SAFETY AND SECURITY

“Cape Town is a major, modern cosmopolitan South African city. As such, we would advise travellers to exercise the same level of vigilance they would exercise when visiting any major city in the world.

This includes ensuring you follow basic safety tips such as keeping emergency numbers on hand, avoiding carrying large sums of cash, and keeping your valuables safe at all times.

For the overwhelming majority of the 1,7 million foreign visitors to the Western Cape in 2018, a visit to Cape Town and the Western Cape was a positive, memorable experience. The destination is frequently cited as among the world’s best holiday destinations and has a high return visitor rate, proving that those who visit our destination once, fall in love with it, and want to discover it again.” – Cape Town Tourism

Safety Information

IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO SOUTH AFRICA

When it comes to tourism safety in South Africa, it’s important to know that there are practical steps you can take to mitigate the impact of crime and ensure a secure travel experience. Locals will often advise you to be cautious and remain constantly aware of your surroundings, as this can go a long way in ensuring your safety.

By following this advice, you’ll have the opportunity to create lifelong memories while exploring South Africa’s breathtaking landscapes, encountering its diverse wildlife, and immersing yourself in its fascinating history. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to meet captivating people from a variety of cultures, enriching your travel experience.

It’s worth noting that as a visitor, you can also make a positive contribution to the prevention of crime by adhering to some key suggestions. While South Africa is known for being a popular destination, attracting numerous repeat visitors, it’s essential to keep in mind that millions of tourists visit the country without incident each year.

Like many cosmopolitan destinations, South Africa faces its share of crime. However, it’s important to understand that this crime is not primarily targeted at tourists and does not typically occur in areas frequented by visitors. While exceptions exist, ensuring tourism safety in South Africa remains a top priority for the industry.

Media reports often highlight South Africa’s reputation for crime and corruption. However, it’s crucial not to base perceptions solely on these reports as they may not always provide a balanced perspective and can sometimes exaggerate the situation. Instead, consulting your travel agent or tour operator will provide a more accurate picture of what is happening on the ground.

Just like any other country, South Africa has areas that are safer than others. In most cases, common sense prevails, and taking the same precautions you would when travelling in any foreign country or city in the world is advisable. Furthermore, planning a properly structured itinerary through a reputable tour operator with a strong tourism safety protocol will help mitigate any potential risks. In the unlikely event of an incident, this ensures that you will receive swift assistance from experts and local authorities.

Is South Africa Safe for Solo Travellers?

It is generally safe to travel alone in South Africa. However, like any other destination, it is important to take necessary precautions and be aware of your surroundings. It is recommended to stay in well-populated areas, avoid walking alone at night, and take taxis or rideshares instead.

Careful planning and knowledge of how to get around are key to making the most out of your visit while staying safe. It is also advisable to inform someone from your accommodation of your plans for added peace of mind. Remember, prioritizing your safety is essential for an enjoyable and worry-free trip to South Africa.

Is South Africa LGBTQA++ Friendly?

South Africa is often rated as one of the friendliest LGBTAQ++ destinations and is known for having one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, which includes protections for LGBTQA++ individuals.

Here is what makes South Africa one of the most gay-friendly destinations:

1. The majority of the South African public is accepting of homosexuality

2. Sexual activity for same-sex couples: Male legal since 1998. Females were always legal.

3. Civil union rights: Limited recognition of unregistered partnerships since 1998; same-sex marriage since 2006.

4. Marriage rights: Legal since 2006.

5. Adoption rights: Legal since 2002.

6. Military service rights: Legal since 1998.

7. Anti-discrimination laws: Our Constitution bans all anti-gay discrimination.

8. Gender identity laws: Anti-discrimination laws are interpreted to include gender identity; legal gender may be changed after surgical or medical treatment.

That being said, there are still incidents of discrimination against the community, particularly in rural areas. Please exercise caution and research your visit well or get guidance from a reputable tour operator or travel agent.

Is it Safe to Visit a Township?

If you’re planning a holiday in South Africa, you may have come across warnings about crime in the townships or even advice that you should avoid these areas completely. While it’s true that crime rates are often higher in these areas, tours of the townships occur every day without incident, offering a glimpse into how many South Africans live and the complexity of South African society.

Visiting one of the townships is a great way to get an authentic glimpse of everyday life and culture in these vibrant communities. Engaging with local people and seeing how they live, work, and play is a rewarding cultural experience for many tourists. Township tours also provide an opportunity to learn about the history and evolution of these areas, from their humble beginnings as informal settlements to their current status as thriving urban centres.

However, it’s important to ensure that you go into the “right” places within these townships to ensure that your visit goes smoothly. Opting for a guided tour with a reputable operator who has knowledge of the area and a planned itinerary is the best way to do this. These tours are carefully structured by people who know these areas best and are often led by guides who have grown up within the township, experienced living there firsthand, and have close personal ties to the area and its residents.

Whether you’re in Johannesburg and want to explore the vibrant township of Soweto or in Cape Town and wish to trek your way through Langa – the Mother City’s oldest township – you will have no trouble finding a guide to share the colourful stories, sights, and sounds of these areas. With improved safety and carefully structured tours, you can count on an authentic day of sights and activities, making for a more meaningful excursion.

While you definitely shouldn’t be fearful when embarking on a guided township tour in South Africa, it’s always important to follow your guide’s directions, be aware of your surroundings, and keep the following safety tips in mind:

1. Do not carry large sums of money on you

2. Do not wear flashy jewellery

3. Keep personal belongings such as handbags and backpacks secure at all times

4. Always be aware of your surroundings

5. Stick close to your tour group

Is South Africa politically stable?

South Africa’s government and politics are stable. Having gone through a traumatic past of apartheid, civil and political unrest, and the incredible changes that created the current democratic system of governance under Nelson Mandela, South Africans are incredibly proud of their Rainbow Nation and democratic freedom.

Our hard-fought-for constitution allows South Africans to stand up for their rights when they feel aggrieved. This occasionally surfaces as protests – the majority of which are peaceful demonstrations but can become disorderly. In either case, protests and surrounding areas are best avoided by tourists.

Prepared by – Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA):

STATEMENT ON SA-ISRAEL STANCE

The South African government is currently involved in a legal case at the International Court of Justice regarding certain actions by the Israeli government. This reflects their perspective on the Israel-Palestine conflict, especially events in Gaza.

It’s important to recognise that opinions in South Africa are diverse on this issue. While the government’s position is clear, it doesn’t represent the views of all South Africans. Many people here have different viewpoints – some argue for a more balanced approach to Israel and Palestine, while others question whether the government’s current approach is effective.

Even with the government’s stance, ties between South Africans and Israelis are still robust and diverse, including cultural, social and economic links. There is ongoing open engagement with Israeli society, which includes welcoming Israeli and Jewish visitors to South Africa. Our country is proud of its diversity and hospitality, and we assure all international tourists, including Israelis, that they are welcome here.

We understand travellers may be concerned about potential unrest due to these political issues. We want to firmly reassure everyone that South Africa remains a peaceful travel destination for Israeli and Jewish travellers. Political debates like these don’t lead to hostility or violence within our borders. Our commitment to providing a safe and enriching experience for visitors remains unchanged.

South Africa continues to value dialogue and peaceful exchange. Visitors from around the world, including Israel, can explore and enjoy the unique experiences we offer here.

 

Prepared by – Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA):