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Travelling in South Africa – Some Important Safety Tips

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Travelling in South Africa – Some Important Safety Tips 

If you are planning a trip to South Africa, you might want to consider some safety tips as part of your travel plans. While few places in the world have ever made me feel uncomfortable, there are certain countries with a higher level of crime so it doesn’t hurt to keep your eyes peeled and be aware of a few ways to make sure you stay safe while on the road. While we all hope that nothing bad ever happens while travelling, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Read on for a few top tips on keeping your wits about you while travelling in South Africa.

Screen Shot 2014 08 27 at 12.39.33 PM1 Travelling in South Africa – Some Important Safety Tips

Plan your journey

When travelling make sure you know where you are going at every phase of your journey. Don’t just turn up at a bus or train station and plan to ask someone what to do or where to go. This is not a good plan and it does not equal knowing where you are going’! Instead, do a little research on the internet before you arrive at each stop of your journey for example the train station, the airport and so on. Print maps and guides and bring these with you. Make a written note with a travel itinerary on it. If this is not possible, you could try to speak to or check with someone who will definitely know. Don’t rely on someone who thinks they know but they are not really sure – people like to help, but if someone gives you incorrect information they could unknowingly send you into harm’s way.

Emergency cash

Equally getting stuck without cash in an unfamiliar location is something you should avoid. This may cause you to panic and look vulnerable to petty thieves.

If you get robbed or lose your cash and or cards while abroad, it may take days for your bank to process replacement cards or for you to ascertain where to get cash from. In this situation, it is worthwhile considering an alternative source of emergency cash like like Wonga  – a reliable brand that can be trusted in unfamiliar locations. You don’t want to spoil your holiday waiting for your bank to issue cash and on holiday you need to access cash quickly and conveniently.

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Medical certificates

Before you go to South Africa make sure you have all of the vaccinations you require and that you have the documentation to prove this if necessary. On entering South Africa every foreign visitor needs a valid Yellow Fever Certificate, and one is also required if you have visited areas where people may contract yellow fever and wish to re-enter.

Plan for emergencies

When you are travelling in an unfamiliar area you need to have a plan in the event there is an emergency or something goes wrong. If you need emergency medical treatment, do you know where the hospital is? Do you know whether medical treatment needs to be paid for or whether you need your own medical insurance? These are questions you need to ask yourself before you even set foot on the plane to leave for your trip.

There are some great companies which provide excellent travel health insurance to give you that extra peace of mind while travelling. Some countries have excellent and cheap health care as well, which is good to know. While I might have got Dengue Fever in Thailand, the hospital was excellent at treating me and my travel health insurance came in handy.

Personal safety

When you are travelling you need to be extra aware of your personal safety. Some criminals actually look out for tourists who appear phased and disorganised on arrival at train stations and airports, and then target them for petty theft, knowing they are easily distracted. Don’t let this be you! Ensure you have all of the most important documents on your person at all times; don’t leave them in a bag you won’t have with you at all times.

It is best to get a small bag or hold all for these purposes for you can keep the most important items with you at all times. This is where you should keep cash, mobile phones, cards and travel documents.

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Be careful with cash

If you need to use a bank machine to withdraw a large sum of money, it is best to wait until a less busy time, or get the cash before you travel in an area you are familiar with.

Make sure to always set aside a small amount of cash in your backpack, shoe, shirt pocket, sock or suitcase. While getting robbed or losing your cash might seem like a nightmare, it can be much worse if you don’t have a bit hidden somewhere else as well.

Your views?

Have you got any super tips for travelling in South Africa?

If so, we would love to hear them. Just post a reply and get involved in the discussion.

Photo provided from Flickr via epSos .deJono HeyCelso FLORES and Frontierofficial

Catherine Smith is a professional blogger with extensive travel writing experience. She has penned two popular travel guides and is a member of the Professional Travel Bloggers’ Association. 

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