Southern Africa Travel Advice:
Crime, like anywhere else in
the world, can be a problem, but you really need not do
much more than take all the usual sensible precautions.
Know where you're going before you set off, particularly
at night, watch your possessions, don't walk alone in
dodgy areas, lock your doors at night.
And, like anywhere else in the world, there are some
areas of major cities which are more dodgy than others.
It is easy to avoid these and still have a good time.
consider taking your mobile with you or renting one
whilst youre away. Store useful numbers such as the
local police and the nearest embassy or consulate
check with your service provider to make sure your
phone works abroad
check beforehand that the areas you plan to visit are
safe by asking hotel staff or police. In South Africa it
is not advisable to use local commuter and metro trains
as attacks on foreigners have occurred.
do not to hitchhike or accept or carry items for
be careful when taking photographs, videos or using
binoculars. Such activities may be misunderstood,
especially near military installations
dont openly display valuables such as mobile phones
or digital cameras and consider using a padlock on
suitcases or backpacks
dont carry more money than you need for the day or
If you need to carry a lot of cash ask your partner of
friend to carry some for you
keep a small amount of cash in your wallet and the
rest in a secure money belt or inside pocket
if you have several credit or debit cards, only take
one out with you
leave your cash, cards and travellers cheques in a
hotel safe check it is secure
Be prepared to deal with:
aggressive sales tactics and being charged more than
various scams aimed at tourists.
thieves such as pickpockets.
beggars, including children being exploited by adults
as street beggars. See begging.
Take precautions, but do not get paranoid about it.
Those who choose to drive private cars, either borrowed
or hired, should be aware that car hijackings do occur,
although precautions can be taken to avoid this. Drivers
should always be on the alert when they come to a halt
at traffic lights or stop streets, as well as when they
are arriving at or leaving premises.
Doors should be locked at all times, and while the
temptation is to keep windows open in sunny weather,
they should be kept closed.
Plan your travel route beforehand. Make sure that you do
not leave valuables in clear view of people on the side
of the road. Articles such as cellular phones and
handbags left on seats are favoured targets of smash and
When parking at night choose well-lit or
security-patrolled parking areas. Street security guards
will usually ask whether they can watch over your car
and in return should be paid a small fee anything from
two rand upwards.
In many places there are no fences and potentially
dangerous animals wander through.
Please listen to your guides and hosts. The safety
precautions need to be taken seriously.
Don't drive off the roads in game reserves and
Don't feed animals or birds (especially baboons and
hyenas) - this creates dependency, so they become a
threat to travellers and rangers have to shoot them.
Do not go wandering off on your own, approach animals
on foot, or leave your vehicle to do so, unless you are
with a qualified guide.
Do not swim in rivers unless your guide recommends it.
Crocodiles, hippos and bilharzia are potential dangers.
Never attempt to attract an animal's attention.
Litter tossed on the ground can choke or poison
animals and birds and is unsightly.
Refrain from smoking on game drives. The dry African
bush ignites very easily, and a flash fire can kill
Do not buy products made from endangered fauna or
ATMs and con artists
Watch out for con artists at the automated teller
machines (ATM). Under no circumstances allow a stranger
to assist you in your transactions. Should your card
become stuck in the ATM, enter your PIN three times
whereupon the machine will retain your card. You can
then approach the bank to release it, or call the
helpline number that can usually be found at ATMs for
Beware, too, of confidence tricksters who try and
persuade you to invest in their schemes, requiring you
to disclose confidential banking details.
Should you lose your passport, report the loss as soon
as possible to your country's embassy or consulate, and
to the local police.