Is it too late to book a trip to the World Cup?

Check the airline websites for direct flights to host cities around the time of England matches, and you are in for some very nasty shocks. You’re talking around £5,000 with British Airways for a flight from London to Cape Town on 15 June, and back on 20 June (in time for England v Algeria on Friday 18th).

But there are better options. Throughout the tournament, the cheaper tickets are to Johannesburg, which has far more international flights than Cape Town. On those same dates, British Airways has a return to Johannesburg for £761, and booking via an online agent, you can get the onward connections to Cape Town on South African Airlines for very little – the total for the journey is around £800 with Espedia, www.expedia.co.uk

On other dates, it's worth checking out KLM, which has some of the best availability to Johannesburg, and regional connections from British airports to its hub in Amsterdam. Fares typically hover around £900, but going out on 22 June, back on 3 July (so catching the last 16 matches and the first quarter finals) gives you access to tickets for £772.

The old trick of flying to a neighbouring country doesn't help much for this World Cup – Windhoek in Namibia, Gaborone in Botswana, and Maputo in Mozambique - not only does it work out just as expensive, you’ll probably end up in a boiling pot for the cannibals supper.

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