Safety Information for Tourists South Africa
Most people who do some research on South Africa will at some point see it’s crime statistics. South Africa does have a high crime rate compared to first world countries, however what one must keep in mind is that the majority of the serious crimes are committed in the lower income areas and are generally not targeted towards tourists.
As there is still high degree of poverty and unemployment in South Africa, there is a higher number of crimes such as theft and muggings. Uneducated and unsuspecting tourists can become a victim of such crimes. However if you are cautious and follow our guide lines, the chances of being a victim of such crimes will decrease drastically.
Please read through the following sections on safety for tourists visiting South Africans:
- The emergency number in South Africa is 10111. Keep a mobile phone on you at all times in case of an emergency.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. If you feel unsafe return to an area where you feel safe.
- Do not go into areas which appear dangerous. If you are unsure whether or not an area is safe, ask at your hotel / guesthouse. Do not ask any other locals.
- Under no circumstances go into a township (also known as a shanty town or ghetto), unless it is an official tour.
- Do not accompany someone or get into someones vehicle, unless they are an official tour operator.
- Keep valuables such a passports and excess cash in hotel / guest house safes.
- It is advisable to walk in a group as opposed to walking alone.
- Only walk in well lit, busy areas at night.
- Do not walk with a lot of valuables. Keep your remaining valuables (phone, wallet or purse) on you at all times.
- Do not let a stranger use your phone, as they may run off with it!
- All ways lock your doors.
- Drive with your windows up in urban areas (especially when stopping at traffic lights). Do not open your windows for beggars.
- Avoid driving at night.
- Stick to marked routes and routes given in your guide.
- Do not pick up hitch hikers.
- Do not stop next to the road, unless it is a demarcated stopping area (preferably a tourist icon).
- Do not leave valuables such as laptops, handbags, etc. where they are visible while driving or while parked.
- Only park in well lit areas.
ATMs / Cash
- Do not let anyone “help” you while using an ATM.
- Rather use an ATM in an area which appears safe, where there are people around or at a petrol station.
- Do not withdraw large amounts of cash at once.
- Do not make your cash visible.