How safe is South Africa?

It is always wise to travel well prepared. If you use common sense and take some precautions, you do not have to worry.

It is a fact that South Africa has a high crime rate. However, this is because a lot of crime occurs in the townships. In the “normal” neighborhoods and tourist areas, the crime rate is not higher than in other countries.


The crime in South Africa is concentrated in the townships and disadvantaged neighbourhoods around the big cities. The townships are mainly home to people who, despite the fact that a great deal has improved since the abolition of apartheid, still constitute the majority of the poor population. Many people from neighbouring African countries have also fled to the townships in South Africa for economic reasons in the hope of a better future. For all these people there is not enough work and unemployment, poverty and crime go hand in hand.

Big Cities
In the big cities you have to be extra careful in certain areas, just like everywhere else in the world. In the smaller towns and at accommodations and tourist hotspots you will find that the South Africans are hospitable and friendly and you will be warmly welcomed. If you want to discover the sights in a city on foot, this is fine during the day. Make sure you know where to go so you don’t get lost. More and more tourists are also opting for the use of Uber in the cities.

A few safety tips for your South(ern) Africa trip:

  • Make sure you arrive at your destination before dark. It is often quite overwhelming to be in a new country with busy traffic and many different cultures. Traveling in the dark while you are unfamiliar in the area is not very nice for yourself but people will aksi notice. Unfortunately, this can ‘attract’ the wrong people.
  • Lock your doors while driving, especially in the bigger cities and busy intersections.
  • Do not pick up hitchhikers.
  • Do not wear excessively expensive jewelry or electronics.
  • Do not leave any valuables in the car, especially not in sight!
  • Never go into the townships on your own and only with a guide. We are happy to assist with booking a reliable excursion.
  • Keep your car’s windows closed (especially in the evening).

Our team lives and works in South Africa. The horror stories about rape, armed robbery and murder are in the news and not normal people’s daily life. Most crime is, what locals call ‘petty theft’, house break ins, mugging and other smaller crimes.

In short: don’t be put off by stories, but come and experience for yourself how friendly the South Africans are. Use common sense as you would do in all in places you don’t know.

Our Travel Consultants are experienced South Africa travelers and are are happy to help and advise you. If something should go wrong during your trip, we are always available on our emergency number and because we work locally, we can act very quickly and help you.