Safety tips for travellers in South Africa
Crime in South Africa, like many other places in today's world, can be a problem, but all you really need to do is take the usual sensible precautions and follow some basic safety rules.
Know where you're going before you set off, particularly at night, watch your possessions, don't walk alone in dodgy areas, lock your doors at night.
And, like anywhere else, there are some areas of the major cities which are known to be more risky than others. It is easy to avoid these and still have a good time.
If you cannot avoid such areas, then avoid wearing visible jewellery or carrying cameras and bags over your shoulder. Keep mobile phones and wallets tucked away where no one can see them.
Check beforehand that the areas you plan to visit are safe by asking hotel staff or police.
Other sensible advice is not to hitchhike, or accept or carry items for strangers.
When driving a private vehicle, either borrowed or hired, in South Africa, take some simple precautions to avoid car hijackings or "smash-and-grabs".
As a driver, be on the alert when coming to a halt at traffic lights or stop streets, as well as when arriving at or leaving any premises. Car doors should always be locked, and valuables are better kept in the boot or under the seats.
Plan your route beforehand.
When parking at night, choose well-lit or security-patrolled parking areas. Street security guards will usually ask whether they can watch over your car, and in return should be paid a small fee – anything from two rand upwards.
When using automatic teller machines (ATMs) in South Africa, practice the generally accepted safety precautions you would employ when at home.
Never accept an offer from a stranger to help you with your transaction.
If your ATM card is withheld by the machine, you can approach the bank to release it, or call the helpline number that can be found at the ATM.
In case you lose your passport, report the loss as soon as possible to the South African Police Service, as well as to your country's embassy or consulate in South Africa (alphabetical country listing):
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