Avoid costly mobile phone bills while in South Africa

I can’t actually believe that I’m writing this. This sort of thing is so basic, it shouldn’t need to be written. And that’s going to open the floodgates to all sorts of other basic advice posts like how to wipe your bum after going to the toilet and how you should use a spoon instead of a fork when eating soup. Stuff you really shouldn’t need to be told.
It’s a road I don’t want to go down, but Sky News have forced me to with this article on their website:

World Cup Warning: £80 To Post Photos Online
World Cup ticket holders may need to resist the temptation to make friends envious by posting pictures online using their mobile phones, a customer group has warned.
Consumer Focus calculated that the cost of uploading just 10 photos to Facebook from South Africa could result in an eye-watering £80 bill from a UK mobile operator.

The article goes on to say that visitors should look for an internet cafe to use while they are here, or stock up on text and data bundles before they head over. But there’s a much better way, isn’t there?

My #worldcuphost mode kicks in.
If you’re  coming over for the World Cup, your first stop after the airport and the pub should be a supermarket or post office. There, you can pick up a Vodacom or MTN SIM card, which will cost no more than R1. That’s a whole 9 pence. You’ll need to have your passport with you to register the SIM in your name.
Stock up with some airtime from the friendly cashier, put that new SIM card in your phone – don’t forget to take your UK one out first – and use it for the duration of your stay.
That’s it, there are no more instructions.

Texts back to Blighty will cost around R1.50 (14p) each and data is around R2/MB (that’s 18p).
Train smash averted.

What? You remain unconvinced and  need some further encouragement that this is the correct way to go? Then let me help you out with an ever so basic example.
I’ve done some rudimentary calculations and I reckon that with the current exchange rate at about £1/R11.25 and the average price of a bottle of beer in a pub of R15, that £80 quid you were about to waste on Facebook could get you 60 (sixty!) extra bottles of beer.

I think you should send a few of them my way, don’t you?

What a good idea

Sometimes a good idea comes along and doesn’t get anywhere because it doesn’t get the support it deserves or needs to take off. I would give you examples, but because they never got the support they deserved or needed, I’ve never heard of them. Usually, the only ideas that ever get anywhere are those that are going to make someone, somewhere, some money: cars, computers, drugs etc etc.

But the good idea I heard today isn’t going to make much money. Instead of Rands and cents, this one is all about the currency of goodwill. Which makes you feel all happy and warm inside, but won’t buy you beer. So not perfect, by any means, but still pretty good.

The idea is the brainchild of the improbably-named Dean Oelschig, a creative type from Jo’burg. But let’s not hold those facts against him, for he has come up with the idea of #worldcuphost. This is what is called a hashtag, which is a word or phrase, prefixed with a # that people can search for easily on Twitter.
And Dean’s idea is that willing people from South Africa advertise themselves on Twitter as #worldcuphosts so that visitors coming over from foreign parts can ask all those vexing, awkward or downright stupid questions about the country and how to “do stuff” here – and hopefully get a quick, helpful answer.
I am already predicting a plethora of beer-related queries, interspersed with several on transport, a couple on the weather and maybe even one or two on the football. But mainly beer.

And because the people on twitter are generally of a somewhat higher intelligence and educational standing than on other, less enjoyable social media platforms which involve feeding other people’s penguins on their imaginary farms, the answers those tourists will get will be honest, informative and helpful. Right?

So, go and advertise yourself as a #worldcuphost
Better still, retweet this post (use the little button below) so that people know what it’s all about, because obviously, the more people that are aware of this – on either side – the better it will work. 
Let’s do our bit to make this World Cup a even better experience for those visiting South Africa.