South Africa has become a popular travel destination in recent years, due to its stable governance and economy compared to other African countries. Tourists are well protected from violent crime, and are considered a priority by South African authorities, who even employ tourism police to look out for travellers!
However, the country’s high crime rate is still worth a note of caution. Follow these simple tips to ensure your safety and enjoy your trip.
1. Sort Out Your Travel Documents
Before your trip it is essential that you pack these important travel documents. Passports, driving licences, students IDs and more are all needed whilst travelling, they can help you obtain discounts, check into accommodations and provide deposits.
However, taking these with you everywhere can be risky. Making copies of these documents before you leave can be incredibly valuable, and can usually be taken in place of the real thing when out-and-about.
2. Save These Numbers to Your Phone
Before travelling to South Africa be sure to save these numbers to your phone in case of an emergency. It’s important to feel connected, secure and able to phone for help should a situation present itself.
- Police Service: 10111
- Ambulance Service: 10177
- Fire Service: 021 535 1100
- Sea & Mountain Rescue: 021 948 9900
3. Be Cautious With Your Money
Carrying large sums of money on your person is extremely risky, so try to leave any excess cash in a safe where you’re staying. Should you need more when you’re out, instead go to an ATM and take out the necessary amount.
However, have caution when doing this, and do not accept assistance from anyone hanging around the ATM. If you have more than one credit or debit card it can be worthwhile to split these up and take out one at a time. This ensures you always have access to cash in case one is lost or stolen.
4. Buy Food Vouchers
South Africa has a significant homeless population, which for many foreign visitors can be deeply troubling and hard to see. However, it is the belief of the government that donating money merely worsens the situation of the individual, since it can be tempting to spend this on products that ultimately hinder any chances of escaping poverty.
Incidents where visitors hand over money frequently escalate, whereby more individuals harass them for money, and this can occasionally turn violent. A safer alternative is to buy food vouchers from your local Pick n Pay. These have a value of R10 each, and greatly benefit the hungry and homeless.
5. Travel in Groups
Those who are walking around alone are frequently seen as easy targets, particularly at night. To avoid this, make an effort to move around in groups of three or more. Especially if walking in deserted or dark places at night – although preferably this should just be avoided altogether.
If you are travelling alone or doing an activity by yourself, consider calling a taxi or Uber to collect you from your location and take you straight to your front door.
6. Hire a Car
Public transport and buses in South Africa are widely recognised as being unreliable. Often hiring a car is the easiest, and safest way to travel. This is also significantly cheaper than using Uber as your primary form of transport.
It is easy to obtain a car insurance quote to accompany your hire car, and guarantee your safety when travelling around South Africa. This form of transport gives you the freedom to keep to your own time and visit only the locations that take your fancy!
7. Take Care With Valuables
Your smartphone, money and other valuables are sometimes necessary to take out with you for the day whilst travelling. However, it is wise to keep these well hidden and out the way within your bag.
Many people also have a habit of carrying their phone around in their back pocket, to keep a better eye on it try and place it in your front pocket instead. Make an effort to only get this out when is absolutely necessary should you be on the streets or walking somewhere.
8. Ensure Someone Knows Where You Are
Even if you consider this unnecessary, telling someone where you’re going to be and when you expect to be back can be incredibly useful in the event something were to go wrong! This employs an extra set of eyes to take care of you and improve your safety.
We hope these tips help you relax and travel in comfort, South Africa is beautiful country with so much to offer!