Landmark new stadiums and gleaming modern airports are already redefining South Africa's cities, but 100 days before the World Cup the nation is still sprucing up its image to woo international fans.
Persistent fears about crime and sky-high prices have put off some would-be visitors, with many overseas fans still recovering from the shock of the global recession.
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke says 2.1 of the 2.9 million tickets have already been sold, but fewer foreign fans are now expected to travel to South Africa.
South Africa has poured more than 6-point-one billion dollars (33 billion rand) into preparations for the tournament.
Major upgrades to airports in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Bloemfontein are complete, while Durban's new airport is set to open in May.
Johannesburg's Soccer City, venue of the opening and final matches, is the only one that has yet to host a trial match, but final touches to the stadium should be completed by next month.