The world’s attention is focused on the Southern tip of Africa as the greatest football showpiece plays itself out on the fields and in the streets of South Africa.
But once the whistle has blown on 11 July 2010, it seems as though alot of happy fans will be coming back to the country for the game parks, beaches and sights and sounds of a country rich in diverse holiday opportunities.
As both Spain and Switzerland opened their World Cup accounts at the Durban stadium on Wednesday afternoon, with Switzerland grabbing a surprise win, the fans from both camps have been soaking up more than just the football extravaganza.
Raul Spreafico is in town to support Spain, it is his first visit to any country in Africa and he is very excited to be in Durban. He enjoys travelling the world and being in Africa is one of his highlights. ‘I’m not much of an extremist. I enjoy the calm and serenity of nature so Durban is perfect for me.”
"Durban is the place to be right now,’’ says Pontius Meier, clad in an all red outfit in support of his Swiss team. “For the past week I was staying at African Sunrise Lodge and I enjoyed the Phuthu breakfast and home-grown fruits. Tomorrow we are going to scuba dive at Ushaka Marine World Aquarium.”
Pontius’s friend James said, “It is my second time in South Africa but I have never been to Durban before, the beach is marvelous and it reminds me of the Spanish Riviera.”
Despite being in awe of the impressive arch that spans across the Durban stadium, it seems some of the Swiss fans have found their new favourite destination further North – toward the well renowned Kruger National Park in search of the elusive ‘Big Five’ of the lion, buffalo, leopard, elephant and rhino.
’’The first thing we did was visit the Kruger National Park, we heard so much about it and we wanted to see for ourselves said three Swiss brothers Ferdinand, Marcus and Rowan Kirsten.
“It was incredible to be surrounded by wild animals, even though I didn’t get to see the Lion, but other than that the people have been friendly,” said Stephane, a travelling fan from Switzerland.
Others plan to head to the mountains as well as the country’s pristine beaches.
“We came from Johannesburg and spent two nights in the Drakensberg Mountains and from here we hope to see the coastal areas of the country. Especially Cape Town and Port Elizabeth,” said Mikel Goldacena from Spain.
For some of the visiting fans this is not their first trip to South Africa.
“I used to work for a construction company back in 1974 and came to work in South Africa. I am amazed by the transformation since then. South Africa has done well for itself with this World Cup. I am proud to see so much change,” said Berner Roland from Switzerland. It seems that his World Cup visit has left a distinct impression on Roland who, “will definitely be back here in South Africa soon”.