South Africa - Safety Questions

Old Jul 14th, 2023, 12:12 PM
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South Africa - Safety Questions

My husband and I are planning our first trip to South Africa. Our idea is several days in Cape Town, renting a car to explore the Cape area, 2 days and nights in the wine lands and 3 nights at a game preserve. The recent posting by Moosey about their car being broken into and everything stolen while parked in a winery parking lot is giving me pause. We consider ourselves good travelers, always using common sense and our street smarts when traveling. But, do incidents like Moosey's mean that, for example, when driving down to Cape Point, we should not stop at all until we get to our hotel and unload our luggage? I'm trying to get a sense of how serious or pervasive this situation might be. Thank you in advance for your help and advice.
JMK38 is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2023, 01:03 PM
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I read that post but decided, for a number of reasons, not to post a response. My wife and I spend three months on a road trip around South Africa staring in Durban and ending in Cape Town. Before departing we read several warnings about safety in South Africa as we did when travelling to many other places with similar reputations - Colombia, Bolivia, Mexico etc to name just three. We loved every second of our time there and didn't feel unsafe at any point. Clearly you need to take precautions as you seem to anyway and as you would in many places but we really didn't give safety a second thought.
As we were on a road trip we frequently left our bags locked in the boot (trunk) of the car, we had little choice. We did however, make sure to park safely everywhere in attended car parks with "security", etc. busy streets, secure compound at hotels etc. We stopped everywhere along our route to take photos, take hikes etc.There is safety in numbers so if you see lots of cars parked up at Cape Point or along the way , you can be pretty sure it s safe.

Do bear in mind that incidents like that do happen but rarely and that the vast majority of visitors go and nothing bad happens. They just don't come online to tell people that.

I would not hesitate to return to South Africa and probably will at some point

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Old Jul 14th, 2023, 11:52 PM
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Dear JMK,
There is a really useful resource called CrimestatsSA which you will find easily on the web. It shows you a fairly detailed map of the reported crime statistics, precinct by precinct, and you can select the type of crime you are interested in. There is both bad news and good news. The bad news is that South Africa certainly has a big problem with crime.

No-one wants to be a victim of carjacking - wherein your car is stolen whilst you are driving it, usually along with all your possessions. In many carjackings the victims are also taken to the nearest ATM and forced at gunpoint to withdraw as much money as the ATM will give them; and some victims are left trussed up on the roadside. . There were more than 23,000 carjackings reported in South Africa last year. Having your luggage stolen from an unattended car is even more common.

The good news is that crimes likely to be of concern to visitors are very patchily distributed, as you can see from the attached map. If you stay out of the hotspots you should be quite ok, and if you are using an in-country travel agent they should be able to provide advice on where to avoid. And there are some straightforward things you can do to improve your odds. But if you are seriously concerned about crime Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland and Zambia would all be possible alternatives. South Africa is not the only possible destination on the continent.

Good luck with your planning, Graeme

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