Is South Africa safe? Tips to stay safe in South Africa
South Africa is my favorite country in the world (went there 3 times in 2017) and I hope more people will experience South Africa’s awesomeness; however, everyone keeps asking me the same damn question: “Is South Africa safe?”
Let’s keep it real – you can’t pretend like you’re in a safe-to-walk-around-day-and-night European city or small town when you’re there, so there are a few tips you need to know to get the most out of your trip and stay safe in South Africa.
Some of these tips may seem obvious to you, but for someone who’s a less experienced traveler, they’re not.
So here they go:
1. Fear attracts fear and people can sense that.
Don’t walk around with fear, walk around like you know the place, with your head up high and a smile on your face and treat everyone like you want to be treated. Kindness goes a long way. Fear does not.
2. Ask locals and do what they say.
They’ve been living there for their whole lives, so they know best. If 2 locals, 1 guy from Lagos and one full-time traveler tell a tourist that it’s a bad idea to go to a township with 2 other tourists and absolutely NO CLUE of what a township is, where to go there or what to do, and she still wants to go… Yeah – don’t be that dumb.
3. Don’t flash your possessions.
Your newest iphone or camera could mean a few months to live off for thieves and their families who have close to nothing (to lose).
4. Don’t carry more cash than you can afford to lose.
Leave your credit card at home, carry only a minimum of cash with you, and put an extra stash in your bra or sock. Don’t put anything valuable in the front pocket of your backpack.
Townships are not here for you to see how poor others live and how grateful you can be that you don’t have to live that way (I admit, it took me some time to get that, too). Townships are homes to fathers, mothers, kids, families, teachers, etc. They’re part of South Africa and its history. The best way to see a township is by going there with a local FROM THERE and have him/her show you around, not hop on a bus.
6. Road trips / driving
Lock your doors and don’t leave any valuables in your car.
If you have any more tips, feel free to let us know in the comments, so travelers get to have the best experience ever in South Africa!
If you want to take a township tour in Cape Town in Khayelitcha, go with Cojea from Cape Vakasha Tours. Read my detailed article on Cojea’s tour here.
If you want to take a township tour in Johannesburg in Alexandra, go with Jeff from BUVHI Tours.
Find all my posts about South Africa, click here or check out:
- Is Johannesburg dangerous for tourists?
- The 5 best Cape Town Day Tours from Whale Watching to township tours
- Poverty is no zoo – Thoughts on visiting a township in Cape Town
- Check out these 11 best things to do in various Johannesburg neighborhoods!
- If you’re looking for a place to stay in Joburg, read my review on Once in Joburg
- Check out my Faces of Joburg photo essay
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