South Africa has received its fair share of negative media coverage for its high crime rate. And so it comes as no surprise that many have advised that the country isn’t safe for tourists.
With statistics placing South Africa on the list of top ten countries with the highest crime rates, the bad reputation has strengthened. While murder and rape remain a prominent issue in South Africa, a majority of the crimes occur amongst people who know each other and are more frequent in particular areas. These areas aren’t tourist destinations.
With that said, it is safe to say that while South Africa may have a bad reputation, to say that the country is unsafe for tourist is merely a result of misconceptions. Statistics have shown that most crimes related to tourists are tied to petty crime, and can be avoided with the same precautions you should be taking at home.
Here are a few steps one can take when visiting South Africa.
Research the areas before visiting
While South Africa may have a reputation for its crime rate, the majority of crimes occur in settlements established during the Apartheid era. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid these areas altogether. What you should do is get a local guide to show you all the hidden gems and interesting insight of the communities and cultures.
Usually, these settlements and townships are on the outskirts of the city and therefore it is best to tour these areas during the day. These areas offer various cultural experiences; it’s an adventure not to be missed.
Walking alone at night is not a good idea, particularly in the big cities such as Johannesburg and Cape Time. After a long day of tourist guides taking you here and there, it’s always nice to go for a stroll on your own.
However, walking alone could make you a target for pickpocketing, sometimes even when walking in a group. Therefore, it’s best to take a cab rather than to take the risk.
Flashing your valuables
Avoid flashing your valuables. Objects such as cell phones and expensive jewelry can attract the wrong attention. It’s best to leave your valuables at a safe place such your accommodation, and carry only the things you need. When you’re walking in the city, be sure to keep your eyes off your cell phone, instead focus on your surroundings.
Driving in South Africa
It’s essential to lock your car doors when driving. Also, place your valuables out of sight. This should be a priority, particularly when you’re driving at night. Additionally, ensure that your valuables are also out of sight while driving.
Pay attention to your instincts
Always pay attention to your surroundings no matter where you find yourself in the world. When you’re touring an unfamiliar area. Here are a few tips to consider while traveling in South Africa:
- Look in every direction
- Ensure that you let everyone know where you’re going
- Avoid looking at your phone while walking
- Remain alert.
While taking reasonable precaution is advised while traveling in South Africa, it’s not too far from what you’d do when touring Asia and Europe. After all, there are so many attractions to explore from Cape Town to Johannesburg that you simply cannot miss. Use the above-listed tips to ensure that you get the most of your experiences in South Africa without hiccups.