The 2010 World Cup is driving a boom in construction, but beware the capital's crime levels

Who's out there

Davis Langdon, Bouygues Travaux Publics and Murray & Roberts are among the firms already headed to South Africa.

Who you need to know

Key clients are Airport Company South Africa, Anglo Platinum, WSP Ubunye Engineering Services, JP Morgan, Investec, Toyota, Hilton and Liberty International.

Where the action is

Construction work in this country is really all about the 2010 World Cup. Two of the biggest stadiums are being built in Johannesburg - Soccer City, which will have a capacity of 94,700, and the Ellis Park Stadium, which will have a capacity of over 60,000. The other eight venues are dotted around the country, with big projects in Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria. There is also the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link, an 80km mass rapid-transit railway system under construction that will link Johannesburg, Pretoria and OR Tambo international airport.

What to do

If you're driving, make sure your doors are locked, and when you're waiting at traffic lights leave enough room in front of you to edge out and drive away if necessary. Running a red light is not illegal if you are in reasonable fear of assault.

What not to do

Don't walk around alone, especially after dark. Johannesburg has a very high crime rate and the streets can be extremely dangerous. It is even worth trying to find a gated hotel complex to stay in, and it is advisable to travel in company or hired taxis, especially to and from the airport - once again, this is even more important after dark. And don't have unprotected sex - South Africa has one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world.


Golf is expensive, and most clubs in the city will only let you play if you are a member, but you can spend your free time walking and hiking at the Suikerbosrand nature reserve instead. Or you can get on a hop-on, hop-off bus that will take you all around the city showing you both the rich and poor areas - but make sure you only do this during the day.

Fashion dos and don'ts

Johannesburg is less casual than other parts of the country, so don't wear shorts or jeans to a social event before contacting the host to make sure this is acceptable. Business attire should be a dark suit for men and a suit or a dress for women.

How far will your money go

A small bottle of beer is about 40p, while a bottle of wine is nearer £4 and a street snack 20p.

Useful phrases

South Africans use a lot of slang, which changes depending on the province you are visiting, but a few terms are common in all nine provinces. “Howzit” is a traditional greeting meaning “How are you?” or “How are things?”, while a term for “nice” or “good” that could be used in answer to a query such as “How did you sleep?” is “lekker”. The word for brother - “boet” or, in Cape Town, “bru” “Boet” - is used as a term of affection between male friends. A “café” isn't a coffee shop but a corner shop selling everyday goods such as bread, milk and cigarettes. “Just now” means not immediately but sometime in the near future, while “now now” means right away. And a “braai” is a great social gathering and South Africa's equivalent to the barbecue. Meat is cooked over an open fire and friends gather to talk, drink beer and have fun. - a great weekend pastime among South Africans.

Health and safety

Vaccinations required
Hepatitis A and B, typhoid, yellow fever, polio, rabies, malaria

Foreign Office advice
“South Africa has a very high level of crime, including rape and murder. However, most cases occur in the townships and in areas away from the main tourist destinations. We recommend you exercise particular caution in and around Johannesburg airport and extra vigilance when driving away. Passport theft is common - keep yours on you at all times.”

Emergency phone number
British High Commission: +27 (0)12 421 7733