14, 2010, 7:01 AM

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 14, 2010— -- 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.

And CLICK HERE to Read About World Cup-Bound Americans as They Prepare, With Some Trepidation


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.

Infrastructure will be quite familiar, particularly in the host cities. Businesses have taken great pains to make sure they are tourist-friendly, and that means accepting credit and debit cards. For those services that won't accept a card, such as some gas stations, cash is quite easy to come by. There are many banks that offer ATM machines in South Africa that usually take international bank cards from both Visa and Mastercard (a rarity in the rest of Africa). So, in terms of packing and planning, your needs won't be too much different than if you were travelling to Europe

World Cup Tips


Don't leave valuables, purses, phones, etc., on the seats of your car or in your lap. While the risk of being all-out car jacked will likely be much lower because of the sheer number of people and police officers around, traffic will be an issue. An exposed valuable is an excellent target for a "smash and grab" where someone either reaches into your car window, or in some cases smashes it to steal the article.

Always keep your car doors locked.

Visit ATMs inside malls, hotels, restaurants or shopping centers when possible.

Don't walk around wearing a lot of expensive jewelry; beware of pickpockets.

Try not to walk alone at night, and if you do make sure it's within a crowd. There will be safety in numbers.

Don't be afraid to ask a police officer or security personnel for help.

And if you want to make sure you see the entire match, make sure to give yourself several hours to get to the stadium, get through security and take your seat.

Also, whether you are driving, taking a taxi or public transportation, remember that tens of thousands of people are going to the exact same place, at the exact same time. Which leads to....

There will be heavy police presence, and there's also the American Embassy with consular offices throughout the country that you can, and should, register with before traveling. Here's the link to register online.

Remember that South Africans are excited and proud of hosting the World Cup. They want to show the world what an amazing place South Africa is; so let them, and be amazed for yourself.

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