Saturday, June 13, 2009

World Cup Inspires South African Vacation

Soweto lies on the southwest fringe of Johannesburg, and this township has witnessed major changes in recent history, from the apartheid to the current World Cup preparations for 2010. Named with a combination of "southwestern" and "township" by town officials, Soweto happens to be soccer-crazy, with three stadiums and the best teams in the area. Two of the stadiums have already been refurbished for World Cup practice, and Soccer City, built on the outskirts of Soweto, has been designated for the opening game and finals play. Hotel rooms are already being booked all over Johannesburg for the World Cup 2010, and many bed and breakfast owners in Soweto have been full for some time.

Have you ever considered visiting Johannesburg? Whether or not you make it for World Cup 2010, The Westcliff Hotel is a smart place to stay. Located in the northern region of Johannesburg, the hotel features 115 individually-appointed and furnished rooms, and many of them have sunny, private balconies for your enjoyment. Soak up some South African flair while alternating between the two heated swimming pools, the plunge pool, the tennis court, and the team of personal trainers at the gym. On a day trip out in town, you'll be surprised at how much there is to do. Johannesburg is not well-known as a prime tourist destination in South Africa, but the vibrant city is one you just might come back to again and again. Kick off your self-guided tour with the city center, which has plenty of traditional African wares and produce for sale along the streets by salespeople. Use your city smarts as you browse for a safe shopping experience, and then check out the observation deck at the Commission Streets Carlton Centre. Look off into the distance at the yellow hills, which are actually mine dump hills, which have a great drive-in at the top if you have a vehicle or a car and a driver.

The center of Johannesburg is just the beginning. Leaving the city center, head to Newtown, which has tons of galleries, coffee houses, and cultural areas like Museum Africa and the French Institute of South Africa. Little India is nearby as well, so grab some naan to snack on while you browse the fabrics, spices, and more. Later, book a visit with a tour group to Soweto, and watch a soccer game with your group. Nelson Mandela's former home happens to be located in Soweto, and that's now been converted to a museum. It's a must-see stop before you leave Johannesburg for a taste of the country, and solo sports like hiking.

After a dose of culture in Johannesburg, going off to Franschhoek Valley is a great break. La Residence is an all-inclusive destination that happens to offer Exclusive Complimentary Perks through La Residence offers 30 acres of rolling hills and pastures, and it happens to feature world-class service accented by lavish rooms and beautiful views. With only 11 furnished suites, you'll feel like you're the only one staying in this valley famous for its fruit trees, vineyards, and mountainous terrain. South Africa is a land of contrasts, and experiencing the stunning views around this hotel after navigating the city will be unforgettable.

From city sports to countryside cruising, South Africa offers a lot for visitors. Where will you stay?

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