South Africa is a vibrant country, with lots of cultures and languages to explore. However, it can also be dangerous in many areas, and crime rates are high. While you can have a fun, trouble-free trip to South Africa, especially if visiting the places popular with tourists, it’s important to keep your wits about you. You need to know how to navigate some of the various problems that a visit to South Africa might pose, particularly if you want to go “off the beaten track”. If you’re planning a visit to the southernmost country in Africa, consider following these tips to make your journey a safe one.
Look After Your Health
Before you start thinking about protecting yourself from crime or anything else, it’s a good idea to consider your health. Malaria might be a concern for some, but it isn’t a risk in most tourist areas. However, you should look into buying malaria tablets online if you’re visiting Kruger National Park and some other areas where this is a risk. Like many countries around the world, there are certain vaccinations recommended by health professionals for visiting South Africa. You should have your routine vaccinations, such as MMR and polio, up to date. Most travelers should be vaccinated against hepatitis A, tetanus, and typhoid. Additional vaccinations are recommended for some travelers, so speak to your doctor.
Choose Your Destination Wisely
If you’re visiting South Africa, deciding where to go can have an impact on how safe you are likely to be. Crime rates are higher in townships and more remote areas. If you’re planning to visit more populated tourist areas, crime rates are generally much lower. The authorities prioritize protecting tourists and areas frequented by them, so the risk of violent crime isn’t as much of a concern for most. Tourism police help to protect larger towns and cities so that you can relax. However, you should still ensure that you remain vigilant and take steps to protect yourself from crime, even in tourist destinations.
Be Wary of Large Gatherings
Advice for visitors from various official sources says that it’s important to be careful around large gatherings in South Africa. Of course, this is true in many countries, as there is usually an increased risk of crime when it’s hard to keep an eye on everyone around you. If you’re planning on attending a sports event, concert or other gathering, you should be particularly vigilant. Protests and demonstrations can often occur, and it’s best to avoid these altogether. Violence can sometimes be a problem.
Be Careful on the Road
Driving in a foreign country is often difficult because standards of driving vary so greatly across the world. South Africa certainly isn’t the only country with a high road traffic accident fatality rate, but it’s important to be especially careful when driving or on the road. One particular problem to watch out for is less to do with driving standards than it is crime on the roads. Vehicle hi-jacking is an issue in many areas, so it’s essential to be careful whenever your vehicle comes to a stand-still. When you’re driving, stay on main roads and in well-lit areas to increase your safety.
Hire a Local Guide
Not everyone wants to stay in the safe tourist areas all the time. There are various reasons you might visit other places as part of your trip, including townships. If you’re planning to go to a township or more remote area, it’s a good idea to find a professional guide who knows the local area well. They will know what to look out for and how to navigate the area in the safest way possible so that you can get what you want from your trip without having to worry too much.
Exercise Caution on the Beach
Spending time on the beach is a draw for many travelers, including those who go to South Africa. Safety standards can vary, however, so it’s important to be careful if you’re going to go to the beach or in the sea. Most beaches don’t have flags or warning signs, so you often need to get information about the safety of the beach from elsewhere. You might be able to look online, or you can talk to local people about conditions. Some beaches do have flags, lifeguards and safety equipment, so you might prefer to stick to them.
A trip to South Africa can be a beautiful and enriching experience, but you need to be careful. You should be relatively safe in tourist areas, but it’s still important to be vigilant, just like you would when traveling to any other country.