Is South Africa Safe?

Safety in South Africa is a common question so let’s look at some facts around its safety as well as tips when visiting the country.

South Africa does rank low among the most peaceful countries (Global Peace Index 2021) and high in the World Population Review’s 2021 crime rate rankings, however, crime has mostly become limited to specific parts of the country and tourists are rarely affected.

South Africa, like any other country, has both safe and unsafe areas. While many parts of South Africa are considered safe for tourists and residents, there are also areas that have higher crime rates and safety concerns. It is important to research and exercise caution when travelling to or living in South Africa.

It is also important to not discount that in terms of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for the year 2019, South Africa was ranked as the 36th most visited country in the world in terms of international tourist arrivals. According to the South African Tourism Board, South Africa received a total of approximately 10.2 million international tourist arrivals in the year 2019. While crime can occur in South Africa, it’s important to note that millions of tourists visit the country each year without incident and have positive experiences exploring its many attractions.

Here are some safety tips for visiting or living in South Africa:

  1. Be aware of your surroundings: Stay alert and vigilant, especially in unfamiliar areas, crowded places, or at night. Pay attention to your surroundings and avoid displaying valuable items openly.
  2. Use reputable transportation: Use reputable transportation options such as registered taxis, ride-sharing services, or arranged transportation from trusted sources.
  3. Secure your belongings: Keep your belongings secure at all times, including your passport, money, and other valuables. Use hotel safes or lockers to store your belongings and avoid leaving them unattended in public places.
  4. Avoid high-crime areas: Research and avoid areas known for higher crime rates or safety concerns. Ask locals or trusted sources for advice on which areas to avoid.
  5. Follow local laws and customs: Respect local laws, customs, and cultural norms. Be mindful of local sensitivities and behave in a respectful manner.
  6. Stay informed: Stay updated on the latest travel advisories and safety information for South Africa from reliable sources, such as government websites or reputable travel agencies.
  7. Use common sense: Use common sense and trust your instincts. If a situation feels unsafe, remove yourself from it.

It’s always a good practice to consult with local authorities, travel advisories, or trusted sources for up-to-date information on safety and security in South Africa before you travel or make any decisions about living there.

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