Crime levels are notoriously high in South Africa, particularly in cities, townships and public transport. However, violent crime generally takes place away from popular tourist areas, and most visits are incident-free. Larger towns and cities have tourist police.
Be careful at ATMs. Avoid using them in secluded places and after dark and don’t withdraw large amounts of cash. Check to see if the machine has been tampered with; scams include damaging the machine so that your card gets stuck, so that money can be withdrawn from your account once you’ve gone into the bank to report the jammed card.
Keep all valuables out of sight in cars – even when you are driving – as robberies can occur at traffic lights or in jams. It’s also best to keep all your valuables in your carry-on luggage – thefts have been reported at Johannesburg airport.
Be alert when driving. Speed limits are often broken, and overtaking can occur from any lane, including the hard shoulder. Avoid driving at night if possible, especially on the approach roads to Kruger National Park and around KwaZulu-Natal.
Do not pick up hitchhikers or stop to assist seemingly distressed travelers – these techniques are often used by hijackers.
If you want to do a township tour, be sure you go with a registered guide.
Take note of the nationwide emergency number – 10111.