Is Cape Town South Africa Safe?

Discussion in 'Travel Security' started by travel4art, Sep 4, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. travel4art

    travel4art Active Member

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    Is Cape Town South Africa Safe to travel in or as an american?
     
  2. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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  3. mo26

    mo26 Silver Member

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    imo, cape town is like any other big city in the states. Be vigilant of your belongings in the tourist spots, avoid exposing cash, dangling the fancy cameras, and stick to well lit populated areas and you'll be fine.

    Enjoy CT, it's a great city!

    -MO
     
  4. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I never felt unsafe at all while there.
     
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  5. travel4art

    travel4art Active Member

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    What about renting a car and driving to other locations like boulder beach, the vineyard or to w suburb for horseback riding on the beach? Is it safe to have a taxi take your there as an american tourist?
     
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  6. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Taxis are safe, rental cars are safe. If you can manage such US cities as Houston, Detroit etc you certainly will find Cape Town a breeze. of course they do have right hand drive, i.e. they drive on the left side of the road. Any risks in Cape Town are comparable to other large cities or lower. You should pay attention...if you don't you'll have the same risks you find anywhere.
     
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  7. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Cape Town is a truly lovely city. I have a friend who lives there. It was so lovely, I was really ashamed it had taken me so long to get there, and I look forward to going back.

    I'm considering a Southern Hemisphere RTW for Christmas 2015, something like:

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Thanks for adding that point. i just answered the exact question but did not mention how wonderful so many parts of the Cape region are. I love Stellenbosch, Table Mountain...
    Your trip sounds great, except for leaving out GIG:(
     
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  9. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I rented a car whilst there and driving was fine. Then again, I'm a pretty aggressive driver so I fit in OK. If you want real flexibility outside of the city center I'd get a car rather than relying on a taxi/driver. Things like actually visiting the Cape or the penguin colony or otherwise getting out of town are much easier that way.
     
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  10. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    Nice topic, one I've wondered about as well.

    I understand why this thread is in the security forum but after some good feedback, can this be moved to the Africa forum so others can benefit. thanks. http://milepoint.com/forums/forums/africa.182/

    ==
     
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  11. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Capetown is nice city and had no problems walking around and into the city center from the Westin. the hotel staff will warn you however not to walk from that location towards the Waterfront at night.
    There have been however reports of car-jacking/robberies on the main road to the south were motorists have been preyed upon when stopped at traffic lights during peak-hours when driving can be stop and go.

    On a side note if you intend to visit Robbin Island ( Mandella's ex prison and a bigger penguin colony than the one at the Boulders) its advisable to book in advance and check to see if the ferryboats are running .. it can get pretty windy and quite rough at times.
    If you like Indian food then Bukkara is the place... reputed to be best outside the motherland (and well London :))
     
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  12. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    I presume you meant other large cities by the statement " than the rest of South Africa"
    I found the country outside of the large cities to be quite safe. In many of the smaller towns in Cape region we visited which included Simons Town, Stellenbosch, Oudtshorn, Kynsna, George, Hermanus etc etc to as safe as I feel at home.
     
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  13. travel4art

    travel4art Active Member

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    can i come? haha sounds great!
     
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  14. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    I was told that the part of ZA that's under the control of the ANC is decidedly less safe for tourists, where the Western Cape (including Cape Town and iirc all the towns you mention) is actually a different government.

    There are long stories there, and they are not happy ones, but one such example is the number of education ministers who've defunded literacy programs for the poor who speak minority languages so that the ministers can fly business class.
     
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  15. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    The ANC is the governing party in the entire nation.

    Have you actually ever visited the country?

    Without getting too much into the politics of the country are you suggesting that the example you quoted is essentially any different from what often happens here?
    Remind me please ... that there isn't a party in this very same great USA trying its very utmost to cut funding for feeding the poor and aid to the segment of the population which most needs it ( as one of a number similar examples that comes readily to hand).

    And finally do you think that that makes the US more or less safe or more to point relevant to the original topic being discussed?
     
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  16. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    But they do not have control in every region. They do not run the Western Cape, but do run the area Johannesburg is in.

    Hard to get your iPhone stolen there if you haven't, no?

    I don't want to get too Omni, but....


    A lot of safety problems do have to do with haves vs. have nots (or at least the perception that one is in the "have not" group). Tourists tend to be easier targets because a) we're less likely to retaliate in meaningful ways; b) we're perceived as being rich (even when we're not, particularly).

    Cape Town's Khayelitsha is the largest shanty town in the world, I believe. It's visible from the freeway. As someone who has Tiajuana's shantytown burned in my brain from childhood, it's not the kind of sight I'm likely to forget soon.

    So I do think poverty is relevant to some extent. Do I think it makes South Africa inherently unsafe to travel in? No, or I wouldn't have gone and I definitely wouldn't have gone alone (which I did, though I spent much of my time there with my friend). In fact, it felt decidedly safer than Cairo/Alexandria and the four cities we visited in Morocco.

    Here, have a guinea fowl. (Taken at Kirstenbosch gardens in July)

    [​IMG]

    Also, about Johannesburg.

    When you clear customs and immigration, if you're from the US, there's no paperwork. No forms asking you how long you're going to stay.

    There used to be.

    However, what happened was that corrupt immigration and customs officials were calling people to mug tourists upon their arrival wherever they were staying. They tried to investigate, but the roots were so deep, there was only one solution that would resolve the problem and start bringing tourism back:

    To do away with gathering the information altogether.

    Which is what they did.

    We don't have that order of magnitude of problem in the US.
     
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  17. mo26

    mo26 Silver Member

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    I haven't seen anyone mention the trains yet either. I used the trains a few times (traveling during the day) and saw quite a few colorful characters, but I felt safe and it was a great way to enjoy the scenery. The rest of the time I used a mix of rental cars and hotel provided car services...All safe.

    - MO
     
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  18. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    We took the Garden Route train from Knysna to George, a sight seeing trip and opposed to commuting and it was a wonderful. Was lucky to get the old steam locomotive which was great. since that run is often done by a plain
    vanilla diesel engine.
     
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  19. philatravelgirl

    philatravelgirl Silver Member

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    I was traveling solo in Capetown last year after safaris and like others have mentioned just like other cities you need to be aware. i also stayed at the Westin (they had tons of notes in room about theft which I chalked up to convention center location/traffic)- I used their shuttle to the waterfront rather than walk alone. I used local taxi from Table Mountain which was fine as well. I didn't rent a car opting for small tours outside of city -wineries, peninsula and hermanus (whales) but all of these were easy highway driving and seemed fine.
    I did a road trip along the Garden Route to Port Elizabeth and it felt like any road trip in the US
    In Johannesburg I had ten hours so hired a private guide - it was a different vibe in the city than elsewhere that my guide and I had many discussions of safety, race, etc -
    Capetown and South Africa was a great trip - enjoy!
     
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