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Travel Safe SA

Enjoy your stay in Southern Africa - stay safeWhile it is no secret that South Africa suffers from an exceptionally high crime rate, it is possible, with a few preparations, to travel safely without any trouble. There are a few ‘musts’ to take into account while in populated as well as unpopulated areas of Africa. Please bear in mind that while some of these tips might make things sound impossibly scary, if you follow them you have every chance of wondering why Africa is considered so dangerous. The vast majority of crime in Africa is petty theft and you can mostly avoid that by BEING AWARE at all times.

  1. Be aware of your surroundings: Criminals are most likely to accost people who they can see are not aware of what is going on around them. These people make easier targets. Always be sure to keep your eyes open and be alert to the goings on around you. This behaviour is obvious and will deter a possible crime.
  2. Keep valuables out of sight: If you don’t look like you have anything worth taking, you are less likely to be accosted. Lock valuables in the boot of your vehicle and leave valuable jewellery at home.
  3. Lock your doors: Keep your car doors locked at all times when travelling and, while stopped at intersections or traffic lights, keep an eye on your surroundings. Always make sure your trunk is locked while driving. Lock your hotel room while you are out and, if you are in a holiday house, lock any doors that are out of your sight.
  4. Leave any extra money, bank cards and other similar items you usually carry at home. If you don’t need them in Africa don’t bring them here. Don’t carry large wads of cash around with you, it is possible to pay by card in most places in Africa, so take cards rather than cash wherever possible.
  5. Stay in well-populated, well lit areas and don’t take streets or roads that you are not absolutely sure about. Try not to travel alone, especially at night and always make sure someone know where you are going. Never pick up hitchhikers.
  6. If you hire a car, try to get something common and not something swanky and unusual. Always wear your seatbelts and always park in well-lit areas with security guards or a locked gate.
  7. Never discuss your travel plans with strangers or flash large amounts of cash around when paying your bills.
  8. Try to keep a low profile. Only ever exchange cash at an authorised agent, never on the black market.
  9. Carry copies of your passports, credit cards and emergency numbers in a separate place to the originals as these will help you a great deal if those originals are lost or stolen.
  10. Many lodges have lock-up safes in which you can keep your passports or other valuables during your stay. It is a good idea to make use of this facility.
  11. Ensure you suitcases are securely locked on domestic flights to avoid having them rifled through.
  12. Carry anything valuable such as cell phones, cameras and laptops in your hand luggage, and make sure that your hand luggage is with you or within your line of vision at all times.
  13. At airports in Africa, only ever use the official porters. It is not unheard of that people posing as porters walk off with peoples’ luggage and it is never seen again. This can easily be avoided by being alert and making sure your porter works for the airport.
  14. If the worst does happen and you are accosted by a criminal, DO NOT fight back. Give up everything you are asked for and don’t make eye contact. The vast majority of criminals want your things and not you so if you comply, you are less likely to get hurt.
  15. If you are a victim of crime it is vital that you report the crime as urgently as possible to the police. Contact your bank if your bank cards are stolen and contact your embassy immediately if your passport is stolen.
  16. Never leave the airport with someone you don’t know. Always use official hotel transport. Tembelani Safaris will always have an official meet you at the airport and ensure you are safely delivered to your accommodation.
  17. For more information about travelling in Africa click here.