South Africa is a beautiful place, but there are people who just do not want to visit. People are afraid to plan a trip to the country because they have the perception that South Africa is ridden with crime and thugs at every corner.
When I was in Seychelles, some locals said they were skeptical to visit because they have heard all the “crime stories”.
There may be pickpockets at the corner of the street or robbers who want you expensive jewellery, however one can avoid this by being vigilant while they still have a good time. Like any country, South Africa does have crime and travellers can avoid being a statistic if they adhere to a set of rules as they go out exploring.
Here are some travel tips for when visiting South Africa:
1: Be street smart: In South Africa, you need to act less like a tourist and more like a local. Criminals often pry on people who show signs of fear. When out and about, show that you are confident, put your shoulders and chest out and walk your bravest walk.
2: Keep luggage safe: Whether you are at the airport, at the hotel or grabbing a quick snack, always keep your luggage safe. Try to lock it and store the key somewhere safe and handy.
3: Plan routes in advance: While we all like a little spontaneity once in a while, wandering the off beaten track to dangerous parts of a particular city where even locals dare not to visit is just being careless. Instead, ask the hotel or your tour guide of a list of expeditions that you can do that would not compromise your safety.
4: Travel with groups: Travel with people. Even if there are criminals lurking around, they dare not try to attack a group.
5: Keep travel documents and extra money locked in the safe at the hotel: Carrying everything with you while you explore is never a good idea because if you are confronted by a criminal act, you will lose everything. While we hope that never happens, if it does you have back up at the hotel.
6: Transport: There will always be transport scams whichever country you visit, therefore ask the hotel front desk or the tourism office which transport company you should choose according to your budget.
7: Never wander alone, especially at night: Never go out without anyone. Even if you are on a solo trip, try to interact with locals and other travellers. There are safety in numbers.
8: Do not entertain people who think are suspicious: There will be people who ask you for money and food, try not to entertain them if you feel they have ulterior motives.
9: South Africa is not as bad as it is perceived: Do not go around being afraid the whole time you visit. We are a beautiful country with warm people who are always happy to see new tourists. All you have to do is be vigilant and have fun.
10: Know the police number: Know the local authorities number so you can report incidents to them as it happens.