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Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
235 posts
110 reviews

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
Level Contributor
59 posts
4 reviews
1. Re: Misconceptions

Thank you for your post. We are wanting to go to Africa and just don't know where to start planning. Do you mind sharing your itinerary.


Randburg, Gauteng...
Level Contributor
929 posts
37 reviews
2. Re: Misconceptions

I thank you for your post. Unfortunately there is the misconception that South Africa is not a safe destination. What is true is that there is crime in any country and some areas are not safe in South africa, just the same as in London etc... I had the same kind of comment from clients who have traveled with me, when they told THEIR FRIENDS that they were coming to South Africa, they were also told that they would be attacked or killed. This is true of Johannesburg as well, if you visited there you would have had a warm welcome as well. So i thank you sincerely for your post, i hope many prospective travelers will read it, and visit this amazing country in which i live.

Lyn - Owner - Thorntree Tours and Safaris

Wirral, United...
Level Contributor
338 posts
91 reviews
3. Re: Misconceptions

Thanks for posting about your trip.

We will be in S A for 3 weeks in March which will be our first visit. We have had similar reactions & comments when we have said where we are going. It is only by people like yourself sharing positive experiences that we can hope to change bigoted views.

Good to hear you enjoyed your trip.

Level Contributor
2,002 posts
172 reviews
4. Re: Misconceptions

We've been visiting SA annually since 1998 & have never had a problem. Common sense prevails. Unfortunately some expat South Africans have a jaundiced view of their motherland because of its chequered history. Time & events have thankfully moved on since the 80s & early 90s.

Rav4, we'll also be there in Feb/ March. Have a great trip, you'll have a ball.

Destination Expert
for Cape Town
Level Contributor
3,525 posts
5. Re: Misconceptions

Thank you for posting your experience of SA. Great to hear yet another visitor has had a great time.

I do understand how you must have felt just prior to getting there. Despite the fact that I have visited SA every year for the past 12 years (without a single safety issue !!) I still get the same reaction from some people when they learn we are off to SA - Is it safe ? what about all the crime ? etc etc - why the heck they think I go year after year if I am constantly in danger of mugging or murder I really don't know.

Stanley, Falkland...
Level Contributor
31,831 posts
75 reviews
6. Re: Misconceptions

Great post! One of the most sensible I've read.

And Cedarberg are my favourite travel company!

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
235 posts
110 reviews
7. Re: Misconceptions

Hi Spree, Below is our itinerary

Cape Town: Victoria & Alfred Waterfront Hotel.

Franshoek: Rustoff Country House

Plettenburg: Emily Moon River Lodge.

Addo: Woodhall Country House & Spa

Shamwari Bayethe Lodge.

Knysna Lagoon. Leisure Isle Lodge.

Hermanus: Lavender Manor

Camps Bay: Camps Bay Retreat.

I have added on some of the hotel websites my opinion on the hotels in which we stayed. In one word I would say they were all excellent in their different ways.

While in Cape Town Cederberg had arranged with Paradise Touringa car and a driver to take us around. This worked out really well. Our drivers name was Ian Cameron- White, which was great! Ian was a wealth of information.

The rest of the holiday we drove ourselves in a rental car. South Africa has great highways certainly equivalent to or better than anything we have in North America. It is very easy to drive there. Plus the drivers are courteous, if you want to pass them they pull over onto the hard shoulder to let you by! The upper speed limit is 120 k.p.h. Stick fairly close to it, there are lots of radar traps.

Level Contributor
2,002 posts
172 reviews
8. Re: Misconceptions

Hexthorpe, glad you enjoyed your trip. You probably didn't see either too much snow or too many bears on your trip................eh!!

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
235 posts
110 reviews
9. Re: Misconceptions

Rav, I didn't enjoy our trip I loved it! As one Englishman I met said to me regarding the coast route. "You keep going around the corners and you think how can anything be more beautiful than this? Then you go around another corner and amazingly it is still more beautiful."

I am a Vancouver booster. I love Vancouver, our province is quite rightly called "Beautiful British Columbia." South Africa is in its own way every bit as beautiful as British Columbia, and though it galls me to say it, in some ways maybe even more beautiful.

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
235 posts
110 reviews
10. Re: Misconceptions

Nic, that's correct, we didn't see any bears but we did see Lions, Zebra, Cheetahs etc. while at Shamwari. What a wonderful experience it was!

We don't get much snow in Vancouver but it hasn't quit raining since we arrived home on Wednesday evening and it is pouring it down as I write this post. It is forecast to keep raining for at least the next few days. But that is Vancouver in the winter and as Vancouverites say "At least you don't have to shovel it!"