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 For Many US Veterans, the Vietnam War Continues

    More than 40 years after it ended, war in Vietnam and America’s role in it continue to provoke bitter debate, especially among those who fought in it

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    100 immigrants graduated Friday as US citizens in New York, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in cities across country

    Family's Fight Pays Off With Arlington Cemetery Burial Rights for WASPs

    Policy that allowed the Women Airforce Service Pilots veterans to receive burial rites at Arlington had been revoked in 2015

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora