Safety tips for tourists in SA

If you’re welcoming guests from abroad, please make sure that you keep them informed of potential security risks in your vicinity. Feel free to share our advice with them and make sure they know the emergency number for SA!
If you’re reading this yourself and you’re a visitor to our beautiful shores, welcome to SA! The land of the rainbow nation, where cultures collide to create a veritable splash of colour.
While you’re here, soak up the sun, enjoy our spectacular sandy beaches, take in some wildlife and try some of our national foods. You haven’t really experienced SA till you’ve tried some biltong, and vetkoek (pronounced fet – cook – also known as kota (pronounced quarter). Ask where you can try these delectable treats and you’re bound to be inundated with suggestions from the locals.
You’ve probably been warned about taking extra precautions to ensure your safety but to make sure that you enjoy the full SA experience, we encourage you to make these small changes so that you don’t become a victim of crime during your stay with us.
Don’t wear ostentatious jewellery on your person when you’re out in public. Limit it to the hotel safe and keep it for special outings.
Never walk around deserted areas alone! This includes our beautiful beaches. Keep long strolls to times when there are plenty of people around and when visibility is good.
Beware of our strong ocean currents. Visitors to our shores may be unaware of the strong cross currents so stay within designated swimming areas on the beaches.
Never leave valuables (handbag, keys, passports, cash etc) unattended on the beach. Make sure someone looks after your stuff at all times.
Use sunscreen, liberally! You’re probably better at it than we are but our summers are really hot and the sun is pretty harsh so take care.
Our inner cities are best seen as part of a formal tour group. Ask the receptionist for recommendations and rather book with other hotel guests.
Taxis are not advised as a form of transport and Uber has met with some resistance from locals. If you want to book an Uber in our main centres, just check with reception if it’s safe to do so. Most hotels offer shuttle services and have approved taxi services on call.
We don’t use 911 – we use 10111. Put it on speed dial so that you don’t have to try to recall the number on demand.
Don’t carry expensive electronic items in sight. Keep them safely tucked away and be sure to lock or secure your handbag or carry bag. Carry your bags with zips turned toward your person.
Don’t stop to help anyone along the roads. This is often a ruse employed in hi-jackings.
Be alert around ATM terminals and never carry large sums of money on you.
Travel with your car doors locked and windows closed.
Leave a good distance between vehicles at stop streets so that you are able to manoeuver with ease in the event of a smash and grab (this is when people loitering on the streets smash your window and grab your cell phone or handbag.)
Don’t let the crime spoil your vacation, but don’t let negligence ruin your life!
These safety tips are brought to you by Red Alert, the trusted security and guarding partners to businesses across South Africa.