– Experience safari in Africa
– Traveling around Africa by means of transport?
It was dinner in my hometown, California, and I asked my friends what was the first thing they thought of when they thought of traveling to South Africa . I thought they would say things like, “elephant”, and “Lion King”, but it turned out that what I got was “Ebola epidemic”, “football” and “crime”. When I told them I was going on a trip to South Africa, they freaked out.
It is extremely clear that there is a huge misunderstanding about this land, because there is much more interesting here than just rumors about the Ebola epidemic or the World Cup that has been held for many years. before. South Africa is huge and diverse, with an area of more than 471,000 square miles, a population of more than 53 million people, and eleven official languages.
1. Why does South Africa have such a bad reputation?
South Africa was the first country where most locals I met said that smuggling and violent crime flourished here, and is even increasing. My South African friends turned out to be the first to warn me about the dangers of traveling to South Africa .
According to the BBC, the violent crime rate here is the ninth highest in the world, and the rate of rape is top. In 2012, a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reported that in South Africa, the intentional homicide rate was 30 people per 100,000 population.
However, statistics also show that most of the carnage took place by people who knew each other, and in areas less touristy. Tourists are not the main target of this evil.
The history of South Africa has partly explained the current trend. Racism was pushed back and the movement towards reconciliation led by former president Nelson Mandela was victorious. Although today is still fraught with political, economic and racial struggles, tourism in South Africa is not as scary and dangerous as we think.
2. Safety in South Africa
After spending nine weeks traveling around the country, I’ve come to realize that I have to take extra precautions when out in the streets than in Southeast Asia or Germany, but in terms of potential danger it’s no different from major cities in the US or other regions in Europe.
To be on the safe side, I’ve put together some South Africa travel tips to keep you out of trouble.
3. Avoid unsafe places
While crime rates are much higher in downtown areas, staying safe doesn’t mean you have to stay away from them altogether. In these areas there are many interesting bars, children frolicking in the streets and delicious BBQ grills sold on the sidewalks. You should only visit this area during the day and with the guidance of a local guide. In South Africa, there are many detailed sightseeing programs for your reference.
4. Don’t go out at night
People often inadvertently make themselves the center of attraction for criminals by walking at night rather than taking public transport. Even if you go in a group, you can still get pickpocketed, but going alone is more likely. Do not walk alone, especially at night.
5. Avoid unnecessary attention
If you want to be noticed, wear lots of jewelry and fancy clothes, and keep your phone in your hand instead of in your pocket. If not, you want to be safe while traveling to South Africa, remember to dress casually without being too flashy or revealing, and high-value items like cameras and phones must also be carefully stored. Don’t carry your passport on the street. Only pull out your camera and phone when you’re sitting in a coffee shop or at home/hotel room.
6. Tips with your wallet
I had a lot of times when I was quite tired and walking alone in the street, which was inevitable, so I equipped myself with a fake wallet, just a few invalid credit cards and some money. inside, everything I kept in my shoes, and in my bra.
During my trip to South Africa , I took precautions every time someone approached me and always left my fake wallet outside to avoid attention on the places where I kept important things. Although I have never had to use this wallet, it is better to be careful.
7. Lock car doors and store important items
In big cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg, there are a lot of car thefts by breaking in. To avoid these situations, lock your car windows while driving and keep everything from sunglasses, phones, bags and wallets out of sight. When you have to park somewhere, don’t leave anything, not even a pair of cheap sunglasses, in plain view.
Actually, it’s not difficult at all to travel South Africa safely . You just need to be a little more careful. While the statistics may sound appalling, I spent most of my time here freely sightseeing without worrying about potential hazards. Traveling to South Africa is not as scary as you think!