Travel Safety Tips When Visiting South Africa

Bonus: Why you should Visit South Africa!

As with every country in the world today, safety is an issue and it is no different when you travel in South Africa.

The following tips have been compiled for the safety of visitors to our shores.

Travel In South Africa

At and from South African airports:

  • Always keep your luggage close to you.
  • Make sure you have a reliable map of the region.
  • When leaving the airport, be sure to check that you are not being followed by suspicious looking people; if you feel threatened in any way, stop at the nearest police station or at a public place for help.

In the vehicle:

  • Be sure to lock your valuables in the boot (trunk) and keep all the doors locked at all times.
  • Keep the windows closed to just below the top, this way it makes it harder to smash the windows in the event of an attempted ‘smash & grab’.
  • Make sure you have access to an up-to-date map of your area you intend visiting and plan your trip in advance to ensure you have the easiest route to your destination.
  • Ignore anyone who may flag you down on the side of the road; this is often an attempted high-jacking tactic.
  • If you come across an accident on the road; do not stop; instead call the emergency services from your mobile phone and report the accident.
  • Never pick up stranger or hitch-hikers along the road
  • Make sure you park in a well-lit area at night.
  • If you feel unsure of your safety in an area, phone a police station for advice.

At your accommodation establishment:

  • Make sure your luggage is in a safe place.
  • Leave your valuables locked up in a safety deposit box if this is available.
  • Always keep your room locked whether you are there or not.
  • When leaving your room, leave your keys at the reception desk.

In the streets or out in the open:

  • It is advisable to always travel in groups especially at night
  • Stay clear of dingy and ill-lit streets at night.
  • Avoid displaying expensive cameras, jewelry, and other valuables; it is best to leave these locked away at your hotel/accommodation establishment.
  • Plan your routes beforehand to avoid getting lost.
  • Avoid carrying large sums of money; it is best to use debit or credit cards.
  • If you need to avail of a taxi service; your accommodation establishment is well versed with the available services and can recommend a safe service for your needs.
  • The uniformed services – police or traffic personnel are always glad to assist if you need directions or any other help.

In general:

  • Make sure you have your passport, air ticket, and other important documents photocopied and the originals to be kept at your accommodation establishment for safe keeping.
  • Do not bring any valuables with you; your luggage may be searched or opened at the airports and these items could go missing.
  • Keep your hand luggage with you at all times such as your cameras, handbags, laptops and mobile phones as these are easy targets.
  • Do not accept help from anyone at an ATM and do not become distracted while transacting at an ATM.
  • Remain vigilant at all times.
  • Do not fall prey to loiterers by letting your guard down because you are in a ‘holiday frame of mind’.
  • Refrain from giving money to beggars at street corners or at traffic intersections.

More in-depth information on money & currency in South Africa

You can find out more information in the article A Traveller’s Guide to Money and Currency in South Africa.

South Africa Safety Tips

Why visit South Africa?

South Africa’s attractions provide you with some of the most tranquil and stunning sights of the world.

Discover and experience this hidden tourist-gem and see for yourself!

Pictured below are some beautiful sights from the Western Cape of South Africa.

South Africa Clarence-Drive-along-the-Hangklip Coast
Clarence Drive along the Hangklip Coast © Desiree Johnson
Clarence Drive overlooking False Bay © Desiree Johnson
South Africa's Simons-Town-Naval-Base
Simon’s Town Naval Base © Desiree Johnson
Sunset at Sandbaai near Hermanus © Desiree Johnson

The featured photo (© Desiree Johnson) of this post shows the iconic Table Mountain in Cape Town. This photo was taken by Desiree while she was approaching to land at the Cape Town International Airport.

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