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.
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.