It would be safe to say that any world traveler worth his salt cannot resist the lure of South Africa. What’s not to love in this exotic country? From the vast wildlife, lagoons and dazzling vegetation to lush winelands and countless tourist attractions.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg so to speak. Move into the city center and mingle with a unique population with a distinct mix of African, European and Asian lineage. You will find it hard to get such a rich blend of sights, sounds, music and beauty anywhere else! The people are generally friendly and welcoming, however, like any place on earth there are a few precautions necessary to ensure you enjoy your visit and leave with positive not negative memories. In this article, we look at the most important safety steps, tips and tricks you will need to plan your trip.
1. Blend in. Walk easy and look relaxed and comfortable like you know where you are going.
2. At night, don’t walk around in any of the cities. Get a taxi through your hotel or host and never hail one off the streets.
3. Flashy and expensive jewelry, watches, cameras and clothing are a no-no. These all scream tourist. Hold your bag close to your body and be especially wary of pickpockets. No cell phones or wallets in your back pockets if you can help it.
4. When driving, keep all the windows up and doors locked. Do not attend to strangers who approach you at stoplights. Keep valuables locked in the trunk of parked vehicles and use a steering lock and a fuel tank cap lock always.
5. Never pick up hitch-hikers.
6. Use an up to date and detailed map as many cities are being upgraded constantly. You can get a recent map at gas stations.
7. Ensure your vehicle is in good condition and the fuel reserve can last between one town and the next. If there is any chance of the fuel running out in between gas stations: DO NOT GO.
8. Avoid lonely areas except when you are in a group, and even though be cautious and aware of your surroundings.
9. The African townships are colorful, delightful and diverse but if you must visit one go in an organized tour group from a reliable source.
10. Respect the wildlife. Before you enter any of the game reserves, you would be told what to do and not to do. Disobedience could literally cost you your life. Under no circumstances should you alight from your vehicle and approach a wild animal. This point cannot be stressed enough.