South Africa 2021 - Safety & Security
We want you to feel and be as safe as you are in your own home, but let's not pretend you are at home. We're going to South Africa where the expression 'safety in numbers' is a great reason to consider enjoying it with us!
- Australia High Commission South Africa - Pretoria
- Also Representing Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, eSwatini (Formerly Swaziland)
- Save Their Number: +27.12.423 6000
As family friendly and tourist oriented as this amazing country is, it does not make any of us immune to incident. If you feel 'ill at ease' for any reason about visiting South Africa, we have been coming here safely since 1997 and use our experience to ensure you have a relaxing and incident-free time. We walk to the cricket in Durban and Centurion, walk or share short taxi rides in Joburg and Port Elizabeth, and in Cape Town we take the train because we know it is safe to do so, but we still don't do it alone.
Generally speaking, South Africa is as safe a destination to travel as anywhere in the 'tourist' world. They have great crime records however most are limited to isolated townships, inter-clan rumblings, and close friends. Saying this, do not go strolling through any township unless you are familiar with the area and in the company of a local or on an organised tour, the same said for inner-cities, especially Cape Town.
Many drop their guard in Cape Town believing it 'super safe' just because it looks beautiful. It surprises many to know Cape Town records more tourism crime than any other city in South Africa; more tourists visit Cape Town so the opportunity for more bad eggs to violate you increases. In Cape Town 2009 I met a fellow (travelling alone!) who got mugged twice in one day so please be careful.
In areas of high tourist concentration, it is not uncommon for people to be violated in broad daylight simply for their sunglasses, so basic common-sense must apply. No matter how comfortable you feel, we strongly suggest you do not to walk alone anywhere after dark. No matter how close 'home' is, take a taxi whose drivers are very used to going 'around the corner'.
You should always be conscious about your visible material expenses. Don't get me wrong, there is no shortage of the latest luxury European cars and watches, or the slickest of smartphones on display in South Africa. The difference is we look like unarmed tourists and the local will have a weapon to defend her or himself with!
We will all need cash at some point so when using ATM's or going to a bank, always take someone with you. Do not use ATM's at night unless you are with multiple persons or in a safe environment such as a shopping mall or bank with armed security. And certainly never let anyone 'help you' at the ATM including the security officer. They are not helping you, they are robbing you! There are many ATM tricks that result in you losing your card and it's contents, so to best lower the risk:
After you insert your card and before you type your PIN, cancel the transaction. If your card comes out, the ATM hasn't been tampered with. If the card is withheld, the ATM has been fixed to hold your card and copy your PIN. If that occurs, once you have stormed off in distress, the thief (watching from a distance) retrieves your card and duly empties your account, taking more money from your card illegally than you can ever do legitimately!
All this said, we cannot protect you from yourself, only guide and advise you based on personal knowledge and experience. Therefore, before leaving home, independent travel advice regarding health, safety, and security in South Africa should be obtained through Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website Smartraveller.
That is all. Be Safe!!
Please Read: Emergency Serivces & Assistance in South Africa