There are so many posts right now on which is the best city to base yourself for the 2010 World Cup (before we know where our teams are playing, if they make it - I'm Scottish!) that I thought I'd try and summarise my view.
Hopefully we can do a ‘Wiki’ approach – where all posters criticise, critique and contribute so I can summarise it as a tip that can be referred to in the future? It's intended to be a quick, un-biased view so please be constructive: I'm sure I've missed some highlights of your favourite cities. Also, everyone wants different things (budget, culture, party, daytrips etc.), so this is meant to be a general view for football fans.
I haven't attempted to comment upon Polokwane, Bloemfontein or Rustenburg because I don't really feel qualified to comment. However if you want to list your pros and cons for them, please do so.
> Proximity to large number of games. 4 stadiums within 1 hour (Soccer City, Ellis Park, Loftus Versfield and Rustenburg), 3 within a 4 hour distance (Nelspruit, Polokwane and Bloemfontien), Durban is 6 hours. Until you know where your team will be playing, this is the best ‘bet’.
> Opening games and finals. Soccer City stadium is the 'showpiece’ stadium.
> Because of above, likely to have most: fans coming; fan zones; party atmosphere.
> Big cosmopolitan city with great social scene anyway.
> Good connections (flights, roads) to all of SA (including Kruger and numerous other safari options) and where nearly all international flights land anyway. If want to combine with Botswana (e.g. Okavango Delta), Namibia or Zambia/Zimbabwe (Vic Falls) then most and cheapest flights.
> Gautrain (high speed train) from airport through centre of town.
> It will be sunny for 9 out of 10 days and but very cold (near freezing) most nights.
> Apartheid Museum, Lion Park, De Wildt Cheetah Research Centre, Cradle of Humankind plus Madikwe (3-4 hours) is good, malaria-free safari option.
> Reputation for crime - but perhaps actually not that different to other SA cities - and reputation worse than reality.
> Many of major, 'chain' hotels are already fully booked.
> Much of the accommodation (in the north of Joburg) is far from the Joburg city grounds (in the centre of town).
[Same as Joburg other than...}
> Accommodation cheaper
> Interesting history, historical buildings and different culture (very Afrikaans) - in my experience this is very friendly and generous to foreigners coming to experience SA
> Loftus Versfield is a great stadium for watching sport, and there are more obvious 'pedestrian' public areas for fans to get together, e.g. Hatfield Square.
> Public transport and connections to other cities and Joburg stadiums not so good, although presumably there will be transport put on for the World Cup.
> Relatively socially conservative - locals may not enjoy fans behaving 'badly'.
> Iconic city of SA and naturally very beautiful - if come to SA, have to see Table Mountain etc.
> Robben Island, climbing Table Mountain, Victoria & Albert Waterfront, Shark Diving, Whale Watching.
> Great beaches (see Cons: weather)
> Stadium in great location - close to city centre and in nice area
> Nearby winelands (great scenery, pretty villages, Cape Dutch architecture, great restaurants)
> Great restaurants
> Very set-up for tourists - many guesthouses, tour companies, hop on - hop off bus service
> Weather. Could be warm and sunny, but good chance will also be very wet and windy. The sea will be too cold for swimming.
> Expensive (for pretty much eveything a tourist will want to do)
> Distance from other games if your team isn't playing in Cape Town or qualifies to later stages.
> No good safari options nearby
> Weather. Should have best weather of all host cities - warm (if not hot), not cold at night and importantly the sea will be warm enough to be just about swimmable in.
> Social scene - if rugby games are anything to go by, the parties before, during and after the games (on the beach) will be the best in SA
> Nearest geographically to safari. Not necessarily Kruger (but southern Kruger isn't too far away), but Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, Thanda, Tembe, St Lucia, Itala etc. etc.
> Beach - in Durban and nearby. Including great diving and some surfing.
> Other attractions nearby - The Battlefields, Swaziland, The Midlands / Drakensberg
> 'Only' 6 hours drive to Joburg / Pretoria
> City itself is pretty unattractive (but nice green rolling hills).
> Most guesthouses are away from centre of town (may not be a bad thing).
> Not as set up for tourists as other locations listed - big hotels not too near the stadium.
> Nice, friendly coastal city with good beaches and great beaches nearby.
> Slightly better weather than Cape Town.
> Addo Elephant Park and Shamwari for nearby safari.
> Proximity to The Wild Coast for a more real 'African' experience, quiet beaches and dramatic coastline.
> Good range of reasonably priced guesthouses in city and surrounding area.
> Weather could still be wet and windy.
> Distance from other venues, although nice driving options to / from Cape Town.
> Accommodation may become very over-priced if a 'big' team (e.g. Scotland!) gets drawn there.
> Limited transport infrastructure for tourists.
> Relatively wealthy, friendly city with lots for tourists to do (mainly golf or safari-related).
> Although flights are likely to be very booked up (due to safari), the drives from Johannesburg / Pretoria and Durban are nice and very manageable.
> Weather - should be warm, if not hot.
> Small city so limited party scene (but will change with World Cup).
> Distance from other venues.
> Flights likely to be very expensive for distance covered and very booked up.
> The major advantage of location - Kruger - is also likely to be very expensive / fully booked.