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South African Travel Safety Tips

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South African Travel Safety Tips

Safety Tips 101 - What to do and what not to do


Safety has become an important issue throughout the world. The Tourism Safety Task Group of South Africa has compiled the following tips for tourists and migrants who come to the country:

At a hotel:

  • Never leave your luggage unattended
  • Store valuables in the hotel’s safety deposit box
  • Keep your room locked, whether you’re in it or not
  • If someone knocks, check who it is before opening the door
  • Leave your keys at the reception desk when leaving the hotel

In the street:

  • Avoid ostentatious displays of expensive jewelry, cameras and other valuables
  • It’s definitely not advisable to carry large sums of money around (rather, we recommend using URCard, a safe, convenient prepaid debit card designed specifically for travellers)
  • At night, steer clear of dark, isolated areas
  • It’s better to explore in groups and to stick to well-lit, busy streets
  • Plan your route beforehand
  • A policeman or traffic officer will be glad to direct you if you get lost
  • If you want to call a taxi, your hotel or the nearest tourism information office can recommend a reliable service

In a car:

  • Plan your route in advance
  • Keep the car doors locked at all times and wind the windows up
  • Lock valuable items in the boot (trunk)
  • At night, park in well-lit areas
  • Never pick up strangers
  • If in doubt about the safety of an area, phone a police station for advice


In general we advise people to carry a reliable map with them at all times and to keep a certified copy of passports and other important documentation such as flight tickets in a safe place such as a bank or hotel's safety deposit box.

Leave your valuables at home, your luggage may be opened and your valuables missing from your bags when you collect your luggage from the check out area.

  • Do not wear expensive jewellery.
  • Do not allow yourself to be separated from your hand luggage.
  • Laptops, camera’s, mobile phones and handbags are targeted items.
  • Do not allow yourself to be distracted by one person while another person runs off with your possessions.


If you are hiring a car and intend driving from the airport be sure you know the exact route you should take so that you need not stop to ask for directions making yourself vulnerable and an easy hijack target.

Avoid walking in deserted areas on your own during the day and particularly at night.

South Africa is not the only country where the above list applies, it applies to many destinations and innocent tourists are caught up in unpleasant situations because they are not vigilant and do not apply wisdom because they are “on holiday” and in a carefree mood.

Please also avoid giving money to beggars; you are more likely to lose your whole wallet in this type of situation. Poverty breeds crime!

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