Safety in South Africa

Feb 11th, 2004, 01:09 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Safety in South Africa

I plan on visiting South Africa later this year. Is it safe for a single female to travel around by myself or should I join an escorted tour? Thanks for any help.
partyon is offline  
Feb 11th, 2004, 01:46 PM
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You don't indicate what it is that you would like to do/see/visit in SA, when you'll be visiting, for how long and your budget.

More information would b helpful in providing guidance and direction as to what you can/should do on your own and where you can arrange for assistance. Such assistance doesn't necessarily mean an escorted tour.
Feb 11th, 2004, 01:50 PM
Original Poster
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I am currently planning my holiday. I would definately like to see the highlights, Johanesberg, Cape Town, National Parks, Safaris, etc.
partyon is offline  
Feb 11th, 2004, 02:23 PM
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My daughter and I traveled on our own to South Africa in Sep.. I was also concerned for safety.But now that we have the trip behind us and all went very well,I would say if you travel smart and use good sense you will be fine. We did have arrangement to be picked up at the airports in all locations.We went to Cape Town; here we used a private guide for most of our touring.We stayed at the waterfront which is very safe. Our guide was also very informative about what was ok to do and not do,when on our own.

We then flew to Mala Mala game reserve where all was taken care of for us.
We used Fish Eagle Safari to help us set everything up.All went very well; we couldn't have asked for better.

We also went to Victoria Falls and did tours from there.All went great here to.We always felt safe at all places.
Dottie is offline  
Feb 11th, 2004, 03:07 PM
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South Africa is a dangerous place if you travel around on your own.Safety was the main reason we relocated to North America.

I would suggest you have a well worked out travel plan and arrange transfers rather than driving yourself from destination to destination.That being said I miss my beloved country and would return in a heartbeat if I could.

To give you a simple example of the unknown dangers:

On your way to Kruger if you drive through Hazyview there is a big Spar (shopping mall) which on eye value looks like the ideal place to buy groceries before you enter the Park.

At this specific mall there has been more than 10 highjackings in the past month!. If you make use of local transfers you will never be allowed to stop here.

Tourists generally are as safe in RSA as in any other Country on vacation because they make use of organized transfers through locals who know the danger areas.

Don't let this post scare you just take the advice and go and enjoy a trip of a lifetime.Escorted tours aren't necessary just don't rent a car and drive around on your own.

If there are more specific questions regarding specific areas I will be more than happy to help.
safarinut is offline  
Feb 11th, 2004, 10:08 PM
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Partyon, if you read Sandi's messages in this thread, it will give you some idea of the customized safari "tours" you can design in an African country:

Sandi was discussing Botswana in that instance, but the same principles could be applied, with some adjustments, to South Africa and, for that matter, any African country.

What I'm trying to get at is that a tour in South Africa doesn't have to be the classic guided tour in which a group of people climbs on a bus with a tour guide and gets driven around in "If it's Tuesday this must be Belgium" style.

Those kinds of tours do exist in South Africa, but I absolutely do not recommend them. I've seen some of their itineraries. Yuk.

With some research (including the kinds of responses you can get here), you could put together for yourself a trip that would be MUCH more interesting than that.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Feb 12th, 2004, 05:42 AM
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Partyon -

Judy_in_Calary - Thanks for the reference to my response to Winnepeg re travel to Botswana.

As to Partyon - You should be able to arrange an independent tour to the places listed with little problem. While you don't mention how long a stay you are planning - a trip including CPT should be at least 3-full days, where you can visit the winelands and do a city tour; another day down to Cape Point and the Kirstenbosh Gardens; a trip up Table Mountain (weather permitting) and going out to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela has been imprisoned and some leisure time for yourself. There are a wide range of hotels in Cape Town area, but as a single person, I believe the area close to the V&A Waterfront would be best as it's easy and safe enough to be out alone in the evenings.

Most people use JNB as a transfer point between arrival, or between CPT and onward, say to Vic Falls in Zimbabwe - but if you schedule at least 1-day here or get caught here due to flight schedules, you can with a guide arrange a tour to Soweto. There is both an expensive InterContinental hotel attached to the Int'l terminal here and a more budget hotel on airport property the Holiday Inn only a short shuttle trip.

Via JNB you can get to safari camps at Kruger by flight to Kruger area, usually only an 1-hr where on private reserves you can find reasonably prices accommodations. In the Manyaleti reserve there is Honeyguide Tented Camp; while on the Timbavati reserve there is Tanda Tula. You can split your time with 2-days at each camp. There will be transfers arranged from the airport to the camps and between camps and back the airport.

You might want to spend a day or two up at Victoria Falls and this is easily done from JNB to VFA (Visa USD$30 + USD$20 Departure Fee) - again you will have a transfer and a guide for your Falls Tour and any other activity you choose here.

Time of year should be considered - while May-Aug is winter in southern hemisphere and usually best time for siting animals, June & July can be very cold during morning and evening game drives; but at that time of year CPT can often have rain. Time of year should be a consideration - we prefer what would be considered late Spring (Oct-beg.Dec) - but it's personal to your schedule.

Suggest you check sites below and contact some to see what they can do in arranging an itinerary for you: (US based office of an African company) (run by a So.African, office in Connecticut) (SA based) (Phila based, also have great airfares) (Pulse, SA based)

Some of the sites aren't always the best, but they give you an idea of what can be done. There are many more, but these are a few to start with. Remember though, as a single traveler, you are likely to get hit with a single supplement for your hotel/camp/lodge accommodations, but if traveling during off or shulder-seasons you can try negotiating this.

Put together an itinerary that you think can work for you (you don't always have to take what any of these sites have preprogrammed, as most design custom trips regularly) and ask them for pricing - then compare two or three of these companies.

Let us know what info you find and feel free to ask specific questions once you have something that seems to work for you.

Feb 12th, 2004, 09:05 AM
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I was visiting (via email) with a friend in SA (she has lived there her whole life). I told her another friend in SA told me the crime has worsened so I asked her if she had seen a change and this is her response:

"RSA, sad to say, is going to the dogs. You would not believe the stuff that is currently going on here.......we are becoming an African state and it is becoming a nightmare for the white people. Reverse racism is now open and the powerplay! Even the guys in the parking lots try and boss you around when there is absolutely nothing wrong with the place where you parked!

Government is spending billions on changing the names of cities, airports etc. while the masses are dying like flies from AIDS.

You were fortunate not to see it but it is getting worse - where I work etc.

I was in a bank robbery down the road from where I live the other day (thought the guy was going to shoot me), a friend of mine nearly got hi-jacked at the traffic light on the corner and on Friday convicts escaped from the local police station and the first thing they tried to do was to hi-jack a car. The guy was lucky - the bullet hit the back of the steering wheel and richet through the driver's door. He was real lucky.

Maybe over the last couple of years I have been lucky but what worries me is that this is now on my doorstep and I do not live in a bad area. It is just that the crime is now moving in on us.

I should most likely not tell you this but we used to live in a fairly safe place. I also feel that I should not keep it from people as they need to know what is going on in this country. It is a discrace what they are doing with it. Unemployment is now 44% and I promise you, you can see it.

Very sad as we still like to believe that we live in the best place in the world."

With that being said, I (female) traveled solo to SA in August, but I can't really say I was solo because, like Dottie, I hired a guide to meet me at the airport and transport me everywhere I went. I never felt that it wasn't safe but bad things can happen anytime anywhere. I suggest you travel as described by sandi, safarinut & Judy_in_Calgary to lessen the chances of something going wrong.
sundowner is offline  
Feb 12th, 2004, 09:45 PM
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This isn't the place to respond fully to the comments from Sundowner's friend, I just want to point out that this is not the opinion of all South Africans - many of us are hopeful for the future (although the headline this morning about spending R60-million on a VIP party to celebrate the 10th anniversary is frightening).
And perhaps something which all potential and actual travellers to SA should consider: one job is created for every 10 tourists that visit SA.
For Partyon and your original question: I cannot (neither can any country) guarantee that you will be safe, but you will be no more so than in any other country.
traci_local_in_sa is offline  
Feb 12th, 2004, 11:34 PM
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I agree that this is not the place to fully debate the issues raised by Sundowner's friend. I do wish to point out, however, that I believe her assesment is overly negative - perhaps clouded by her recent unfortunate experience of being held up in a bank robbery?

Partyon needs to know that, for example, there is a world of difference between walking down a back alley (not covered by the security cameras) in the Jo'burg inner city - and chilling out in the Kruger Park or sitting on a verandah on a wine farm in the Western Cape or for that matter walking down Long Street in the Cape Town city center.
Province is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 12:53 AM
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This is an interesting thread. Hub and I leave tomorrow for 2 weeks in Capetown and the Garden Route with a rent car and no guides. I really really hope that after the trip I can report that we had a wonderful trip! Y'all are making me just a bit nervous!
Feb 13th, 2004, 01:41 AM
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It's made me a little nervous too but I understand that perspectives can be completely different even when you ask two people living on the same street let alone in different towns and regions...
I can't wait to hear about your trip - my sister will be going on the 25th so her visit will overlap with yours.
I am sure you'll have a great time.
Kavey is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 02:27 AM
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Peep and Kavey,

If the thread has made you a bit nervous, let me point out the alternate perspective.

I live close to Cape Town. The gates to my house stand open permanently because it's too much of a hassle to open and close them the whole time. My front door is made of glass. I have never been the victim of any crime - that is - never been a victim of a crime in South Africa. I have never seen a violent crime.

None of my friends have been victims of violent crime or seen a violent crime. One of my friends had his house burgled but a neighbour called the cops and the thieves were arrested with all goods recovered.

It is true that no-one can give you an absolute guarantee of safety, just as you cannot give me an absolute guarantee of safety should I visit your town or city. But if you are sensible (not paranoid) you should be fine. Crime in South Africa tends to target the citizens of the country and not visitors to the country.

If you read the US travel advisory for South Africa you might find it very intimidating - but that is only because most people forget the very first sentence of said travel advisory: "Although the vast majority of visitors complete their travels in South Africa without incident...".
Province is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 02:32 AM
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It makes me a _little_ nervous because I'm sure there is SOME truth in both viewpoints.

Crime stats in SA are higher than other destinations.

But not nervous in the sense of even for a second considering not going...

Kavey is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 03:17 AM
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Me either, KV! I imagine it's not so different from traveling around parts of the US. The story about the Spar grocery store sort of freaked me out though.
Feb 13th, 2004, 03:26 AM
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Yeah and we'll be going on that route and staying overnight in the area before entering Kruger so I'll make a note of it.

Can anyone recommend a nice and safe place for us to overnight in that area (we'll be driving up from Ithala and want to stop one night before entering Kruger) and also a supermarket/ grocery store where we should pick up our supplies instead?
Kavey is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 03:50 AM
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This line sort of got to me, too.

Escorted tours aren't necessary just don't rent a car and drive around on your own.

Yikes! That's exactly what we're doing!
Feb 13th, 2004, 04:08 AM
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Kavey is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 11:19 AM
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I feel that I nedd to clarify a few issues re. the safety in RSA.

I lived in Mpumalanga in RSA for 28 years and know the dangers well.I also worked in a Township's ER for two years and therefore has seen more violent crime victims than most South Africans will ever see.

I can't comment on the Garden route's general safety because I haven't been there in five years.

Kavey give me your specific route and lodging plans and I will comment on their safety.I for one never drive through Hazyview-I take the N4 and drive to Malalane,enter the Kruger at Malalane Gate and then make my way up to Skukuza.I exit the Kruger at Kruger Gate and then take the first turn-off to the Sabi Sands thus bypassing Hazyview.

safarinut is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 11:42 AM
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This is my intended route, thanks for your input.

6 nts Cape Town (booked)

3 nts Franschhoek (booked)

1 nt Calitzdorp/ Swellendam???

2 nt Oudtshoorn (booked)

3 nts Knysna (booked)

2 nts Addo (booked)

Fly to Durban
1 nt Ballito (staying with Kim)

2 nts Umfolozi (booked)

2 nts Hluhluwe (booked into neighbouring Ubizane)

2 nts St Lucia (NOT YET BOOKED)

2 nts Ndumo (booked)

3 nts Ithala (booked)

1 nt Hazyview/ White River (NOT YET BOOKED) - an overnight to break up long drive

3 nts Kruger (booked Olifants)

1 nt Jo?burg (NOT YET BOOKED)

Then we're on into Botswana and a luxury air-transfer safari.
Kavey is offline  

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