Sports-mad South Africa punches above its weight in the global arena, particularly in the disciplines of rugby, cricket, golf, swimming and running. Behind this international success is a vibrant domestic sports scene, and there’s no better way to experience it than from the thick of the crowds.
t Kaizer Chiefs fans cheering their team on during a match at Soweto’s FNB Stadium
Football is South Africa’s favourite sport, whether it’s watching Bafana Bafana (the men’s national team) or taking part in a local kickabout. Join the excitable fans at a Premier Soccer League match – local derbys such as Soweto’s Kaizer Chiefs vs Orlando Pirates are particularly lively. If you can’t make a game, you can take a tour of the “Calabash”, Soweto’s iconic FNB Stadium.
Follow in the footsteps of South African golfing legends such as Ernie Els and play a round on one of the country’s world-class golf courses. For a challenging game in scenic surrounds, try the Fancourt Estate in George or Rondebosch on the slopes of Table Mountain. At Phalaborwa’s Hans Merensky Golf Course, you might even encounter big game.
There are few more appealing ways to enjoy South Africa’s sporting prowess than by soaking in the sunshine at a game of cricket. The national team is consistently strong, while first-class domestic competition comes in the form of the hotly contested Franchise Series.
South Africa is a rugby superpower, with a trophy cabinet that includes two World Cups. You can catch the country’s best in action at fixtures in the annual Super Rugby League (featuring franchise teams from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand), which invariably attract a passionate crowd.
South Africa is one of two countries to have hosted the football, cricket and rugby world cups.
Developed in South Africa by ox-wagon riders c 1750, the game of jukskei originally involved aiming a wooden yoke-pin at a stick planted in the ground to knock it down. The rules of this predominantly Afrikaner sport were formalized in 1939; a complex scoring system (3 for a hit, with additional points awarded to other teams after an unsuccessful pitch) requires the winning team to accumulate a total of 23 points exactly – any more, and they start right back at zero.