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Safety in Cape Town

Brixham, United...
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Safety in Cape Town

Am going to South Africa in October - 3 nights at Hippo Hollow and 3 nights at Protea President in Captetown before leaving for Mauritius. Am really looking forward to it but so many people have said to me "ohh its really dangerous there isnt it - you cant go out at night" that I am beginning to get worried - on my own with three daughters so want to feel safe. Some advice and reassurance would be good - also what is the best way to take money - local currency/card or travellors cheque again some advice appreciated.


London (formerly...
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1. Re: Safety in Cape Town


You have nothing to worry about. Obviously you need to be careful and not walk around at night alone, rather take a taxi, but places such as the V&A Waterfront are perfectly safe to walk around in at night.

You just need to not be careless but thats the same anywhere in the world. Also taxis here aren't as readily available as elsewhere in the world so rather ask the restaurant or hotel to call one for you.

The shops here only accept local currency, so i would guess you would need to exchange your money, although 99% of places will take cards.

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2. Re: Safety in Cape Town

I can only speak as a regular visitor to SA. Like you, when we say South Africa the first reaction is "is it safe". Yes there is crime in SA, just as there is all over the world. You should take sensible precautions, don't have valuables visible, lock you car doors/windows if you have a car etc etc but we have NEVER felt threatened in the years we have been going there. I would simply say would you be happy to go out at night with your daughters in certain areas of most of the major cities in the UK ? I wouldn't but then I wouldn't want to go to these areas anyway, particularly if I was a tourist. The same applies to SA. In Cape Town the V & A waterfront is perfectly safe and you can easily find all you want there for an evening out.

Hippo Hollow in Hazyview is no problem, you will probably be quite happy to have your evening meal and sit and watch the hippo's and if you are going into Kruger from there you will have an early start so will be ready for early bed. That tends to be the routine. Be sensible but don't get paranoid and you will be perfectly OK and have a great holiday, it is a wonderful country.

Money - definately take travellers cheques, you get a far better exchange in SA (today in UK R12.75 = £1, in SA R13.96 = £1)

There are lots of exchange bureaus in the shopping malls, if you have American Express cheques then look for an American Express bureau for commission free exchange. We will be there again in Oct. and I am sure will enjoy SA as much as ever.

London, England
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3. Re: Safety in Cape Town

It is a dangerous place and yes you have to be carefull. But as long as you listen to advice that is given to you, you will not notice much of it.

There are a lot of things that you shouldnt do such as walk on the street at night, expect VA waterfront and long street, or go to places that you do not know the directions etc. Also watch out for people begging on the street, or in places without many people on the street.

But you can definetly enjoy yourself and be protected as you travel in SA

As far as money goes, only take out money during the day. Check if there are any other suspicicous people standing near the machine. Check the machine itself if it hasnt been ripped. Preferably take out money inside the bank. If possible only take out money in malls. Waterfront, Gardens, Long Street are good options. Travellerscheque arent used by many. And hold cash on you, always good to have some just in case. Also change if you have to give someone something on the street or shop, better than taking out ur wallet.

For the rest enjoy your time, you will have a great time.

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Kingston upon...
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4. Re: Safety in Cape Town

I was a bit aprehensive before our first visit (July/Aug 06) as we were taking our kids' boyfriend/girlfriends as well. But I needn't have worried, we always felt very safe. It is a bit like travelling anywhere - there are always places that you eed to be a bit more careful...so avoid them and don't get yourself into those situations.

The poeple are very friendly altho there are a lot of people trying to make a living by hawking things to sell at traffic lights and street corners, but if you say "no thank you" they move on without pestering you.

The President hotel is quite nice, but we were only put up there for 12 hours as our flight to london was cancelled. It's a bit away from the main areas as its out at Seapoint. While we were there some people went for a walk to Camps bay and then on to V&A waterfront and back, so it is possible. There are always taxis and they are very cheap.

We all loved it and definitely will be going back. You will have a great time!

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5. Re: Safety in Cape Town

I feel my concerned walking round my city centre late at night then I do walking round Capetown. Keep your wits about you and have a great holiday you lucky thing

Brixham, United...
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6. Re: Safety in Cape Town

Thank you all so much for your replies - feel very much happier now and am looking forward to my holiday.

Harrisburg, PA
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7. Re: Safety in Cape Town

Cape Town is one of the most beautiful places I have been. Safety is a concern and indeed you have to be vigilant. The V&A Waterfront is great and so is Long Street (nightlife). Use taxis and don't carry too much while venturing around the city (backpack, etc.) The President is a wonderful hotel, and while it isn't near the city center, you can walk down from the hotel right to the ocean and it is safe to walk during the day alone (for beaches see Clifton beach - great place!)

Enjoy (wish I were going with you!!!)

Harrogate, United...
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8. Re: Safety in Cape Town

I've just returned from Cape Town. I am a female, travelled alone & found no problem at all.

I asked my hotel receptionist about safety & she just said to remember it's a city & be sensible which just about sums it up.

Taxis are plentiful & I would suggest you go to the nearest hotel lobby if you need one.

I just took cash & a credit card as back up. The exchange rate for sterling is great at the minute, so prices seem very reasonable.

Have a great trip.

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9. Re: Safety in Cape Town

Hi angelinaballerina

Would you please post feedback on your trip in relation to safety in SA.

We have planned to go in March next year, (J'burg, Durban, PE, Capetown) and what to do a self drive. However in light of things people are saying to us and from what I read on the web, I am very close to pulling the plug on the trip. (in fact went to the local Qantas office only yesterday to discuss options etc)


From a very confused Maril2

Nelson, New Zealand
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10. Re: Safety in Cape Town

As a Cape Townian all I can say is Please don't listen to everything you read in the newspaper. Yes we do have crime but so does Glasgow centre or any other place for that matter. Just remember that you are in a foreign country and be aware of your surroundings. South Africans will bend over backwards to help you as far as they can. Don't be foolish and carry all your cash, cameras, camcorders and jewelry on you - firstly its not necessary and secondly you will be looking for trouble. Keep your cameras etc in a bag and as inconspicuous as possible.

Cape Town might be in a third world country but we are very aware of credit cards. There are very few places that won't accept plastic. Don't carry wads of cash with you! Keep what you need on you - the same as you would do at home. The only difference between home and South Africa is that we have different languages and customs. However that said - everybody speaks English.

Please don't be afraid to visit one of the most beautiful places on earth. There really is no reason to cancel trips or feel afraid - just remember to be sensible and have fun!