As a fairly new resident of South Africa, I was excited to attend the FIFA World Cup draw on Friday, December 4, when the 32 participating national teams get drawn into 8 groups of four. This is an important development from a travel planner’s perspective, because now travelers coming to South Africa for the event will know where and when they want to be to see specific matches – and travel planners begin the mad dash to secure accommodations and transportation for them.
I was expecting the streets of Cape Town to be crowded but they were absolutely packed – and not surprisingly, most of the attendees seemed to be fans of the South African national team, as they were proudly decked out in Bafana Bafana shirts. There was a huge street festival on Long Street with screens that projected the draw live and an enormous stage featuring top South African bands playing all day to create an even more festive atmosphere. Artists included Freshly Ground, Jimmy Dludla, Cassettee, TKZee, and Francy Galanda. There were also lots of cultural performances throughout the day but most people were focused on the draw. Though many of the streets were closed and there were tons of people, it was a very peaceful and enjoyable event.
Cape Town was looking absolutely gorgeous and very cosmopolitan already! In many ways, this felt like the “kick-off” for the World Cup activities and all of Cape Town seemed to want to be a part of the action – families with kids, fashionistas, music lovers…everyone descended on Long Street and had a great time. The World Cup is a huge deal for South Africans, who are very proud to have the opportunity to host such an important event. For my part, I was very excited to obtain tickets to the Italy vs. Paraguay, Portugal vs. Korea and England vs. Algeria matches. Being Italian, I am of course most looking forward to the Italy vs. Paraguay match. Now the countdown to the event begins!!