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Safe or not safe?

Malta, Europe
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Safe or not safe?

Thanks JonoW, will surely visit the Pigalle Restaurant opposite our hotel and the safari as you suggested. I keep on hearing reports from people who have been to SA, that it is not safe and that not even taking a taxi at night is secure. Can anyone tell me what precautions we should take and if what I keep hearing is true? Thanks

Hermosa Beach...
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443 posts
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1. Re: Safe or not safe?

I had absolutely no problems in Capetown nor did I ever feel unsafe. However, I did not drive at night (as recommended) nor did I take a cab at all (didn't need to). Our hotel was a short walk from the waterfront and we walked this every night and never felt unsafe. As in any big city, just be aware of your surroundings and you will be fine.

Ontario, Canada
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2. Re: Safe or not safe?

I'm just back from 6 days in Cape Town (my first trip) and I too was apprehensive about walking around the city. Even city tour guides try to dissuade you - even in daylight! I stayed 4 nights at the Arabella Sheraton which had a free shuttle to the V & A waterfront until late (perfectly safe there), and I did walk downtown down Long Street; over to St. George's Mall, and then down Government street through the Company Gardens and the Mount Nelson Hotel. Enroute were the cathedral (St. George's), the pedestrian mall of the same name; the art gallery, the parliament buildings and the president's home.To my mind it seemed safe, but don't become the stereotypical tourist with guide maps, big camera, and richly dressed. Dress down in your older clothes, have a destination in mind and walk with a purpose. It's not really all that different from walking around any typical large city downtown- just keep your wits about you. I had no problem at all - but an American tourist was stabbed in the South African Museum the day before my visit. No guarantees anywhere I'm afraid.

Washington, DC
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3. Re: Safe or not safe?

I guess it's all a question of degree...

Cape Town is just about like Mexico City to me in terms of safety. If you stick to the rich areas (Camps Bay, Hout Bay, Waterfront, maybe Waterkant) then you'll surely have no problems, even at night.

If you're going to be taking cabs to get from one place to the next then I would recommend find a taxi driver that you like/feel comfortable with during the daytime and get his cellular phone number so you can call him to pick you up anytime at night. Most cabbies offer this type of 24h on-call service.

As I posted in a previous message, I did get into some sticky situations while in Cape Town during the month of January... once in Rondebosch and then in Green Point. Don't use ATMs anywhere other than in a very very secure setting... If you see an armoured car turn around and get away ASAP.

One thing that struck me with many of the Capetonians I befriended/worked with is the siege mentality they live under.No one wears their engagement rings in town, or any jewelry for that matter... Everyone has a story about how they got robbed at a trafic light (robot) or how their house and car was broken into etc... Not that this doesn't happen elsewhere, it just seems like it's at a much bigger scale there... and Cape Town is supposed to be safer than Jo'burg.

It is overall a great place to visit though and there are so many things to visit/experience. It's unfortunate that a small percentage of the population is up to no good since so many people are generous, helpful, friendly and inviting.

4. Re: Safe or not safe?

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Malta, Europe
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5. Re: Safe or not safe?

Thanks emeritus, JanetC and peribonca, your advice was very honest and valid. Will definitely heed it, be streetwise and then we hope to enjoy it. Will post my experience when I come back..hopefully it will be a positive one! However keep advice and experiences coming.They are more than welcome.Thanks again

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6. Re: Safe or not safe?

Hi, myself and my partner spent 5 days in Capetown and we thoroughly enjoyed it. During the day it isperfectly safe however, the usual precautions apply at night, don't have too much cameras, money etc on display. Taxi drivers will suggest not going into town at night but we experienced no problems, but ensure that you arrange for one to pick you up later.

One precaution you should definitely take, do not under any circumstances use an ATM machine that is not in a protected area such open to the street (this applies in most places anyway). The waterfront is the best area to use the ATM machines as it is an extremely safe area. We heard of an unfortunate incident where a couple's bank account was cleared after being taken to an ATM by a taxi driver. Although the card wasn't taken the machine must have been rigged or something and it wasn't noticed for a few days.

However, don't be put off - we had a truly wonderful time and would definitely go back to see the rest of the sights we missed.

United Kingdom
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for Mauritius, Grand Baie
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7. Re: Safe or not safe?

Just arrived back from South Africa. Cape Town is one of the safest part of South Africa.

I stayed near the city centre and wandered in the evening quite often. Wear a long sleeve top, trousers and walk with a purpose.

Both day and night, people will approach you trying to sell fake watches etc, beggars, but they do not pester you.

As others have mentioned, be cautions, do not carry a lot of cash and valuables. If you think Cape Town is dangerous then South Africa is not for you.

Cape Town Central...
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8. Re: Safe or not safe?

I dispute the siege mentality mentioned above. I have lived in Cape Town my whole life (58 years), would not live anywhere else in the world, have never been attacked,and have never had any problems at ATM's. However, I do not wander the streets of the central city at night, and always lock my car doors when driving. I also have a burglar alarm at home.I dont know anyone who removes their rings during the day although some people who work in the central city might feel safer doing this. Security cameras have been installed throughout the city centre and crime has plummeted as a result.

London, United...
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111 posts
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9. Re: Safe or not safe?

50something - as another one in your age group and a female travelling alone!! I have recently visited CapeTown, I took advice from the hotel and SA friends and other than the invasion at traffic lights which does make you feel uncomfortable, I never once felt unsafe. When driving I kept all windows up and doors locked, I wore the minimum of jewellery and don't possess an expensive camera - but these are precautions I would take in a big city anywhere in the world. I found the Waterfront area felt totally safe and, as I was staying at Cape Grace, only had a very short walk to be in the midst of things. The scaremongers try very hard to frighten you out of visiting Capetown, especially alone, but I am already looking forward to a return visit.

London, UK
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21 posts
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10. Re: Safe or not safe?

I`ve just returned from a 6 day solo trip to Cape Town and did have safety concerns before I went but glad that I took the advice of those on this site and came anyway. I think the basic message is be sensible and you will be ok, I stuck to the Waterfront area at night which is very safe and always lots of people about and I stayed in a hotel near the waterfront. I used a number of organised tours and the hop on/off tourist buses during the day. Only time I felt apprehensive was when I decided to have a brief walk round downtown during the daytime to see Parliament, Museums etc and did have one guy who stopped me but I simply walked away and although felt a little apprehensive nothing happened. Basically as long as you have you wits about you the fantastic city sights and local scenery are well worth it.

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