Something to declare: South Africa; High-speed London-Leeds for £10 return; Nepal

Destination of the week: South Africa

Time to call the bluff of airlines and hotels that have been hoping to make big profits from demand for fans keen to travel to South Africa for the World Cup (the month-long tournament begins next Friday, 11 June). Research by The Independent Traveller has revealed some excellent deals for short-notice trips to the Republic.

Analysis of a range of suppliers suggest that a lot of capacity has been put back into the market at much lower prices that have prevailed for many months. We checked prices for departure overnight to Cape Town on 10 June, arriving the day the tournament starts. England's game in the city against Algeria takes place on 18 June. The test bookings were for a fortnight, returning on 24 June (the day after England's game against Slovenia), and allowing plenty of time to visit the fan's perfect peninsula, the Cape of Good Hope.

Through Expedia, you pay £1,869 per person (based on two sharing). This includes flights on Emirates from Gatwick via Dubai and a two-week stay (including breakfast) at the three-star Avenue in Fish Hoek Bay, a southern suburb of Cape Town.

For people who want to be at the heart of the city, Opodo has a fortnight at the four-star Cape Milner, very close to Company Gardens in the centre of Cape Town, for £2,565 including flights on Turkish Airlines from Heathrow via Istanbul; for just £5 more, you can fly from Manchester.

If you prefer to find your own accommodation, or intend to travel around, fares for non-stop flights have slumped. Fans who can fly out from Heathrow to Cape Town on 7 June, back on 24 June, will pay just £870 return on British Airways – little more than the usual high-season fare. BA promises World Cup flights will not be hit by cabin-crew strikes.

Once you reach South Africa, there are many threats to cope with – including the possibility of "An increased risk of opportunistic crime countrywide during the World Cup", according to the Foreign Office, beginning as soon as you arrive at the airport:

"Passport theft is common. It is usually opportunistic and non-violent, and increasingly occurs at airports on arrival or departure." On an average day, three lost or stolen passports are reported by British travellers. The Foreign Office warns about several specific areas: the Berea and Hillbrow districts of Johannesburg, with "a high level of muggings around the Rotunda bus terminus in the Central Business District" of that city. Durban city centre is also risky, day or night. In Cape Town, "There have been attacks on hikers and tourists on Table Mountain".

Much more likely, though, is that fans will be targeted by a financial scam, particularly involving credit and debit cards. The foreign-exchange provider, Travelex, reports that one in 12 of cases of fraud reported anywhere in the world by customers takes place in South Africa. Four out of five of those involve skimmed or counterfeit cards. Always ask to have your card swiped in front of you, and – when withdrawing cash - try to use ATM machines inside secure locations. "If your card gets swallowed at an ATM machine report it immediately."

Internet banking is a favourite target for villains according to the Foreign Office: "Avoid using public terminals (such as internet cafes) for online banking. Be aware of the risk of interception through wireless connections. Do not open other websites while internet banking – have only a single browser window open."

The US is expected to send the highest number of overseas fans. The State Department warns of strikes and protests in poorer communities in South Africa, and says "Large-scale public events like the World Cup may present a wide range of attractive targets for terrorists. There is a heightened risk that extremist groups will conduct terrorist acts within South Africa."

Finally, says the Foreign Office, "Fans who appear inebriated may be refused entry to the stadium."

Bargain of the week: High-speed London-Leeds for £10 return

East Coast Trains is filling spare summer capacity by offering very low fares on off-peak services between London King's Cross and Leeds. This high-speed link connects the two cities in around 2 hours 20 minutes. A limited number of seats on some trains are available for a flat fare of £5 each way, if you book by 6pm on Monday, 7 June, on a dedicated website, eastcoast.co.uk/five. You must also print off the special voucher and take it with you on the journey.

The trains you can use are highly specific. The deal applies for journeys in either direction between 24 June and 26 August, and is time-restricted. All trains on Saturdays are eligible, but none on Sundays. On weekdays, departures are allowed roughly between 10am and 3pm, and after 8.30pm (going north) and 6pm (heading south). East Coast Trains says at least 144,000 seats are available. Travel is also allowed to or from Wakefield.

Tip of the week: Words of advice for travellers

Daunt Books was established in London 20 years ago with a mission to be different – and to enhance the experience of travellers seeking advice. Until now it has avoided selling books online, but is now entering that market with a different approach to many retailers through its website, www.dauntbooks.co.uk.

"Unlike our competitors, this website isn't an exhaustive list," says Katie McCalmont, who runs the operation. Less is more: "It's a carefully designed, lovingly produced selection of the best books to take away with you, from the most relevant guide to the most evocative, gripping fiction."

Warning of the week: Nepal

"There are frequent bandhs (shutdowns), rallies and demonstrations, which can be violent and cause widespread disruption," says the latest Foreign Office bulletin.

During such strikes, "Roads and highways could be blocked. In the event of planned strike action, you should allow extra time to return to Kathmandu if you have an international flight to catch." To help travellers unwittingly caught up in a bandh, the Nepal Tourism Board lays on buses between Kathmandu airport and the city centre.

In the Banke district, at least, the strikes may have little effect: the Himalayan Times reports that about 300 Maoist activists "have fallen ill due to diarrhoea, gastritis and headaches".

Suggested Topics
News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?