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How to stay safe when on holiday in South Africa

The Republic of South Africa is one of the most popular tourist destinations globally. However, crime can be a problem, especially for those who are vulnerable and ill-prepared or aren’t necessarily armed with the information they need to prevent it. Make sure you enjoy your holiday to South Africa without having to worry about becoming a victim of crime with these simple steps to keep you and your loved ones safe. In fact, you should follow these safety tips wherever you travel in the world, without focusing on them so much that you ruin your trip.

Top 5 safety tips for travellers on holiday in South Africa

1. Be alert and aware

Don't take obvious risks and use your common sense. A lot of the crime in South Africa is petty crime - pick pocketing, stealing items out of bags and muggings. This is crime born of opportunity. If you ask for trouble, you’re likely to attract it. Avoid wearing flashy accessories in public, and don’t leave your handbag unattended or unzipped. It is very easy to slip a cellphone or wallet out of a bag, so zip up and leave your expensive rings and necklaces at the hotel.

2. Use your hotel safe

Taking laptops, cellphones and other valuables along has become the norm when travelling. However, these items are easy to steal, and expensive to replace. If you are in a hotel or guest house, lock your valuables, including your passport, into the safe in your room. If there is no safe, ask reception to hold your valuables for you during the day while you are out sightseeing. However, if you do this, always ask for a receipt so that it is on record that they have stored these items.

                                                                                       Photo by: The Merry Monk

3. Don’t walk around at night

This is especially important for females. Don’t be the victim who thinks: “Oh, I’ll go out on my own, just this once” because as mentioned above, a lot of crime is committed when there is opportunity. If you have to go to the shops at night when on holiday in South Africa, ask some friends to go with you, or go without. We really cannot stress this enough, especially in urban and city areas at night.

4. Keep your credit card in your sight at all times

Credit card fraud is a nasty crime to experience, especially if you’re in a foreign country. Don’t let the card out of your sight, even if your waiter is really friendly. Most sales people in South Africa are aware of credit card etiquette, and won’t take your card away from you. If you find a sales person taking your credit card away to do the transaction, stop them, and ask to accompany them to complete the transaction.

                                                                                 Photo by: breakingbusiness

5. Use taxis from a reputable company

There are different types of taxis in South Africa, and metered taxis are available as privately owned and company owned. We strongly recommend you take taxis that are part of a registered taxi company, their rates are often lower and they are much safer, reliable and regulated. To get the number of a trustworthy cab company, ask your hotel reception. An alternative is to hire a car and get around on your own terms.

It is unfortunate that South Africa has gained a negative connotation with regards to safety. However, if you want to enjoy your holiday and not be a victim of crime, use your common sense at all times, and don’t give potential criminals opportunity to commit a crime. Most of the time, you can enjoy a fantastic holiday without even coming into contact with the wrong-doings of criminals. Your focus should be on having fun and enjoying the incredible sights and sounds of this diverse country.

Be cautious and ensure that you get to take pleasure in, what could be one of the most spectacular experiences of your life.

Jacqueline Freer

Jacqueline Freer Title: Blog Contributor
Affiliation: Drive South Africa Blog Jacqueline has a career background consisting of nightlife eventing and entertainment fused with hospitality then blending with branding and business and over the past few years focusing on digital media. Her personal passions include the arts, travel, food, film and photography. Please visit the Inrichmint Media Studio website.
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