Johannesburg is notorious for being a dangerous city—it's quite common to hear about serious crimes such as armed robbery and murder. Even South Africans fear it, regarding it as some Americans regard New York City: big and bad. That said, it's safe for visitors who avoid dangerous areas and take reasonable precautions. Do not leave bags or valuables visible in a car, and keep the doors locked, even while driving (to minimize the risk of smash-and-grab robberies or hijackings); don't wear flashy jewelry or carry large wads of cash or expensive equipment. Never, ever visit a township or squatter camp on your own. Unemployment is rife, and foreigners are easy pickings. If you wish to see a township, check with reputable companies, which run excellent tours and know which areas to avoid. The Apartheid Museum and Cradle of Humankind are perfectly safe to visit on your own.
It's inadvisable to drive yourself in and around the city, as certain areas are known carjacking spots. Carjacking is so prevalent that there are permanent street signs marking those areas that are most dangerous. Order a car service or transportation from your hotel for trips in and around the city.
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