World Cup 2010, South Africa
June 11 - July 11, 2010
South Africa will host the Federation International Football Association (FIFA) soccer World Cup June 11- July 11, 2010. The World Cup matches will be played in nine South African cities: Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Pretoria (aka Tshwane), Bloemfontein, Nelspruit, Polokwane, Port Elizabeth, and Rustenburg.
Note: The Department of State has released a Travel Alert for South Africa regarding safety and security issues related to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Update: Download the U.S. Mission to South Africa’s printable Emergency Contact Info Card.
The FIFA website provides additional information on the 2010 World Cup, including information on hotel accommodations, tickets, transportation, and advice for spectators. Please see the U.S. Mission to South Africa and the CDC travelers’ health websites for additional information on travel to South Africa to see, or participate in, the World Cup.
The most up-to-date information for U.S. travelers to World Cup 2010 can be found at the Department of State’s dedicated World Cup website.
If you plan to join other U.S. citizens travelling to South Africa for the tournament, early preparation is key. One of the most important preparations for your trip is to register in advance with the State Department or the U.S. Mission to South Africa.
By registering, American citizens make it much easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of an emergency. Additionally, please carefully review the following information, or download our World Cup 2010 Fact Sheet.
Anti-American violence is not typical in South Africa, although in the past there have been isolated incidents perpetrated by parties unhappy about U.S. foreign policy. Nevertheless, the Department of State remains concerned about the continued worldwide threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas. While there have been no specific, credible terrorist threats to the World Cup, in the post-September 11 world, the threat from international terrorist groups at major public events is always a principal concern. U.S. citizens planning to attend the World Cup are advised to use caution and to be alert to their surroundings at all times. This includes the periods immediately before and after main events. Travelers are encouraged to review the most recent Worldwide Caution issued by the Department of State. In particular, visitors to South Africa during the World Cup should be vigilant and avoid protests and demonstrations.
South Africa has seen a number of attacks directed at refugees or immigrants from other African nations in the last two years. Many of the attacks were centered in Johannesburg and the province of Gauteng in low income neighborhoods and informal settlements, but other incidents have taken place throughout the country. Many individuals were killed in these incidents and others, both targeted victims and bystanders, were injured. While there have been no reports of Americans or other non-African visitors being targeted, these incidents of mob violence have sprung up quickly and proven difficult for local authorities to control. American residents and visitors are advised to listen to local media for reports of such incidents and to avoid areas (primarily but not only in townships) where they may be likely to occur.Crime:
The vast majority of visitors complete their travels in South Africa without problems; however, visitors should be aware that criminal activity, often violent, is prevalent throughout the country. The government has in place a number of strong anti-crime initiatives, but violent crimes such as armed robbery, carjacking, mugging, "smash-and-grab" attacks on vehicles, and other incidents are still common and do affect visitors and resident Americans.
Visitors and residents are advised of ongoing criminal activity involving organized crime gangs targeting individuals at shopping centers and other public places. Once a victim has been identified, he/she is followed back to his/her residence and robbed. This is usually at gunpoint, although the use of force is generally reserved for those offering some form of resistance. These gangs tend to target people appearing to be affluent, including those driving expensive cars, wearing eye-catching jewelry, flashing large amounts of cash and/or making high-value purchases. Criminals also gravitate towards “soft” targets – people who appear preoccupied and do not pay attention to their immediate surroundings. Crimes against property, such as carjacking, have sometimes been accompanied by violent acts, including murder, when victims resist or are slow to respond to attackers’ demands. Visitors who believe they are being followed should travel directly to a police station or other public location.
South Africa has the highest incidence of reported rape in the world. Foreigners are not targeted but are still at risk. Victims of violent crime, especially rape, are strongly encouraged to seek immediate medical attention, including antiretroviral therapy against HIV/AIDS. Questions about how to receive such treatment should be directed to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
Criminal activity, such as assault, armed robbery, and theft, is particularly high in areas surrounding certain hotels and public transportation centers, especially in major cities. Theft of passports and other valuables is most likely to occur at airports, bus terminals, and train stations. A number of U.S. citizens have been mugged or violently attacked on commuter and metro trains, especially between Johannesburg and Pretoria. In the Western Cape, police resources have been strained by continuing gang conflicts and vigilante violence in the low income areas and informal settlements in Cape Town. People who are unfamiliar with the Cape Flats area, surrounding townships and squatter camps should not visit these areas. Additionally, travelers should be aware that muggings have occurred along some popular routes on Table Mountain, a prime tourist destination in Cape Town. Visitors to Table Mountain should be vigilant, hike in groups and not carry valuables.
While crime has decreased in Durban and the surrounding areas, visitors should avoid travelling in the city center and surrounding townships after dark. Tourists should also stay away from armored cars making cash deliveries to banks and other businesses, which are targets for criminals. The suburbs north and west of the city are considered to be safer than the city center, but all visitors should remain vigilant and exercise caution at all times.Information for Victims of Crime:
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in South Africa is 10111.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends, and explain how funds can be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.
See our information on Victims of Crime.ATMs: Criminals in South Africa have targeted Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). Incidents of credit card fraud, counterfeit U.S. currency, and various check-cashing scams have also been reported. Do not accept "assistance" from anyone, or agree to assist others with ATM transactions. Travelers should try to avoid using ATMs after business hours or in remote locations. When giving your credit card to a store or restaurant employee for processing, do not let the card out of your sight. Most South African restaurants have portable credit card machines that can be brought to your table.
Criminals also loiter near ATM machines and target persons withdrawing cash. Criminals have also used commercial explosives to blow up ATMs in South Africa. Based on these threats, the following security precautions are recommended:
Should you be confronted by an armed individual - immediately comply, avoid making sudden movements, and do not offer any form of resistance. Any hesitation on your part could be perceived as a threat and may result in unnecessary violence. Criminals do not discriminateFinancial Scams:
Visitors should also beware of telephone, internet, or email schemes which attempt to win the confidence of an unsuspecting U.S. citizen, who is then persuaded either to provide financial information or money, or to travel to South Africa to assist in a supposedly lucrative business venture. In 2009, there were several cases of U.S. citizens losing thousands of dollars and putting themselves in danger by responding to financial scams (also known as “419 scams”). Some have traveled to South Africa only to lose more money and sometimes be physically attacked. Click to view the State Department’s financial scam web page. If you have lost money in a financial scam, please file a report with your local police and with the Internet Crime Complaint Center. Victims can also report Internet fraud to the FTC online or by phone, toll-free, at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
To check on a business’s legitimacy while in the United States, contact the International Trade Administration, Room 3317, Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230, telephone: 1-800-USA-TRADE or 202-482-5149, fax: 202-482-5198. If you are abroad, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.Car Thefts and Carjackings:
Carjacking and thefts of property from cars are serious problems. Doors should be kept locked and windows rolled up at all times. Motorists are urged to keep bags, cell phones, and other valuables from view at all times and to be extremely cautious when approaching intersections. “Smash-and-grab” robberies are common throughout South Africa, particularly in urban areas, at traffic lights and on highway off-ramps. A criminal, sometimes posing as a vendor or beggar, will walk between lines of vehicles waiting at an intersection, surveying the contents for valuables. Once an item of value is identified, the perpetrator will quickly smash the window and grab the item off the seat before fleeing, often before the driver can determine what happened. In another scheme, an individual (or two working in tandem) may indicate to a driver an apparent flat tire or other problem and wait for the driver to pull over or exit the car before grabbing exposed valuables. Drivers should put anything of value (e.g., briefcases, purses, cell phones, etc.) in the trunk in order to avoid attracting potential assailants.
Criminals, often in groups, have placed large and/or sharp objects (rocks, bricks, shards of metal, etc.) in the road in an effort to puncture vehicle tires. Another, less frequently used tactic is for thieves to throw rocks and bricks from freeway overpasses onto moving vehicles to damage cars and disorient drivers. The thieves then rob the driver once he has pulled over to inspect the damage. Advice in such situations is to keep moving, even with a flat tire, until in a safe place to stop.Airport Thefts: There is a serious problem with theft from baggage at O.R. Tambo (Johannesburg) and Cape Town International airports. Travelers are encouraged to secure their luggage with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved locks, use airport plastic wrapping services, and avoid placing any items of value in checked luggage. Make an inventory of items in checked baggage to aid in claims processing if theft does occur.
South Africa has a robust private security industry. Anyone wishing to employ the services of the private security sector should verify the bonafides of a company through theU.S. International Trade Administration, Room 3317, Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230, telephone: 1-800-USA-TRADE or 202-482-5149, fax: 202-482-5198. If you are abroad, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
South Africa also has very strict regulations on importation of firearms, whether for personal use/protection or for hunting purposes. Additional information on this process can be found on the South African Police Service website.
For additional information on safety/security in South Africa, please see the following:
One way to make your foreign travel safer and more enjoyable is to inform yourself about what you will find when you arrive overseas. The Department of State publishes Country Specific Information for South Africa and all other countries in which you might choose to stop en route to or from the World Cup. Country Specific Information includes information on usual immigration practices, health conditions, minor political disturbances, usual currency and entry regulations, crime and security -- including risk of terrorism, and drug penalties.Registration: The Department of State urges you to register with the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban via our Internet-Based Registration System.
Registration will help us locate you in the event there is a general emergency or if someone in the United States needs to reach you about an urgent matter. Travel registration is a free service provided by the U.S. government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to or living in a foreign country. Registration allows you to record information about your overseas country of residence or upcoming trip abroad. You should also leave a copy of your itinerary, a copy of your passport data pages, and your contact information with family or friends.Ticket Scams: Those interested in purchasing tickets to the World Cup should make sure that they order their tickets from the official World Cup website or the U.S. Soccer Federation. Visit the FIFA Safe ticket website for additional information.
Due to its location in the Southern hemisphere, South Africa’s seasons are the reverse of the seasons in the United States and other Northern Hemisphere countries – summer in the United States is winter in South Africa. While the weather in June and July is typically dry with daytime highs often reaching the 60s and 70s Fahrenheit, nights can be cold, often down to the low 30s at higher elevations (for example, in Johannesburg). Rainy weather is also possible at all World Cup venues. Travelers are advised to dress in layers and be prepared for a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions.
Accommodations during the World Cup will be scarce. Many hotels are already fully booked and few, if any, hotels in the World Cup stadium site cities will have rooms available. The quality and reliability of public transportation in South Africa are significantly lower than in the United States, and arrangements for self-drive rental cars and cars with drivers may be difficult or impossible to make at the last minute. Travelers are urged to secure reservations for accommodation and ground transportation before arriving in South Africa.
MATCH Hospitality is FIFA's worldwide exclusive rights holder of the Official Hospitality Program for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. MATCH Hospitality has three sanctioned tour operators in the United States. They are:
South African law requires travelers to have one (1) blank (unstamped) visa page in their passport to enter the country. In practice, however, travelers may need more than one page as there have been instances in the past of South African immigration officers requiring travelers to have more. Travelers are, therefore, advised to have two blank pages; one for the South African temporary residence permit sticker that is issued upon entry, and an additional page to allow for entry and exit stamps for South Africa and other countries to be visited en route to South Africa or elsewhere in the region.
Travelers without the requisite blank visa pages in their passports may be refused entry into South Africa, fined, and returned to their point of origin at their own expense. South African authorities have denied diplomatic missions access to assist in these cases. As a general precaution, all travelers are advised to carry a photocopy of the photo/bio information page of their passport and keep it in a location separate from their passport.
Visitors to South Africa for tourism, short business meetings, or those in transit do not require visas for stays of up to 90 days. In the event a traveler overstays that period without a permit issued by the South African Department of Home Affairs, he or she may be subject to a fine of up to 3,000 rand (approximately 400 U.S. dollars). All others, including academics, students on educational trips, and volunteers, may need visas. U.S. citizens who intend to work in South Africa must apply for work permits before arrival; otherwise, they risk being refused admission and returned to their point of origin. It is strongly suggested that all travelers check the latest requirements with the nearest South African Embassy or Consulate before traveling.
Travelers entering South Africa from countries where yellow fever is endemic are often required to present their yellow World Health Organization (WHO) vaccination record or other proof of inoculation. If they are unable to do so, they must be inoculated at the airport in order to enter the country. Click here for a list of yellow fever countries.
Visit the Embassy of South Africa website for the most current visa information.
While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning South Africa is provided for general reference only and may not apply in a particular location or circumstance.
South Africans drive on the left hand side of the road, as in the United Kingdom (opposite side from the United States). Road quality is similar to the United States, as are road traffic rules, signs and courtesies. There is no left turn on red. Road signs are generally good but it is very important that visitors use either a detailed map book or GPS system for navigation. Street lighting at night is generally very poor, including on the highways. South African testing, limits, and punishment for drunk driving are similar to U.S. laws and will be actively enforced during the World Cup.
If a visitor is stopped by a marked police vehicle on the road, s/he should pull over to the side of the road in a safe area and await instructions from the police officer. Payment of any moving violations should only be made at a police station; instructions on payment will be identified on the citation. More serious violations (reckless driving for example) could result in arrest or detention and will most likely require a visitor to go to the nearest police station to have the citation written and paid. If a visitor is stopped by an unmarked police vehicle, s/he should go to the nearest well-lit, populated area before stopping.
South African law does not require an international driver’s license for American tourists who are licensed to drive in the United States and who are in South Africa for less than six months. A valid driver’s license from any U.S. state that is printed in English and has the signature and photo of the driver is valid to drive in South Africa for stays of less than six months. However, while South African law does not require an international driver’s license, insurance companies for both long-term residents and rental car customers often require proof of a South African or international driver’s license in order to honor an insurance claim, even when such proof was not requested at the time the policy was secured. It should also be noted that while international driver’s licenses are not required, there have been some car rental agencies that have refused to rent to people who do not have international licenses.
Travelers should use caution at all times when driving and especially avoid nighttime travel outside major cities. Road conditions are generally good in South Africa. However, excessive speed, poor lighting on rural roads, and insufficient regulatory control of vehicle maintenance and operator licensing have resulted in a high and increasing number of traffic fatalities. Drivers should also take care to avoid pedestrians crossing roads, which occur frequently on major highways.
Traffic lights are frequently out of working order. Please treat all intersections with malfunctioning traffic lights as a four-way stop.
Travelers are advised to carry mobile phones. U.S. mobile phones may not work in South Africa, but rental mobile phones are widely available and may be rented from kiosks at major airports. The nationwide emergency number for the police is 10111, and the nationwide number for ambulance service is 10177. It is not necessary to dial an area code when calling these numbers.Pedestrian Safety:
Take extreme care when crossing streets. Pedestrian deaths have occurred, including three cases in 2008-2009 involving U.S. citizen fatalities. Drivers are often aggressive towards pedestrians and fail to yield the right of way even in marked crosswalks.
The Department of State’s consular officers stand ready to assist U.S. citizens in a variety of emergency situations overseas, including lost and stolen passports, illness, temporary destitution, crime, or arrest. If a U.S. citizen becomes seriously ill or injured abroad, a U.S. consular officer can assist in locating appropriate medical services and informing family or friends. If necessary, a consular officer can also assist in the transfer of funds from the United States. However, payment of hospital and other expenses is the responsibility of the traveler, and hospitals normally request advance payment. Your medical insurance company can advise you on whether your policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as medical evacuation. More information can be found in the health section of the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs website.
U.S. citizen visitors to the World Cup should ensure their passports are well-protected and out of site. As a general precaution, all travelers are advised to carry a photocopy of the photo/bio information page of their passport and keep it in a location separate from their passport except when traveling. If your U.S. passport is lost or stolen, you will need to apply for a replacement at one of our U.S. Consulates General in Johannesburg, Cape Town, or Durban before continuing your travel abroad or returning to the United States. For more information, please see the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website.
U.S. citizens citizens who need financial assistance should explore commercial options such as Western Union or other money wire services, credit card advances, or automatic teller machines (ATMs) (please note that not all ATMs accept international credit cards). In emergencies, the U.S. Consulates General can help you contact family and friends to have them send money. For more information, please see the Department of State's webpage on Providing Financial Assistance to Americans Abroad.
Please note that the Department of State’s consular officers cannot act as travel agents, banks, lawyers, investigators, post offices, or law enforcement officers. They cannot find you employment, get you residence or driving permits, act as interpreters, search for missing luggage, or settle disputes with hotel managers. They can, however, tell you how to get help on these and other matters.
U.S. citizens traveling or living in South Africa are subject to the South African legal system and can be arrested for violating local law. The Department of State cannot have a U.S. citizen released from prison. However, U.S. consular officers can provide other types of assistance. For more information, please see the Department's flyer on Assistance to Americans Arrested Abroad.
Despite the best preparation, crises like natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or mass-transportation accidents can occur. For information on what you can do in a crisis and how the U.S. Government can assist you, please see the Department of State webpage on Crisis Awareness. The most important preparation for a crisis of this nature is to register in advance of your trip with the State Department or U.S. Consulates General via the U.S. Mission to South Africa or the Department of State.
Private medical facilities are good in urban areas and in the vicinity of game parks, but they may be limited elsewhere. Pharmacies are well stocked and equivalents to most U.S. medicines are available. If you are travelling with or will require medications, it is important to carry your regular medications in their original containers and a copy of all prescriptions, including the generic names for medications.
While most of South Africa is malaria-free, malaria risk exists throughout the year in rural low-altitude areas of Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces, including Kruger National Park and neighboring game reserves. Risk also exists in the coastal lowlands of KwaZulu-Natal north of the Tugela River (including in Zululand, but excluding urban areas of Richards Bay). In all risk areas, risk is much lower from June to September. Visitors should prepare accordingly and use malaria prophylaxis. For information on malaria, its prevention, protection from insect bites, and anti-malarial drugs, please visit the CDC malaria web page.
Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in South Africa. For further information, please consult the CDC's Travel Notice on TB. Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC’s web site. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website. Further general health information for travelers is available from the WHO.
Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Please see our information on medical insurance overseas. All travelers, but particularly those who have underlying or chronic illnesses, should consider purchasing medical evacuation insurance. Medical evacuations can be prohibitively expensive; U.S. citizens should weigh the costs/ benefits of such insurance carefully. Policies differ regarding their provisions so it is important to read them thoroughly.
Department of State's Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management
• Within U.S. and Canada: 1-888-407-4747
• From overseas: 001-202-501-4444
Department of State's National Passport Information Center
• Within the U.S.: 1-877-487-2778
• TDD/TTY from within the U.S.: 1-888-874-7793
• U.S. citizens overseas should contact the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for information about passports.
Normal business hours are 8am – 5pm Monday –Friday. After-hours emergencies should be directed to the duty officer.
Routine Consular services for Pretoria are provided by the United States Consulate General, Johannesburg
877 Pretorius Street, Arcadia, Pretoria
Duty/EmergencyTelephone: (27-12) 431-4000 (from South Africa 012-431-4000)
Fax: (27-12) 431-5504 (from South Africa 012-431-5504)
1 Sandton Drive (opposite Sandton City Mall just west of the intersection of Sandton Drive and Rivonia Road), Johannesburg
Telephone: (27-11) 290-3000 (from South Africa 011-290-3000)
Duty/Emergency after-hours telephone: 079-111-1684 (outside South Africa: +27 79-111-1684)
Fax: (27-11) 884-0396 (from South Africa (011-884-0396)
Consular jurisdiction: the Pretoria area and the Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West, and Free State provinces.
2 Reddam Avenue, West Lake 7945, Cape Town
Telephone: (27-21) 702-7300 (from South Africa 021-702-7300)
Duty/Emergency after-hours telephone: 021-702-7300 (outside of Africa +27 21 702 7300 )
Fax (27-21) 702-7493 (from South Africa 021-702-7493)
Consular jurisdiction: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and Northern Cape provinces.
The Old Mutual Building, 31st floor, 303 Dr. Pixley KaSeme Street (formerly West Street), Durban 4001
Telephone: (27-31) 305-7600 (from South Africa 031-305-7600)
Duty/Emergency after-hours telephone: 079-111-1445 (outside South Africa: +27 079-111-1445)
Fax: (27-31) 305-7691 (from South Africa 031-305-7691)
Consular jurisdiction: KwaZulu-Natal Province.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in South Africa is 10111.
254 Kingsway Ave
Mailing address: PO Box 333, Maseru 100, Lesotho
Emergency after-hours telephone: (266) 5888-4035.
Lesotho does not have a local equivalent to 911. In the event of an emergency, call (266)5888-1010 to speak to the police at any time.
Central Bank Building
P.O. Box 199
After Hours Emergency Phone: 268-602-8414
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Swaziland is 999.
U.S. Embassy Gaborone
Embassy Drive in the Government Enclave.
Mailing address: P.O. Box 90, Gaborone
Telephone: +267 395-3982
Fax: +267 318-0232
For after hours emergencies, please call +267 395-7111
Botswana has three numbers equivalent to the “911” emergency line. For police assistance, dial “999.” For an ambulance, dial “997.” In the event of a fire, dial “998.”
Located at:14 Lossen Street, Ausspannplatz, Windhoek
Mailing address: Private Bag 12029, Windhoek, Namibia
Telephone: (264-61) 295-8500
Consular Section: (264-61) 295-8527
Fax: (264-61) 295-8603 ; i.e., or via
After-hours emergency line: (264-81) 127-4384
Email the Consular Section
The local equivalent of a “911” emergency line in the city of Windhoek is 211-111. If calling from a mobile phone, dial 061-211-111
193 Avenida Kenneth Kaunda
Telephone: (258) 21 49 2797
Emergency after-hours telephone: (258) 21 49 0723
There is no local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Mozambique.
172 Herbert Chitepo Avenue
Telephone: (263-4) 250-593/4; Emergency After-hours telephone: (263-4) 250-595
Facsimile: (263-4) 250-343
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Zimbabwe for the police is the Harare Central Police Station at 777-777; for fire fighters 993 or 783-983; and for ambulance 994 or MARS at 771-221.
• State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website