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Is Cape Town safe for tourists?

So, is Cape Town safe for tourists? Yes!

It’s common for tourists visiting Cape Town to be concerned about the level of crime in the area. In any unfamiliar territory, this is a normal anxiety, especially from a traveller’s perspective.

However, things are not as bad as they have sometimes been painted in this vibrant and eclectic city. Cape Town has been transformed into a safe place for tourists to explore.

Above: Cape Town is safe for tourists and families.

Cape Town safety features upgraded

Cape Town Tourism has been exceedingly vigilant since crime in the area received its bad press before the 2010 soccer world cup, constantly meeting to improve and bolster security measures within the city since 2005. Their Cape Town Safety and Support plan, alongside a devoted Visitor Support Programme, strives to simultaneously prevent crimes and assist any tourists affected by criminal activity.  

In addition, you’ll find that most tourist-heavy areas are well-protected. The bigger malls, central business district, national landmarks and visitor hotspots have gone to great pains in order to safeguard tourists.

Cape Town safety: the tale of two cities

As one Cape Town tourist puts it; “Cape Town is safe enough if you take precautions. There are really two cities here, but the crime stats blend them together. The poor communities of the Cape Flats see 95% of the crime while the city centre and suburbs are pretty safe in terms of violent crime.”

Just like with all the other major cities around the world, Cape Town is safe when you take certain universal safety measures in order to safeguard yourself and your belongings from criminal activity and local hazards.

Tips to keep Cape Town safe for tourists:

1. Stick to the main Cape town tourist locations

 Bear in mind that most major tourist spots are safe and well-guarded. Stick to these places, rather than going off track into townships without guidance.

2. Car safety in Cape Town

Tourists can easily hire a car in Cape Town to explore the city. Most popular parking lots have attendants who assist you with parking, as well as keeping an eye on your car whilst you’re away. Still, whether you pull off-road to park or use one of these designated spaces, it is vital that you keep your windows shut, your doors locked, and your valuables hidden. Make sure you have enough fuel for your journey, to avoid breaking down in a spot you weren’t expecting to visit.

3. Is it safe to travel to Cape Town’s suburbs by train?

Above: Cape Town train tracks - photo by Vjeran2001

While occasionally there is an incident of mugging on Capetonian trains, these normally only happen at night. During the day, stations and train cars are teeming with harmless commuters – much like yourself and your children. If you travel during the sunlit hours, especially around 8am and 5pm, you should be perfectly safe on Cape Town's trains.

You can rent a car for under R180/day?

4. Is Cape Town safe all year round?

There is never really a terrible time to visit the beautiful city of Cape Town. However, there are stages where it is less prudent. Be extra cautious if you are visiting for school holidays and events such as the Cape Argus cycle race and the Two Oceans Marathon. The high level of human traffic means pickpocketing often goes unnoticed.

5. Avoid exhibiting pricey belongings

A vital thing to remember is, don’t flaunt your wealth. Keep your valuable items at home, or at least well out of sight, in order to prevent any temptation for criminals. Refrain from bringing large sums of cash around with you. Only take what you need, or utilise other forms of payment such as debit or credit cards (widely accepted in South Africa).

6. Baboons and safety in Cape Town

Above: Baboons in Cape Town - photo by Stellab

In Cape Town, especially near the more mountainous regions, you may come across a baboon – even a troupe! Usually monitors are around to help prevent them from harassing passers by, to ensure tourist safety, but be wary of them. Do not feed them – they are wild animals. Although there have only been a few reports of actual attacks, one more is too many.

7. Cape Town's Shark awareness

The local beaches rely on Shark Spotters, not nets, to keep tourists safe from attacks. As the number of sharks approaching the beach have increased significantly, it is important to swim close to the shore, and be aware of sirens and red flags.

Cape Town is a beautiful city. Don’t be alienated by the negative hype. Many tourists have the time of their life. As one visitor said; “There are some general safety precautions you should take, but it's the exact same as in any other big city. Don't flaunt your wealth, don't venture into the settlements and don't be driving around without locking your car etc. I have personally not been touched by any crime, nor have anybody in my extended family!”

The above tells us that the answer to "Is Cape Town safe for tourists?" - is indeed, yes. Cape Town is safe for tourists!

If you need to hire a specific vehicle during your trip to Cape Town then here are some options below;


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11 Responses on this page.Add your own

  1. Gravatar wayne crocker says:

    I have visited Cape Town 12 times in the last 10 years. It is an amazing city with a great array of places to stay, eat and explore. I often travel with people with a learning disability and Capetonians are the most accepting and accommodating hosts, making sure my disabled colleagues feel welcome.  I love promoting Cape Town to friends and colleagues and nothing but nothing beats that rush of excitement as you drive over the hill by UCT and see the bay and bowl laid out in front of you.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Gravatar Anna Shekhtman says:

    If anybody wants to search in more detail about the safety of Cape Town, here is a very informative website: www.capetownsafety.com
    It also includes a map of more controversial parts of the city, which should not be visited at night, transportation options, wildlife dangers, etc. Tourists in Cape Town still need be educated, because anything can happen.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Gravatar Bianca van der Bergh says:

    Hi Anna
    Thanks for sharing that informative website with us. It’s a really helpful site that tourists should definitely have a look at.
    Have a great day.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Gravatar Grahame Leach says:

    October 2013 We have just returned from Capetown with an organised party. One of the couples were attacked in their room within one of the upmarket hotels. The man wielded a gun and during the robbery he shot at the ceiling then beat the gentleman over the head with his gun. This resulted in a stay in hospital for this gentleman. Part of the problem in Capetown, is a huge lack of security, even after the event, in this hotel. South Africa is wonderful but it needs to address this problem immediatly.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Gravatar Bianca van der Bergh says:

    Hi Grahame
    It’s so sad to hear about what happened to one of the couples. That’s a really unpleasant experience. We’re really sorry to hear that. Is he okay now?

    Reply to this comment
  6. Gravatar Laura@RoamFarAndWide says:

    I am visiting Cape Town now as a solo woman.  I was worried before I arrived - but there was no need.  Cape Town feels very safe during the day.  I don’t go out alone at night but I wouldn’t go out alone at night in most major cities.
    It is spectacularly beautiful place definitely worth visiting.  I am writing about it in my blog if you’re interested.

    Reply to this comment
    1. Gravatar Asanda says:

      Hi Laura

      Thank you for visiting DriveSouthAfrica.co.za and Cape Town. It is a lovely city. :)

      Best Regards,

      Reply to this comment
  7. Gravatar Khanyisa says:

    hey people you should visit this wonderful place called cape town it is a very very very joyful place it is heaven its self when i first laid my feet on the grounds of cape twon ifelt home because it has it’s worth of love and the beauty shines within it

    Reply to this comment
    1. Gravatar Asanda says:

      Hi Khanyisa

      Thank you for visiting our site. We like that you love Cape Town. We feel the same way. :)

      Warm Regards,

      Reply to this comment
  8. Gravatar Siliziwe Khanyisa Mtsabe says:

    Health tips
    •High-quality tap (faucet) water is available across the city and it is both palatable and safe to drink straight from the tap.
    • The quality of the food is excellent, and Cape Town has some of the top resaurants in the world.
    •Medical facilities in Cape Town are world-class. There is an excellent network of both state and private hospitals.
    • We have a warm sunny climate and you should wear sunscreen and a hat whenever you are out of doors during the day, particularly between 10am and 4pm.
    • If you’re an adult, you won’t need any inoculations unless you’re travelling from a yellow-fever endemic area (the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America), in which case you will need certification to prove your inoculation status when you arrive in the country.
    • Hepatitis B inoculations are recommended for children up to the age of 12 who have not completed the series of injections as infants.
    • Cape Town is not a malaria area.

    Reply to this comment
    1. Gravatar Asanda says:

      Hi Khanyisa

      Thank you for visiting our site. We appreciate your sharing of health tips with us & our community.
      Very helpful of you. :)

      Have a lovely day.

      Warm Regards,

      Reply to this comment




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