- We recommend that you take very little cash with you and use your credit card, if you are travelling internationally or inside South Africa. In Africa, it is good to have cash in US dollars and in smaller denominations.
Wear a flat money belt under your arm or across your belly. Keep your extra cash and passport in it as you travel. If your hotel has a safe in the room, then keep the money belt in the safe.
- When using a credit card, let your bank know that you are travelling internationally, which countries you are travelling to and for how long.
- Make a copy of your passport, visas, e-tickets (airline tickets), travel and medical insurance papers and keep these in your main luggage, as backup if necessary.
- Wear clothing with zips or buttoned down pockets to keep your wallet and mobile phone safe, especially when out and about.
- In Africa, don’t wear flashy looking, expensive jewellery or watches. You are probably richer than the locals and the temptation is great.
- Don’t walk alone through any area you are unsure about especially at night. Always know where you are going. Know where to find a taxi, bus or metro and know what time they stop operating at night.
- When out walking at night or in non-touristy areas, walk with purpose and aim to look confident. Don’t look like a potential victim.
- If someone unsavoury approaches you, maybe pretending to help, say ‘no’ firmly and walk on quickly. Try to get to a bank, police station or hotel to ask for directions.
- If you have a handbag, put it across your front and hold onto it especially in crowded areas and when using public transport. Don’t carry it loosely at your side.
- If you have hired a car, know where you are going. Lock all the doors and don’t roll down your window more than 5cm. Rather pay a little more for a car with air conditioning. When approaching traffic lights and stop streets, know what is happening around your car.
- If you feel unsafe, don’t stop but keep on moving slowly while checking for traffic.
- If you are car-jacked, don’t play hero and resist. Give what is demanded and get out the car.
- If you are robbed, car-jacked, conned or mugged, go to the reception at the hotel and get them to call the police.
- Avoid giving to beggars on the streets or traffic lights as it could be a con. Locals know better who to help, you don’t.
- If you are stopped by police and they seem corrupt, ask for their badge number and the phone number of the station commander. Rather wait for someone of authority to arrive than pay them the ‘so called fine’.
These seem pretty scary, but if you are sensible, you will be safe.