This article could have been titled 10 tips for SAFE travel to South Africa, but when it comes to the rainbow nation safe is a word that is difficult to link either day to day life or the experience of travellers taking in the sights.
While crime statistics have improved over the past decade (though again rising slightly in 2009), South Africa still retains one of the world’s highest crime rates. It’s not simply the amount of crime that’s the worry, but the percentage of that crime that is violent in nature. In a recent address to parliament, South African President Jacob Zuma stated that South Africa has a greater problem with violent crime than any other country in the world (a statement made in the year South Africa is hosting the world cup). Travelling this country is an amazing experience but a journey that must be undertaken with caution.
The following 10 tips will help you to travel safer in South Africa.
10. Safety starts at the Airport. The main terminal at Johannesburg’s international airport is not a particularly safe place. Thieves, pickpockets and other low life’s stalk the area looking for anything not nailed down. Be aware of your possessions and exit stage left as quickly as possible.
9. Rental cars. This is probably the safest way to get around the country. Despite this everybody has heard the carjacking horror stories (there are 250 police dedicated to hijackings in Joberg alone), and precautions have to be taken. DO NOT drive at night, leave a gap of an inch or so on your driver’s side window (which makes it harder to smash the window), keep your doors locked (central locking is a must) and be vigilant at traffic lights as this is the usual spot for car jackings to occur.