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20 Free Tourist Safety Tips For South Africa


We have provided you with an effective list of some important and the key points of safety to take into account when on your visit to South Africa. They have been listed according to the key areas the traveler may encounter when touring in South Africa. These topics are covered in extensive detail in our Comprehensive Tourist Safety Guides for South Africa. We strongly encourage you to get the guide that is best suited to your area of travel when in South Africa. There are 4 safety guides available depending on what specific type of tourist you will be:

1. The Complete Self Drive Safety Manual for Tourists in South Africa

2. The Complete Safety Manual for Sightseeing in South Africa

3. The Complete Event Attendance Safety Manual for South African Tourists

We also have available The Complete Safety Manual for Tourists in South Africa which incorporates all of the above guides in to one comprehensive manual and is the best value for money is you plan to do all of the above activities.

Before Departure

Important Luggage Advice

It is advisable to keep a record of the content of checked luggage, and valuables should be kept in a bag that stays with you at all times.

Travel & other Documents

Make 2 photocopies of every important document you will take on your trip.

Upon Arrival in South Africa

Do not advertise the fact that you are a tourist through brand name items linking you to events you plan to attend.
Avoid withdrawing large sums of cash at the airport, criminals often watch travelers and follow them from the airport with the intention of robbing them later.
All major debit and credit cards can be used throughout the country to draw cash.
When you rent a car, don’t go for the exotic; choose a type commonly available locally if at all possible and favor a vehicle with a large enough boot to store your entire luggage out of sight.
If a stranger wants to talk to you while in your vehicle, do not open the window wide -only 5 cm is enough to have a discussion.
If something seems suspicious, do not talk to strangers, rather be cautious and drive away, you can always call the police to go to the scene if you feel the situation warrants it.
If your windscreen is sprayed by a passing car or pedestrian, do not switch on your windscreen wipers. Carjackers have been known to spray silicone onto passing car windscreens; when the driver uses the wipers to remove the substance, it only smears the silicone across the windscreen and obscures the view. The driver then stops to clear the windscreen by hand, making the car an easy target.

Travelling in South Africa by Hired Car Kidnapping/Hijacking Avoidance Advice

10.  If you encounter obstacles in the road when travelling on an isolated road or at night, do not get out of your car to remove them. If you cannot drive around them, reverse for a safe distance before turning your vehicle around. If you damage your vehicle by hitting the obstacle, drive on as far as you can until you reach a place of safety.

Public Transport in South Africa

11.  If you choose to use public or other  transport, we suggest that you consult the list of recommended taxi services and busses that are available in all hotels or call the National Tourism Information and Safety line for advice

Accommodation Safety & Security Advice

12.  At night always lock perimeter doors and securely close all windows to prevent an intruder from spraying you with a sleep inducing gas before entering your room.

13.  Never leave any valuables, documents or any bags or clothing within reach of a window or in plain sight. Always store them out of reach and sight.

Places and Areas to Avoid

14.  In general it is best to avoid the inner city areas of Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban at night time. Suburban shopping areas are safe and usually have a wide variety of bars, clubs and restaurants to cater for all tastes.

Sightseeing Precautions

15.  Try to explore in groups and stick to well-lit, busy streets especially at night.

16.  Consult your hotel or nearest tourism information office about reliable service if you want to call a taxi.

17.  Use registered, qualified tour guides

Event Attendance Advice and Precautions

18.  See to it that everyone in the vehicle with a cellular phone has the numbers of the others passengers on their phones. This might be important when getting lost amongst thousands of spectators.

Health Requirements and Advice for Visitors to South Africa

19.  Malaria is prevalent in some remote areas in the far north and east of South Africa, including the Kruger National Park. A 90 kilometer strip running along the border with Mozambique and Zimbabwe has been designated as a malaria risk zone, with some adjoining areas experiencing malaria risk at various times in the year. Ensure you take the necessary precautions when planning to visit these areas.

How to Handle Money

20.  There are numerous facilities for exchanging foreign currency, including banks, major hotels and various Bureau de Changes in all of the towns and cities. Banking facilities and ATMs are available countrywide at all shopping centers and service stations; ATMs accept most major international credit and debit cards, including Visa and MasterCard. The vast majority of establishments and shops also accept these cards, while Diners Club and American Express are accepted to a lesser extent.

21.  Do not allow strangers to assist you in your transactions at an automated teller machine (ATM). If your card appears stuck immediately call the help number that can usually be found at the ATMs for assistance. Be alert and watch that no one takes the card when you turn your back.

In Case of Emergency

22.  In case of any emergency in South Africa you can call the numbers below

Police & Fire emergency – 10111
Medical emergency – 10177
From a mobile phone – 112

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