Dalene Ingham-Brown is a guest blogger for CheapOair. Check out her site for more on African travel – Overlanding Africa
If you’re wondering whether Cape Town is safe for travelers, the answer is yes. Trust me – I’m a born and bred Cape Town local who’s traveled in Africa.
Cape Town is safe – cross my heart.
South Africa really doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to crime, and that often puts vacationers off coming to Cape Town – although it really shouldn’t. The perception of Cape Town being an unsafe destination is robbing you of what could be the best trip you ever experience.
A Common Concern
Whenever you’re heading to a foreign country, the question of safety is always on your mind, no matter where in the world you’re heading. It’s understandable that Cape Town is no exception.
Cape Town Safety Boost
Cape Town was already a safe place for travelers before the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup, but the bad press about the crime statistics in the townships saw the entire city painted with the same brush. The Cape Town Tourism Board decided something needed to be done, and took action. The Cape Town Safety and Support Plan was kicked into action as well as what is called the Visitor Support Programme. These efforts aimed to decrease crime and boost the safety of the city for travelers… which it did.
Having walked almost every stretch of Cape Town by now, I can safely say that near all the main tourist attractions – malls, business districts and landmarks – there are public service security guards on patrol who are there to make travelers feel safer about exploring the city and its suburbs.
Universal Safety Precautions
As with any other main city destination around the world, if you take the right precautions and aren’t flashy with your goods, there is no reason to worry about your safety. General safety tips that apply to all city locations also apply when travelling in Cape Town. Things like walking alone at night, picking up hitch-hikers and flashing cash are all “no-nos.”
Why the Bad Reputation?
The crime statistics that you see in the news come from Cape Town’s Cape Flats (gangster territory) and townships (informal settlements). About 95% of Cape Town’s violent crime comes from these areas. Cape Town’s main tourist attractions aren’t in these areas though, so if you stick to your itinerary there should be no problem with crime. If you plan on doing a township tour (which is great), there’s really no need to be worried – the tour company you’ve booked your tour with are locals who know the area. Their job is to give you a slice of a different culture and lifestyle and that’s exactly what they deliver – in safety. The tour companies know the best times to go, what travellers should wear, what to take, and all the other particulars that ensure a safe experience. It’s their job.
So, is Cape Town safe for travelers? Double Yes. If you plan your trip well, use your general street-smarts and a good tour company – there’s absolutely nothing stopping you having a safe vacation in Cape Town
…just like the thousands of travelers who’ve enjoyed the area so far in 2013.
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Photo credit: Dalene Ingham-Brown