Cruise ships, safari lodges, private houses and university dormitories are among the accommodation options being pressed into use by South African tour operators to help fill a shortfall in rooms at next summer's World Cup.
A deal has been signed in Cape Town, where England will face Algeria in their second group match on 13 June, that will see local universities make thousands of dormitory rooms available for the duration of the tournament.
Two cruise ships, with 1,500 beds each, will dock in the city and visit Port Elizabeth – where Fabio Capello's team will play their final group game against Slovenia – as well as Durban.
Cape Town Tourism has launched a website for South Africans with rooms or houses to let to advertise them to fans.
In Port Elizabeth, organisers will utilise up to 20 safari lodges within travelling distance of the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium and plan to convert local schools into dormitories.
With up to half a million fans expected to flood into the country in June, World Cup organisers have also warned hotels not to ramp up prices so high that visitors will be discouraged from returning.
The South African organising committee has said it expects up to 40,000 England fans to travel – although fans' groups put the likely figure at about half that.
But with the large camp sites that have housed fans at other recent World Cups likely to be impractical because of low night-time temperatures and safety concerns, more unusual forms of accommodation are being considered.
While Danny Jordaan, the chief executive of the South Africa 2010 organising committee, has assured fans that enough beds will be available, he has admitted that they may not always be in the right place. Following some matches in smaller venues, such as England's opening game in Rustenburg against the United States, fans will be ferried back to larger cities by coaches or aircraft.
Jerome Valcke, general secretary of Fifa, earlier this month attempted to play down concerns over accommodation during the tournament. "We are fine. It's not any more on the list as an issue," he said before the World Cup draw in Cape Town.
Concerns remain about the range and price of the accommodation that will be available. Jordaan has warned operators not to increase their prices to unsustainable levels, amid fears that some might increase prices tenfold.
"You cannot conduct your business on a sustainable, profitable basis on a 31-day business plan. It does not give you a sustainable platform for ongoing profit," he said. "Those who come to our country will come back again if they have value for money and if the products and services they bought were of a reasonable price and high quality.
"It's always a problem with major events, whether it's the Olympics, the World Cup finals or the Euros. There is a huge demand for accommodation and transportation. But we want fair prices and we will continue to work with the various stakeholders."
Many England fans are expected to travel on official tours costing upwards of Ł3,999. The thousands more who will travel independently are being warned to book early. In phased ticket sales so far, applications from English addresses have been second only to the US.
The draw at the beginning of this month sparked a scramble for packages, accommodation, flights and tickets.
The FA has received 12% of the tickets available for the three group matches – 4,125 in Rustenburg, 6,876 in Cape Town and 4,715 in Port Elizabeth – and will receive 8% in subsequent rounds. All will go to members of the Englandfans supporter's club.
Concerns about likely accommodation shortages first emerged during the British Lions rugby tour earlier this year, when 40,000 travelling fans found it difficult to secure rooms in Durban – considered one of the South African cities better served for accommodation.
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