South Africa is famous all over the world for many things, from its glorious beaches and amazing cuisine to its vibrant cities and spectacular diamonds. Millions of tourists flock here each year, looking to immerse themselves in the country’s diverse culture, experiencing the wonderful hospitality across the wealth of luxury hotels and resorts. One of the best things about South Africa however, is the country’s love for sport, and whether it be football or rugby, there’s always a game to go to, or a stadium to tour. If you’re thinking about holidaying in South Africa this year, here’s some of the top sporting venues and teams you simply must check out!
Coca-Coca Park (Ellis Park)
Built in 1927 and formally known as Ellis Park, Coca-Coca Park is one of South Africa’s biggest sporting stadiums, and an iconic part of Johannesburg. It hosted its first major match in 1928 when the All Blacks played South Africa, won by the New Zealanders, and was again the tournament final stadium in the 1995 Rugby World Cup Final, with the South Africans victorious. With space for 100,000 spectators, the stadium was rebuilt between 1979 and 1980, and was even listed on the stock exchange a decade later. Today, Coca-Cola Park is one of the world’s top venues, home to music concerts and a number of sporting events, with the Rolling Stones gracing it’s grounds on a number of occasions.
Bidvest Wanderers Cricket Stadium
Known across South Africa as ‘the Bullring’, this is the fourth largest sporting venue in the country, home to the Wanderers Cricket Club. Built in 1954, it can hold over 35,000 spectators and was only the third ground in South Africa to become a test cricket venue. It was also transformed into a test rugby ground during the refurbishment of Ellis Park, and it generated worldwide media attention in 1991 when South Africa made a return to test cricket. Over the years, more than 60 million rand has been spent redeveloping Bidvest Wanderers Cricket Stadium, there’s no doubt it remains one of the finest sporting venues in the country.
FNB Stadium (Soccer City)
This is South Africa’s national football stadium, and built in 1987, it has been home to some of the biggest and best matches in the country’s history. In 1997, the home team beat Congo in front of 100,000 people, and in 1996 it was the host of the first African Cup of Nations game. In 1990, it also staged the famous Nelson Mandela rally when he was released from Prison, again drawing over 100,000 South Africans!
This is the home stadium of one of South Africa’s most famous football teams, Orlando Pirates, and along with Kaiser Chiefs, they make the two most premier clubs in the country. In 2009, the stadium celebrated its 15th anniversary, and it was also a participating venue in the Fifa World Cup of 2010. With over 40,000 spectators flooding the venue every league game, this is certainty another must-see venue when holidaying in South Africa this year.