A few days before we left Vancouver for South Africa my wife went to our doctor for a check up, while there she told him we were visiting South Africa to which he replied " Aren't you frightened of being kidnapped?" My wife said to him, Not until you brought it up.
I too had a conversation in Vancouver with some ex pat South Africans in which they said my wife shouldn't carry a purse (handbag in the UK) or wear any jewelry.. I had several other conversations with South Africans about my then forthcoming holiday, the safety issue always came up. On the forums too the subject of security seems to often arise.
By the time we left Vancouver I was of the opinion that while in South Africa there would be a good chance of their being around every corner a guy clutching a machetee, or some more harmless person who would do no more than demand money from me.
We are just back from a three week trip to Cape Town and the Western Cape. It may be my views are pollyannaish but I felt 100% safe wherever I went while in South Africa. My wife bought a cheap ring to wear and toted her stuff around in a plastic shopping bag while surrounded by women carrying designer purses and dripping diamonds.
I didn't see any what I would call street people and only once was I approached and asked for money. I told him " I don't have any change" and that was the end of it. In Rome, Italy I was subjected to a steady stream of beggars. Vancouver too and many other city we have visited have their share of pan handlers.
Vancouver wins almost annually the most livable city in the world award. I live close to a tourist attraction, vehicles are constantly broken into while parked there and their contents stolen. This wouldn't happen in South Africa because most places have car guards.
I avoided getting mugged in Hawaii because I noticed two guys watching me and then running to hide in wait for me to pass them by. Yet wherever I have visited no one as ever suggested to me that Hawaii or Vancouver are not safe. I could write stories all night about just how unsafe parts of American cities are but people still visit the cities but it doesn't stop me going to them, or anyone else.
I also read and was told that credit cards are not readily accepted in South Africa. I have no idea where this idea came from, we used our credit cards to make almost all of our purchases and there was never a problem.
My wife and I had a wonderful time in South Africa. We travel a lot to Mexico the Caribbean, Europe and the United States. Both of us agree our time in the Cape was the best holiday we have ever had..
I am not suggesting that anyone should visit the Townships wearing their Rolex or ten carat diamond ring and flashing wads of money. But no one should do that in some areas of any city in the world.
I just hate the thought that anyone would miss out on visiting a place that is so beautiful and the people as kind as South Africa, because they fear for their safety. We will certainly be returning to South Africa. It really is gorgeous!
A South African company called Cedarberg worked with my travel agent in Vancouver. arranging car rental and hotels for our holiday.. Cedarberg were excellent! I would highly recommend them with help in planning a holiday to South Africa.Edited: 9:03 am, December 01, 2012