Crime in places other than Joberg!

Jun 13th, 2002, 08:09 AM
Posts: n/a
Crime in places other than Joberg!


Surely there must be somebody out there who can give us this information. We leave for South Africa soon. We need to know of the areas to avoid. We will be drving a rental car on our trip. Of course we will not drive at night or pick up strangers and avoid known crime areas. This is just common sense. What we need is to know whats happening on the ground.

To all those who answer thank you!

Jun 13th, 2002, 11:19 AM
Lisa Waverley
Posts: n/a
Ed and Gloria, i'll give it my best shot. I was hoping that Local who is from Pretoria was going to answer you. I haven't been to Pretoria in years and years so I would not know where the unsafe areas are.

I would seriously consider flying into Skukuza rather than renting a car. It is about a 5 hour drive. We have done the flight a number of times and it is very safe, easy and convenient. At today's exchange rate, the roundtrip air would cost you about $132 each.It is about an hour's flight from johannesburg. You can rent a car at Skukuza if you are staying in Kruger or if you are staying in a private camp, they will arrange transfers.

If you do not fly, you will be driving along major roads, so I think you should be fine.

La Lucia is a lovely upscale area in Durban. Make sure you get very good directions from the airport. I remember getting lost around the docks area and it did not look too great. I would check with your hosts or hotel before venturing to far into Zululand. A few years ago, there was a lot of faction fighting and unrest in certain areas. Umhlanga Rocks is near la Lucia and is a safe holiday area too.

You did not mention Cape Town. Are you going there?

Some things to remember.

When you stop at a traffic light (called a robot), leave a car length in front of you so that you do not get boxed in between cars. rent a car with air conditioning so that you do not drive with your windows rolled down.

There is no right turn on red.

When you are driving on country single lane roads and a car comes up behind you that is traveling faster than you (and believe me, they ALL drive faster than you), continue driving, but pull over into the shoulder lane and then when they pass you, pull back into your lane. you will see them flash you with their emergency hazard lights to thank you.

Avoid and beware minibus taxis everywhere. They do not follow any rules of the road and drive very dangerously. they will just drive over the sidewalks if they want.

The sidewalk is called the pavement.

Perhaps you should rent a cell phone at the airport and ask them for emergency numbers.

If you have any other questions, I will try to answer them. you can e-mail me directly. I live in USA and am an (ex) South African and travel there quite often. I'm no expert but I'll try my best.

I'm looking forward to hearing all the deatils of your trip so don't forget to post a report.
Jun 14th, 2002, 03:07 AM
Posts: n/a
Hmm, I actually did plan to respond but the fact that you do not indicate where you are going makes it a little difficult to be specific. In certain areas you need to be more vigilant than others. Johannesburg, for example, is a large city and there are very safe areas and very scruffy areas, depending on where you are. Apart from the very good advice given by Lisa, I would add the following general points:

If you drive in a city/town, keep your car's window about one centimeter open, and always lock the doors. Never leave anything desirable (eg sunglasses, mobile phones, handbags) visible in the car when parked or when you stop at a stop street or robot. (The partly opened window stops the window from exploding when it is hit.)

Always have a good road map available. These can be bought at good book shops such as CNA (which is at the Johannesburg Airport) and know where you are going - remember, we drive on the left hand side of the road. A friend of mine just returned from the States and he said that it was quite something to get used to.

Do not open the door/window of your car for anybody under any circumstances!!!

I would not venture into the centre of any city after dark.

If you stay at an hotel, rather ask them the way when you have to drive, do not just ask anybody on the street.

Oh, yes, recently a tourist was attacked by a lion in a game park after she asked for permission to pose with it for a photo, and, the permission was given. You do not pose with a lion if somebody pays you, even if they look very friendly - they are just seeing an easy meal....

If you give me specific areas, I would be able to give you more pointers. But, in the mean time, enjoy your trip and, it can not be that bad, I stay here....

Jun 14th, 2002, 04:14 AM
Posts: n/a
Local, with ref to your comment, (The partly opened window stops the window from exploding when it is hit.) I don't know whether to laugh or to cry. that is a new one for me.
At which game reserve did the lion attacking tourist happen. What was the outcome?
I was going to mention about not getting out of your car at the game reserve. That is a very good point to remember. The animals are acclimated to the shape of a car or a landrover, but do see the shapes of people as dinner.
Jun 14th, 2002, 05:31 AM
Posts: n/a
Hi Lisa,

The thing with the window is that if it is closed completely and somebody hits it with a brick or a spark plug(!), the shock has nowhere to go and it will "explode" in small pieces, worsening the injury. If you keep it slightely open, the window will most likely only "bend", giving you more time to react.

The lion attack was at the Leshoka Thabang game lodge near Polokwane (the new name for Pietersburg). The website with the news is: (,00.html) or if you go to and search for "lion", it will show you the articles. There are a few of them. The lady was in hospital but I think she has been released and is going back to the States (with a story to tell!).

Jun 17th, 2002, 10:12 PM
coconut wireless
Posts: n/a
I decided to throw my concerns into the frey! I have had numerous friends warn me about JoBerg,CPT and SA in general. I have to agree with some of the other posters on this sight that wherever there is a high unemployment rate and poverty the crime rate tends to be higher. Having said all of that I would like to know if it is safe to take tours into some of the Townships i.e., Sowetto, Alexandria?
I have a good book to recommend titled Kaffir Boy. I found it helpful to me to understand what it was like under apartheid.
Aloha from Kauai
the coconut wireless
Jun 18th, 2002, 04:50 AM
Posts: n/a
We took a Township Tour of Langa (Cape Town) nine days ago and highly reccomend it. The tour also drove through the Cape Malay area, stopped at various important sites, visited the District 6 museum, and Langa school, herbal shop and market. Only 10% of the visitors to CT go on this tour. It is not wise to go without a tour, but with the group we were very well received. The school principle talked with us and the children greeted us with song. The tour agencies contribute to the township and the people want others to know their history so we felt very welcome.

We went with Legend Tours (there are several companies) and traveled in a 6 passenger van. The various tour groups meet at the school at a specified time so the classes are interrupted only once a day.
Jul 18th, 2002, 05:33 PM
Posts: n/a
i just got back from south africa. i live in nyc. i recall before i left being scared of the crime there and reading this message board with suggestions to leave your car window slightly opened so someone cant smash your window and someone recommending to bring blood and a lot of other scary messages. well- i did not feel unsafe once while being there!!! the people in south africa were extremely friendly. i dont want to give anyone a false sense of security- you still have to be smart and not leave things in the car and walk alone at night, etc... capetown was perfectly safe, driving all around the cape peninsula was fine, the drivers were fine. a couple of crazies, but where aren't there? while we were there, we were told johannesburg isn't safe outside the hotels and tourist destinations, but i honestly dont know because i was only there for one night. i feel that there is a lot of hype about it not being safe, because i didn't see anything like that.

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