5 Safety Travelling Tips For South African Getaways

Dec 4, 2023 | Car, Tips & Tools

South Africa is home to some of the most beautiful and memorable travel opportunities in the world. While the country’s beauty and diversity offer an enriching experience to many travellers, it’s important to prioritise safety while exploring new destinations. This is especially true for South African getaways, where travellers need to be aware of potential health and safety risks.

Whether you’re a local taking advantage of your homeland’s incredible cultural diversity and stunning natural landscapes or visiting South Africa as part of your international holiday, we’re sure that these tips will help you make the most of your trip.

Research Your Destination

As a local, you’d be aware of any specific requirements for travelling in South Africa and wouldn’t need to have any documents to do so – unlike international visitors who should do this research.

However, both local and international explorers need to be aware of any warnings or travel advisories relevant to where they’ll be going. So, make sure you research your destination thoroughly, paying attention to weather alerts and travel advisories.

Get Insurance

As an international visitor, travel insurance is essential. Make sure your policy covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and other potential issues. Of course, as a South African, what you’d want to look into is car insurance, either for your own car or rental – just in case any accident or other incident happens. We also suggest that you get a portable possessions insurance policy to cover your valuables that are making the trip with you, like your cellphone and other electronics, handbags, and jewellery.

If you don’t already have car insurance, you can always compare up to 7 car insurance quotes from reputable insurance companies on the AA Insurance Supermarket.

Take Precautions For Personal Safety

The reality is that parts of South Africa are prone to higher crime rates, making it vital that you take precautions for your personal safety. The more common crimes to look out for include minor theft and scams, muggings and armed robbery, carjackings, and protests, which typically remain peaceful, but can turn violent with clashes between protestors and the police.

Here are some practical tips to keep you safe:

  • Don’t walk alone at night and avoid isolated beaches, parks, streets, and parking lots.
  • Never hike alone, opt instead to go in a group of four or more.
  • Watch your drink when you’re in a bar or restaurant and never accept drinks from strangers.
  • Don’t leave your handbag or valuables on the table, underneath your chair, or hanging off the back of your chair when you’re at a café or restaurant.
  • Avoid flashing expensive items around, like jewellery, cameras, and phones that can easily be pickpocketed.
  • Consider keeping your valuables in zippered pockets or in a bag strapped across your body.
  • Drunk driving is a serious offense in South Africa, so please make use of popular eHailing apps, including Uber and Bolt.
  • Only carry the cash that you need with you and use cards whenever possible as most places around the country accept debit and credit cards.

The Deal With Reliable Transport

When travelling in South Africa, it’s important to use reliable transportation. What this means, as the locals know, is that you should avoid using public transport, which can be overcrowded and unsafe. It’s better and much safer to rent a car from a reputable rental company or to use eHailing services, such as Uber and Bolt.

Protect Your Health And Be Prepared

As with any kind of travel, it’s important to protect your health. Make sure you are up to date on all necessary vaccinations, and take precautions. For instance, while the water in South Africa is generally safe to drink, it’s logical that water you’re not used to consuming could upset your system. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the water is unsafe to drink, however it’s always good to ask the locals and buy bottled water just to be on the safe side.

You should also be prepared for medical emergencies. Whether you’re from here or just visiting, make sure you’ve got a first aid kit packed in your bag and that you have the necessary contact information for local emergency services, your embassy or consulate, and your insurance provider.

Feel informed?  

We trust that these practical tips will help you make the most of your travel time and ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable trip. With just a little bit of preparation, you can explore all that South Africa has to offer while staying safe and healthy. 

Don’t forget that if you’re planning on using your own or a rental car, AA Inform can help with a range of tools and tips, including our Fuel Consumption Calculator and Trip Fuel Cost Calculator – to make it easier for you to plan your fuel expenditure.  

In addition you could also invest in either AA Armed Response or an AA Rem-I device. These products offer emergency security and medical services at the push of a button. In the event that you require emergency security services, activating the panic button gives you access to more than 250 armed security and medical response personnel across South Africa with the nearest service provider to your location coming to your aid.

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