On our way North we stopped at the Polokwane Game Reserve (S23 56.261 E29 28.431) which is just to the South of the town and only a kilometre away from the new stadium that was built for the World Cup - we'd seen it in the process of being built 18 months ago.

As it was still very cold at night rather than camping we stayed in one of their rest huts - which happened to have a TV so we could watch some of the matches! We then discovered that the Argentine v Greece game was being played in Polokwane in a few days time so decided to get tickets.

In the afternoon of the Argentina v Greece match we went to the Fan Park in Polokwane (not far from the stadium and with walking distance of our chalet at the Game Reserve) as they were showing the South Africa v France game.

It was free to get in but you couldn't take in any food or drink - mind you at least they were serving South African beer and not just Budwiser.

There were thousands of South Africans there so the atmosphere was fantastic - and very noisy with all the vuvezelas but we'd taken the precaution of taking ear plugs with us!

When South Africa scored the fans went wild - jumping up and down and running around!!

The atmosphere at the Argentina v Greece game was also fantastic. There were THOUSANDS of Argentinean fans there, they must have outnumbered the Greeks by 10 to 1.

Once again I spent as much time watching the crowd as I did the match,



On a couple of occasions we had a drive around the game park and saw quite a few animals including rhino, giraffe and sable antelope.

There were plenty of Grey Go-away birds around the chalets - they do really seem to be saying 'go-wayyyy'!!


These 2 giraffe walked across the dam and came quite close to our truck before heading back into the bush.

One morning we visited the Bakone Malapa Open Air Museum (S23 59.352 E29 27.532) which was very interesting.  Our guide, Martin, explained that it was to show the old and new way of life of the Bakone people.  The new houses tended to be rectangular and made from breeze blocks whereas the older ones were circular and were much lower.

Old house.

New house.

We were also shown some of the skills of the Bakone people.

Tin smithing.

Drumming and singing.

Also based at the museum for the duration of the World Cup were 3 people from the Kwesukela Story Telling Academy based in Jo’burg.  After an introductory song we heard one lady tell a fascinating story about a slave and his owner with the morals being

1. That wisdom is more useful that good looks and

2. That the tongue can do great harm but can also do great good. 

The story was superbly told with excellent use of voice and actions.  After another song we heard a football related story – again very enjoyable. 

Johannesburg, Pretoria and Rustenburg


Diary (Word '97 document)

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