South Africa has never seen a sporting event on the scale of the World Cup before, and theyÃ¢ÂÂre very, very excited about it. Equally, the World Cup has never witnessed anything quite like South Africa. This will be a uniquely thrilling venue for the greatest tournament on earth.
But with a new continent comes uncertainty. WhatÃ¢ÂÂs it really like out there? Is it the all-singing carnival that the shiny adverts portray, or are the doom-mongers right about the countryÃ¢ÂÂs crime problems? Is it going to be a nightmare to get about? WhatÃ¢ÂÂs the accommodation situation really like? How are the stadiums looking?
There was only one way to find out. FourFourTwo travelled to the three cities that England will be playing at this summer Ã¢ÂÂ Rustenburg, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth Ã¢ÂÂ on a hectic five-day fact-finding mission. Notebook in hand, weÃ¢ÂÂve been to the stadiums. Inside the dressing rooms. And, indeed, inside the dressing room toilets.
WeÃ¢ÂÂve ventured into the townships. WeuÃ¢ÂÂve got drunk in a shebeen. WeÃ¢ÂÂve fed elephants, been savaged by insects, tried our luck in the casinos of Sun City, toured the wine country of Stellenbosch, had a braai with the locals and made sure that no stone of the bushveld was left unturned.
So if youÃ¢ÂÂre going out to follow England, read these blogs for our exclusive insider guide to the best of everything South Africa has to offer. If itÃ¢ÂÂs anything like our trip, youÃ¢ÂÂre in for a hell of a ride.
Getting thereWe fly in via Cape Town on the first leg of our adventure, although most visitors will pass through Johannesburg. While those watching at home will particularly enjoy this World Cup because of the time difference (South Africa is just one hour ahead), itÃ¢ÂÂs also a real boon for travellers. ThereÃ¢ÂÂs no bewildering jet-lag to deal with, and provided you can get some overnight kip on the plane, you can wake up fresh on the other side of the globe 12 hours later Ã¢ÂÂ particularly if you have your own pillow, eh Wayne?
FFT's hosts were Sun International, Southern AfricaÃ¢ÂÂs leading hotel group.