News / USA

    American Touring South Africa Finds Excitement and High Prices

    U.S. Tourist Chad Coleman
    U.S. Tourist Chad Coleman
    Parke Brewer

    Most visitors to South Africa this month are in the country for the World Cup, and between football (soccer) games are getting in some sightseeing.  

    Chad Coleman is from Portland, Maine, in the northeast corner of the United States.  He works as a car painter in a body shop and took three weeks vacation to travel to South Africa with two friends.

    They wanted to see sites around the entire country, but planned their trip close to the period of the World Cup because they wanted to experience at least a few days of the excitement.

    They rented a small car, a GPS system to provide directions and traveled from Johannesburg, northeast to Nelspruit, over to Durban on the east coast, then southwest for stops including Port Elizabeth, George, Cape Town, and then back north to Johannesburg.  Among their adventures were a safari to see the wildlife, going to the highest commercial bungee jumping spot in the world, viewing great white sharks in a protective cage and touring a winery.

    Because they wanted to be as flexible as possible, Coleman said they primarily found places to stay as they went from city to city, mostly in hostels and bed-and-breakfasts.

    Just before leaving the United States for South Africa, Coleman went on the Internet to see if by chance he could find any tickets for sale for the opening match between South Africa and Mexico.

    He did, but they were the top-priced, Category 1 tickets, in the 10th row right behind the South African team bench.  Coleman said they were $600 dollars each, but to buy them you also had to pay for three nights in a hotel in Johannesburg, which was an additional $200 per night.  His friends agreed with him that they should do it.

    So, was it worth it?

    "Oh, of course. I mean I am from New England and I see the (Boston) Red Sox (baseball team) on a regular basis.  I have paid more than that for Red Sox tickets for OK (non-playoff) games.  We have actually commented on how inexpensive our opening game tickets were for what we were seeing and the excitement around it,"says Coleman.

    Coleman told VOA what it was like being at the opening match. "Everybody was rooting for South Africa.  Everybody wanted them to win.  (It was) just amazing, louder than any sporting event in the United States I have ever been to.  The vuvuzelas were amazingly loud.  We had our own.  The excitement when everything was going on was just crazy.  You could not even explain how excited everybody was and how proud everybody felt," he says.

    Chad Coleman said he and his two companions bought their own vuvuzelas, the long, noisy plastic horns that are so popular in South Africa.  They purchased them from a vendor near Soccer City Stadium, paying only about $1 each.  Coleman said someone showed them how to blow them because it is a bit tricky. "Everybody that first tries them looks like they are just spitting into them, because you expect it to just naturally happen.  But it takes a little bit of shaping of your mouth actually to get it to make the noise and get it to work out.  But once you do, it is kind of addicting," he says.

    But Coleman added this precaution with vuvuzelas. "We did it through the whole game, so much so that my friend actually wore a spot out of his lip.  It was bleeding and he got a scab because he used it so much.  He was so excited to be using it constantly," he says.

    While they may have paid only $1 for their vuvuzelas, Chad Coleman said he and his two friends noticed a huge change in other costs once they returned to Johannesburg for the start of the World Cup. "When we got here we were finding hostels from anywhere between 150 and 250 rand (approx $21 to $35) per night, changing until anything after the 12th (of June) was going to go to 650 to 750 rand (approx $93 to $107)," he says.

    But Coleman added it is not just the lodging costs that are now higher. "Even the people that were running the tours for Kruger National Park (where you see wildlife) were explaining to us that their costs have to go up because the companies that rent them their Jeeps are going to charge more.  The National Park is going to charge 100 rand ($14) more per person entering the Park.  So everybody across the board has been charging more, even down to drinks as we came closer to the World Cup, paying from eight rand per drink (just more than $1) up until now paying 15 to 20 rand per drink (more than $2 to $3)," he says.

    Chad Coleman says he and others he has talked with have commented on how much the cost to hire taxis has increased now that the World Cup is under way, with prices often triple the norm.

    So he and his friends are happy they did the bulk of their touring before all the football action began.  They will watch the rest of the World Cup in the comfort of their homes when they arrive back in the United States on Tuesday.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.