Visiting a foreign country always has an element of uncertainty and wariness involved, particularly when visiting developing countries where most of the resident population live below the poverty line. It is sad though to let these worries put you off exploring a new country or once there, it could really spoil your enjoyment of your South Africa trip. The main advice is to be vigilant, listen to local advice and not take any unnecessary risks. Having years of experience in travel to South Africa we’ve come up with some pointers to consider while you are there. This advice is mainly aimed at the larger cities such as Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Pretoria and Port Elizabeth where petty crime is more common.
What to wear and how to get around
When considering that most of the population in South Africa live well below the poverty line it’s important that one considers how to dress appropriately. It’s recommended that when walking around during the day, particularly in the larger cities, that you try not to wear flashy clothing and expensive jewellery. At night we it’s safer to drive from your accommodation to restaurants and bars for dinner and evening entertainment. If you don’t feel up to navigating the streets at night, all of the main towns and cities will have a reputable taxi firm that can be suggested to you by your guest house on yourSouth Africa trip.
Safety and Security in the car
There are a couple of basic things to remember when driving around on you South Africa holiday. The general rule is that if you’re driving in or through big cities you should lock all the car doors. You should always make sure that anything that is valuable is kept out of sight. When stopping at traffic lights (locally known as Robots) it’s advised to have all windows up.
At most of the big traffic light intersections in cities like Cape Town you’ll generally find people either begging or selling various assortments of wares, from coat hangers to various different types of arts and crafts. Generally it is advised not to buy anything here and if you do, make sure that your valuables, such as wallets and mobile phones, are out of sight.
When leaving your car parked anywhere it’s important to make sure that you take all valuables along with you. Anything you don’t want to take along, for example a pair of shoes or a jacket, you should only leave them behind in a covered boot.
Keeping important Documents safe and secure
It’s advisable to make copies of all important documents such as passports and drivers licenses. Photocopies ought to be left with relatives at home and copies should be taken with you and perhaps left in different pieces of luggage at your guest house. Most hotels and guesthouses in larger towns will also have either a safe in the bedrooms or at the reception desk.
Keeping your belongings safe and secure while exploring
While you are sightseeing in South Africa during the day it is important to think about what you will carry your belongings around in. Handbags are not advised as are generally easy to snatch off the shoulder, or pickpocket. Although useful, rucksack pockets are easily accessible and make for easy targets. Decent sized side-satchels are generally the better bag to have with you as they’re not so easy to get into without you noticing. It’s a good idea to make sure that you can see your bag or have across your shoulders while sat in public areas. It is always advisable to leave your valuables in a secure place at your guesthouse (most will provide a safe), and only take as much cash out with you as you will need on the day.
Lastly, do not let fears about safety stop you from planning a trip to South Africa, follow these simple tips and have a great time!
Oil lanterns in Kruger. Garden Route adventure trails. Sleep in beehive huts and bush chalets. We’ll help you build your very own South Africa adventure with South Africa Travel Plan. ‘Like this? Read more travel tips and tales at www.rickshawtravel.co.uk/blog/’