Travel Tips

There are a few basic precautions all tourists should take to ensure their stay is as pleasant and as safe as possible. South Africa boasts a diversity of cultures, communities, sites and attractions. Most areas can be visited safely by tourists, provided they take basic common-sense precautions. Always ensure that you use a registered Tourist Guide for your travels. Some valuable travel tips follows:

  • Travel with certified copies of your valuable documents (e.g passports and visas) and keep the originals in a safe place (like a hotel for example).

  • Countersign no more than half of your traveller’s cheques.

  • Separate your cash and credit cards, and do not carry all your cash/traveller’s cheques with you during the day. Rather store half of them in your hotel-room safe.

  • Do not allow strangers to assist you with ATM transactions. If your card gets stuck, immediately call that ATM’s helpline number.

  • Be alert, and never turn your back while your ATM card is in the machine.

  • Report lost passports and visas without delay, to the South African Police Services (SAPS). Your country’s embassy or consulate can be contacted through the Tourist Safety and Support Programme.

  • It is compulsory to carry a translation of your driver’s licence, if it has been printed in a foreign language.

  • Take out medical insurance with your agent when you buy air tickets.

  • If you take prescription medication carry your doctor’s certificate with you to prevent with Customs.

  • If you have prescription spectacles, carry a copy of the prescription with you in order to replace them if they-are lost or broken.

  • Medical facilities in cities and large towns are world- class.

  • In the rural areas, hospitals and clinics deal mostly with primary and secondary health needs.

  • In case of an emergency, please follow these basic procedures:

  • Go to the nearest safe and public place.

  • Call the Police Emergency Number (10111). It is a free call from a telephone box or landline, and briefly explain what happened.

  • If you are using a mobile phone, call 112. Your call will be transferred to the appropriate emergency service.

  • If you have been injured, the call centre will dispatch an ambulance to take you to the nearest hospital.

Important numbers:

Public Emergency          107            Police (SAPS)     10111            Cellphone         112        Ambulance/Fire Number           10177

NSRI Sea Rescue            021 449 3500        Rape Crisis Line             021 447 9762

It is recommended that you:

  • Never leave your luggage unattended.

  • Store valuables in your hotel’s safety deposit box.

  • Keep your room locked at all times.

  • Hand in the room keys or cards whenever you leave your hotels.

  • Obtain a map and plan your route before you set out on an excursion.

  • Consult your hotel or nearest Visitor Information Centre for a reliable taxi service.

  • When crossing the street, use pedestrian crossings where possible and be aware of oncoming motorists at all times. Look right, look left and look right again before crossing.

  • Please do not give money to street children. If you wish to assist them in a meaningful way, contact any Visitor Information Centre to obtain a list of organisations which would be most grateful for the assistance.

  • Familiarize yourself with local rules of the road. Remember, South Africa is a left-hand-side-drive country.

  • Plan your route and fuel consumption in advance. Note that certain bank credit cards (such as Diners Club) are not accepted to pay for fuel.

  • Have telephone numbers of your destination on hand, in case you get lost.

  • Keep the car doors locked at all times, the car windows wound up and any valuables locked in the boot.

  • Never pick up strangers or ask them for directions. Rather go to the nearest business or petrol station if you get lost.

  • Pay special attention to speed limits, road signs and traffic markings.

  • Always swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard.

  • Never swim alone.

  • Do not dive into unfamiliar waters – what may seem deep could be very shallow. Feet first’ is safer.

  • Protect your skin from overexposure to UVA and UVB rays, by wearing waterproof sunscreen with a high protection factor of 20+. Avoid the sun during the hottest times of the day: 11:00 – 15:00.

  • Drink plenty of water regularly to avoid dehydration, even if you do not feel thirsty. Your body needs water to keep cool and to replace lost salts lost through sweating.

  • Do not walk alone. Always ensure that you are in a group.

  • Take your mobile phone with you, with the emergency number punched in.

  • Always let someone know which route you will take and how long you will be away.

  • Be aware of your surroundings.

  • Always take rain gear and a jersey with you.

  • Take water, sun block, wear a hat and take a snack.

  • Maps are available at leading bookstores and any Visitor Information Centre.

  • If a criminal confronts you, do not resist. Hand over your goods & remain calm.