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Let Football Nights plan your World Cup South Africa travel

Submitted by on April 12, 2010 – 4:17 pm

Are you going to South Africa for the 2010 world cup soccer tournament. If not, why not? The good news is, if you haven’t made your travel plans, it’s not too late. If you’re not sure where to start, help is at hand.
By Wanda Hennig

South Africa right now is a great big fabulous party waiting to happen.

2010 World Cup soccer South Africa accommodation

The Football Nights team.

No, I’m not blind to some of the more controversial news stories of the past weeks. But for heavens sake, look at the news from the rest of the world (including the United States). A perfect day without incident never made news. This might sound obvious, but I think we can lose perspective.

The fact is, South Africa has spent $4.6 billion to host the soccer World Cup that will kick off with or without you on June 11, 2010. (Not without me, in case you’re wondering.) The money includes the building of and / or refurbishing of 10 state-of-the-art football stadiums.

The figure does not include all that private individuals and cities are spending on upgrades and facelifts.

For soccer fans, World Cup South Africa 2010 is a good time to go to South Africa for obvious reasons.

For those not so keen on football, it’s a good time to go to piggyback — on the infrastructure; to be part of the buzz; to enjoy the party; and in between, to go partake of more remote South African gems that will offer good bargains. No business, safari operator, or anyone else, will want to miss out.

Fifa World Cup South Africa 2010The good news is:

  • Yes, you do still have time to book match tickets.
  • Yes, you do still have time to book flights.
  • Yes, there are world cup accommodation packages to match your budget.
  • Yes, you can combine your World Cup travel with any number of amazing sightseeing excursions and vacation packages; city trips; arts and culture tours; safaris; wine and food experiences; health and wellness options; think of what a perfect holiday would look like. Chances are, you’ll find it — and with South African flair.

Does South Africa seem remote? Do you feel out of your depth about where to start organizing a trip? Have you heard worrisome stories that are keeping you on the fence?

You’re in luck.

South Africa is famous for its hospitality, as anyone who has been there will tell you.

Conversely, there are South Africans who can be after a quick buck.

You maybe saw recent stories on price-gauging investigations. There have also been ticket scams and accommodation scams.

Zulu man with umbrella, South Africa

Keeping cool near Durban. Pic Wanda Hennig

I recently was sent a url link to an “accommodation” website via Twitter. When I looked at the grand Durban “where to stay” option, which their site (which I’m sure they had just set up) said was conveniently close to the center of the city, the one thing they listed was, in fact, a tent with a couple of beds way out on the Bluff.

Anyone familiar with Durban (my home town) will know that the Bluff is miles from the center of Durban, and miles from the soccer stadium, and pretty inaccessible, and not where anything “happening” will be happening during the World Cup. Scary stuff.

My daughter, on the other hand, pointed me to the Football Nights Accommodation (FNA) website where she has listed her house for rent for the duration of he world cup. (Their teenage son will play in a U.K. cricket tour during the tournament and the family are going along to watch seeing all schools are closing for the duration of the World Cup.)

About FNA

Turns out FNA is owned by a Dave Varney, a South African hospitality industry veteran for going on 30 years and his son, Rijn Varney.

FNA was officially launched in December 2009 (planning goes back a couple of years) and jumped in to fill a gaping hole left when MATCH Services, the Swiss company that (world cup organizers) FIFA contracted to supply ticketing and accommodation for international visitors, relinquished booking rights for more than 450,000 room nights — leaving a lot of people inside and outside South Africa in the lurch.

World Cup South Africa entertainment option

World cup option: Having fun at uShaka on the Durban beachfront.

Small wonder FNA has a disclaimer on their website that reads: “Notwithstanding our respect & admiration for all of the official organizing bodies of this year’s World Cup, FNA has no direct or indirect affiliation with any of the official organizations.” Stories from South Africans abound of FIFA rules, regulations and information services that don’t work for Africa, in Africa, or at all.

The Varney father and son team know South Africa. They know what travelers want and need. They know what South Africans want and need.

FNA are currently servicing several major European football clubs, booking groups of between 150 and 400, and booking international guests on local luxury cruise ships.

  • If you check out the FNA website, you’ll see that they offer a comprehensive easy-to-use South African accommodation directory.
  • They work with large groups — and individuals.
  • They offer beds (many beds in every price range in all nine host cities and elsewhere; accommodation that ranges from private residences to hotels — from self-catering to fully-catered; from aboard luxury liners to tents (in good locations, secure and organized, and not on the Bluff) — to luxury homes, hostels and more).

To provide a complete one-stop solution, the FNA team has also forged links and collaborations with selected partners offering services designed specifically to provide visitors with ease, convenience, comfort and peace of mind. Services that include insurance, match tickets, flights, tours and transport; to mobile phones, concierge, security and safaris.

And check out their blog, Global Pillow, which offers information, ideas and advice, presented with color and humor.

*Tip: If you’re checking out websites in South Africa, spend some time investigating the “About Us” section before you part with your dollars. FNA have aligned with well known companies with roots for all their packages. And on their About Us page they have full disclosure on all who are involved. (That is, you can click through and check on them and know they’re legitimate.) By contrast, the site that offers the tent in the middle of nowhere has no “about us” page.

FNA is also serving a wider South African audience in terms of support, including teachers and craftswomen and beaders.

Contact Football Nights Accommodation (FNA through their website www.footballnights.co.za or phone them from the United States at 011-21-(0)11-277-0000.

Please leave your comments, suggestions and questions below.

No Comment »

  • Graham says:

    Nice piece — it needed saying. Security concerns are understandable but these incidents are way off the beaten track, far from any football venue. Also, police contingents from participating countries have been in SA some time, liaising with the SAP and satisfying themselves that security is up to scratch.

    Hey, I like the idea of a tent on the Bluff.

  • GONONDO says:

    MATCH: Now there are a bunch of money grabbing, FIFA-backed people trying to screw visitors for their last cent. MATCH has already been accused openly of distorting prices and slewing the story…….Yes, they have given back SAA airline ticket bookings and hotel accommodation. I am not surprised because the prices they were asking were just a rip-off and not a true reflection.
    It is very sad that the public have been bull-dusted into believing that all South Africans are out to rip tourists off…..By SA standards we find the prices severely inflated and beyond the reach of most average people here. However, even at inflated prices @ ZAR 7.30 to the US Dollar or ZAR 9.90 to the Euro…this place is a very reasonable holiday by world standards….

  • Ralph Trout says:

    Sounds like great fun!
    Maybe I’ll fly over & surprise someone!

  • Steffi says:

    People visiting Durban can expect a fantastic soccer stadium, beautiful sunny beaches, great accommodation, and a rollicking good time.

  • Dana says:

    Thanks for these links to a recommended source in South Africa. It looks like they have all the important services taken care of, like transport and security as well as accommodation.

  • Rosemary says:

    I’m still thinking of going. I wonder if there is still time. Sounds like this group have some good packages on offer.

  • Graham says:

    The weather in Durban is just perfect right now.

  • Debbi says:

    Thanks for the real time info on SA and the hosting of the World Cup. A traveler has to ALWAYS be wary of rip offs and scams no matter what country they are going to. Your entertaining and honest reporting is one we can trust, so thanks for telling it like it is. I can’t wait to hear more ….

  • Annali Greyling says:

    Do you still have an office in Pretoria?

  • Hans Petter says:

    Does FNA still exist and operate? If so, where?

  • editor says:

    I was wondering myself. The website doesn’t seem to be working. Will make some inquiries and get back with contact info if its available.

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