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2010 World Cup Travel Guide: Flying To and Around South Africa

June 4, 2010 at 1:07 PM | by | ()

Outside Nelspruit/Kruger Airport

All this week, we'll be giving you the low-down on the many venues of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. This five-part guide is designed to inform and ease the logistics of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see all the action, should you decide to get on the ball and go for it! Next up, how to get to the games!

Letís be real. Unlike previous "winters", flying to South Africa is unlikely to be cheap at this time due to the World Cup. Round-trip air from U.S. gateways like JFK, ATL and IAD on South African Airways,(donít forget their partnership with JetBlue!) are starting at around $2,000. Yikes.

But this may be the one time where the ultimate fan (and those still holding on to their tax return) may consider upgrading to the flat-bed outfitted biz class (some routes are just double economy fares) for the 16-hr plus flight ahead. Youíll get to sleep and then hit the ground running once you land. Hey, if youíre gonna go for it, donít do it half-assed.

Fares on Emirates, FIFAís "official" airline, are also starting at $2,000 a well from San Francisco, Houston, and Toronto to JoBurg or Cape Town via Dubai.

As with all airplane tickets, do some shopping around. Due to Matchís initial overestimating of visitors and their subsequent releasing of plane seat and hotel room inventory, there are more opportunities to score decent last-minute deals.

Domestic Transfers:
The 10 host cities can be hundreds of miles apart, so these transfers may be the most important part of your trip planning if you intend to game-hop. Tour operator packages usually include transfers to and from the various stadiums on game day, but usually means those ticket holders must stay in a single city.

But those not booking a package can fly discount carriers such as 1time, Mango Airlines and SA Express, to travel between host cities like Durban and Johannesburg. For example, itís a 17-hour drive from Cape Town to JoBurg, but only a two-hour, $65 flight via discount carriers 1time and Mango Airlines.

SA Express has also committed to offering 24-hour domestic operation on certain days during the tournament so no one gets stranded. And as of now there are still seats available.

Intercity Transfers:
On match days, free shuttle buses for ticket holders will run from major city's main bus terminals to the stadium. Airport-to-city service will also run 24/7 during the tournament.

Related Stories:
· 8 FIFA Stadiums and Their Big Games [Jaunted]
· 2010 World Cup Travel Guide: Inside Moses Mabhida Stadium [Jaunted]
· 2010 World Cup Travel Guide: How to Get Last-Minute Tickets[Jaunted]

[Photo: Chanize]Disclosure: Chanize Thorpe was hosted by South Africa Tourism on a recent assignment.

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