Safety advice if traveling to South Africa

Travel Advice for South Africa

South Africa has very high levels of crimes, including rapes and murders. In 2009 through 2010, there were several murders in the country involving British Nationals. Most of the violent crimes occur in townships so it is important to make sure to consult a tour guide before visiting any of the townships. Visitors who travel to the main tourist destinations will find the rate of crime is fairly low. The authorities in South Africa place a high priority on keeping tourists safe. There are several large towns that have tourism police.

Safety Tips

There is a high level of HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Although there is an active awareness campaign throughout the country, it is important to seek medical attention should you be sexually assaulted or injured.

International airports, bus stations, and railway stations are common places for thieves to strike. There have been reports of luggage being stolen at both the airport located in Johannesburg and the Tambo International Airport. One way to protect your luggage is to vacuum wrap it, which is allowed by local regulations. Keep any valuables in your carry-on luggage.

Passport theft is fairly common as well. Typically, these thefts are non-violent and opportunistic, although in some cases passports are taken during muggings. Always carry a copy of your passport with you. Do not carry substantial sums of money or valuables with you. Do not exchange large amounts of money in busy areas.

Road Travel Tips

South Africa cars are available for hire. You can use your United Kingdom licence for up to a year after entering the country as long as it has your photo and your signature on it. It is important to be extremely careful when driving after dark in any area of the country. Always stay on main roads and park the vehicle in well lit areas. Do not ever stop to assist a motorist that seems distressed as this is often a scheme that is used by hijackers.

The roads are mostly in good conditions. However, some of the roads in remote areas are not well taken care of, and you may come across large potholes and other road damage. In the Cape Provinces there have been flash floods that have damaged the roads. Make sure to check local advice here before travelling in these areas. The driving standards in the country vary greatly and there are a lot of fatal accidents that occur each year.

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