South African Safety Tips for Travellers

South Africa may mean different things to different people, but unfortunately, one word that comes up frequently is ‘safety’.

South Africa may not have a favourable reputation for its safety, but tourists can take certain precautions to reduce their risk of being a target for criminal activity.

  • Taxis – Visitors can call the South African Tourism Helpline at 083 123 6789 (or 1-800-593-1318) to arrange for a reliable taxi or get information on activities and transportation.
  • Wildlife – There is a common misconception that predators like lions and leopards roam freely throughout the country, but in reality, wildlife is usually confined to protected reserves. Staying safe on a safari is simple: listen carefully to the advice given to you by your tour guide or ranger, don’t venture into the bush at night, and stay in your car on self-drive safaris.
  • Snakes and Spiders – Venomous snakes and spiders typically avoid confrontation with humans, but it’s always a good idea to be aware of where you’re putting your hands and feet.
  • Malaria – Most cities, parks, and reserves are malaria-free, but if you plan to visit more remote, northern parts of the country, be sure to bring along the necessary prophylactics to avoid getting the mosquito-borne disease.
  • Hiking – Authorities recommend hiking only in groups and away from isolated areas.
  • Cash – Do not carry large sums of money with you and what you do carry, keep close to your body in a zipped bag (not your back pocket). Crossbody bags and money belts are good options.
  • Roads – South Africa is notorious for its ill-kept roads and alarmingly frequent traffic accidents. Rural roads, in particular, are often unfenced and dotted with livestock, so try to limit driving to daytime hours to avoid unexpected obstacles.
  • Passports – Avoid handing over your passport to (or allowing it to be photocopied by) car hire companies or hotels as a form of security.
  • Police – The South African Police Service (SAPS) can be reached at 08600 10111 or just 10111 in the case of an emergency.

Source: TripSavvy

Source: StatsSA

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