South Africa

Is it Safe to Travel to South Africa in 2024? Latest Travel Advice

In this article...

Explore the realities of safety in South Africa with our latest travel safety tips for 2024, ensuring a secure and memorable visit without unnecessary safety concerns.

South Africa is a captivating and diverse destination that attracts millions of tourists annually. Known as the ‘Rainbow Nation’ for its cultural diversity, this country offers breathtaking landscapes, vibrant cities, and an abundance of wildlife. While safety is a concern for many travellers, it’s important to note that South Africa is generally a safe place to visit if proper precautions are taken.

The South African government and travel agencies prioritise the safety of tourists, ensuring that visitors have access to professional travel liaisons 24/7. Many popular tourist destinations, such as Cape TownJohannesburg, and Kruger National Park, have well-established safety measures to offer visitors a secure and enjoyable experience.

When travelling to South Africa, you must know your surroundings and follow essential safety tips. This includes keeping valuables hidden and avoiding walking alone at night. While bag snatching and pickpocketing incidents can occur, these crimes can be minimised by taking necessary precautions. Following these simple guidelines allows tourists to have a safe and memorable trip in South Africa.

Woman travelling safely in South Africa

Key Takeaways:

  • South Africa is a safe destination for tourists to visit.
  • The government and travel agencies prioritise tourist safety.
  • Popular tourist destinations have well-established safety measures.
  • Basic safety precautions, such as hiding valuables and avoiding walking alone at night, should be followed.
  • By taking necessary precautions, tourists can have a safe and enjoyable trip in South Africa.

South Africa as a Tourist Destination

South Africa is a captivating tourist destination, offering diverse experiences and breathtaking natural wonders. The country attracts millions of visitors annually with its famous destinations, including Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Kruger National Park. Tourism plays a significant role in the country’s economy, ensuring that safety and comfort for tourists are prioritised.

Cape Town, known for its iconic Table Mountain and stunning beaches, is a tourist favourite. The city’s vibrant culture, historical landmarks, and thriving culinary scene make it a must-visit destination. Johannesburg, the economic hub of South Africa, offers a mix of city life, historical attractions, and bustling markets. The UNESCO-listed Kruger National Park is renowned for its abundant wildlife and unforgettable safari experiences.

Regarding safety, major cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg are generally safe for tourists as long as standard safety precautions are followed. It is best to stay in well-known areas, use reputable transportation services, and be aware of your surroundings. By exercising caution and being mindful of personal safety, visitors can fully enjoy the beauty and cultural richness that South Africa has to offer.

Popular Destinations in South Africa
Cape Town
Johannesburg – read our article on Sun City here
Kruger National Park
Plettenberg Bay – read our article about Exploring Stunning Plettenberg Bay here

Safety Precautions for Tourists

When travelling to South Africa, tourists should prioritise their safety by taking certain precautions. By following these safety tips, visitors can minimise the risk of encountering untoward incidents in the country.

1. Keep Valuables Hidden

One of the most important safety precautions is to avoid flashing valuables such as jewellery, expensive cameras, or large amounts of cash. This can attract unwanted attention and make tourists a target for theft. Keep valuables safely stored and out of sight, preferably in a secure bag or hidden pouch.

2. Avoid Walking Alone at Night

To ensure personal safety, it is advisable to avoid walking alone, especially at night. Stick to well-lit populated areas or use reliable transportation services like taxis or rideshare apps. If walking is necessary, consider travelling in a group or with a trusted local guide.

3. Keep Bags Close

It is crucial to keep bags closed thing or pickpocketing at all times to prevent bag snaps. Use cross-body bags that can be worn across the chest or hold bags securely in front, especially in crowded areas or on public transportation. Avoid leaving bags unattended or hanging loosely on chairs or tables.

“By being mindful of their surroundings and following these safety precautions, tourists can have a worry-free experience while exploring all South Africa has to offer.”

Safety for the International Traveller

South Africa welcomes tourists from all over the world and is considered a safe destination for international visitors. Despite exaggerated potential risks mentioned in foreign travel advisories, it’s important to remember that South Africa offers tourists a warm and welcoming culture.

Booking your trip with reputable industry experts can help alleviate any concerns. They have firsthand knowledge and experience with the local conditions, ensuring that your travel arrangements and accommodations prioritise your safety and security.

South Africans are known for their hospitality and friendliness towards tourists. The country’s diverse population embraces multiculturalism, making it a welcoming destination for people of all nationalities.

“South Africa offers a warm and welcoming culture to tourists.”

Tourism Safety Ratings

It’s important to note that travel advisory ratings are based on many factors, including but not limited to crime rates, political stability, and environmental concerns. While these advisories serve as a guideline, they may need to reflect the everyday experience of South African tourists accurately.

By researching reputable sources and booking with trusted tour operators or travel agencies, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to South Africa. These professionals deeply understand the local conditions and will ensure your itinerary takes you to secure locations while experiencing the best that the country has to offer.

Here’s a summary of safety measures for international tourists visiting South Africa:

  • Research and follow the latest travel advisories from your country’s consulate or embassy
  • Book with reputable tour operators and travel agencies
  • Stay in well-known and secure accommodations
  • Use reliable transportation services
  • Take precautions to safeguard your valuables
  • Respect local customs and cultural sensitivities

Safety for American Tourists

American tourists can have a pleasant and safe experience in South Africa by practising common-sense precautions and being aware of their surroundings. While South Africa may have its challenges, like any other country, careful planning and adherence to safety guidelines can ensure a smooth vacation.

The U.S. Department of State issues travel advisories; reviewing the latest information is essential before travelling. However, it is worth noting that these advisories are often generalised and may not reflect the specific circumstances of different regions within South Africa.

As an American tourist in South Africa, it’s essential to:

  • Stay informed about local conditions and follow the advice of local authorities
  • Secure your belongings and avoid displaying valuable items in public
  • Take recommended health precautions, such as vaccinations
  • Respect the local laws, customs, and traditions
  • Register your travel plans with the U.S. embassy or consulate for assistance in case of emergency

By following these guidelines and exercising common sense, American tourists can experience the beauty and diversity of South Africa while ensuring their safety and well-being.

Travel Advisory RatingsLevel of Concern
Exercise Normal PrecautionsLow
Exercise Increased CautionMedium
Reconsider TravelHigh
Do Not TravelExtreme

Addressing Concerns about Safety

South Africa, like any other country, has its share of challenges. However, it is essential to address common concerns about safety to provide a comprehensive understanding of travelling to this diverse and beautiful nation.

“Is South Africa dangerous?”

South Africa has a reputation for crime and, unfortunately, experiences higher crime rates compared to some other destinations. However, visitors can have a safe and enjoyable trip by exercising caution and following basic safety practices.

Terrorism in South Africa

While global security threats exist, the threat of terrorism in South Africa is minimal. The government maintains strong security measures, and visitors are advised to remain vigilant and report suspicious activities.

Public Transport Safety

Public transportation in South Africa has challenges, but safety can be improved by using reputable services like Uber or metered taxis. These services provide a safer and more reliable option for getting around.

Wildlife Safety

Encounters with wildlife are a highlight of many visitors’ experiences in South Africa. However, it’s important to follow safety precautions and guidelines experienced guides provide to ensure a safe and responsible wildlife encounter.

Natural Disasters

Natural disasters in South Africa are relatively rare. The country is not prone to major earthquakes, hurricanes, or tsunamis. However, travellers should stay informed and follow any instructions or warnings issued by local authorities in the event of severe weather conditions.

Food and Water Safety

Tap water in urban areas of South Africa is generally safe to drink. However, in rural areas or areas with poor sanitation infrastructure, it is recommended to drink bottled water. Also, it is best to exercise caution when consuming street food or eating at establishments with questionable hygiene practices.

Power Outages

South Africa experiences occasional power outages, known as “load shedding.” The national electricity company manages these outages due to high demand on the power grid. While they may inconvenience locals, they have minimal impact on tourism and are not a significant safety concern for visitors.

Stay Safe as a Female Traveler

When travelling to South Africa, female tourists can feel relatively safe and have many positive experiences. While it’s essential to always be cautious and aware of your surroundings, South Africa offers a welcoming and secure environment for solo female travellers.

Here are some essential safety tips for female tourists visiting South Africa:

  • Awareness: Stay vigilant and be conscious of your surroundings at all times. This includes familiarising yourself with the local customs, culture, and potential risks of the area you’re visiting.
  • Valuables: Keep your valuables, including cash, jewellery, and electronics, out of sight to minimise the theft risk. You can use a concealed travel money pouch or carry a secure bag.
  • Nighttime safety: Avoid walking alone at night, especially in unfamiliar areas. It’s best to take a taxi or use reputable transportation services to ensure safety.

Being renowned for its wildlife and safari experiences, South Africa prioritises guest safety. Accommodation properties in safari destinations typically have secure facilities and professional staff to ensure a safe stay. By following these safety tips and relying on reputable services, female travellers can confidently explore the wonders of South Africa.

Is South Africa Safe for LGBTQ + Travellers?

In South Africa, safety for LGBTQ+ tourists is a top priority. The country is known for its progressive stance on LGBTQ+ rights and offers travellers a welcoming and inclusive environment. Same-sex relationships and marriages are legal, and the Constitution protects LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination. Some cities in South Africa, such as Cape Town and Johannesburg, have vibrant LGBTQ+ scenes and thriving nightlife, making them popular destinations for LGBTQ+ travellers.

South Africa is one of the few countries in the world that have laws explicitly protecting LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination. The country has a progressive constitution ensures equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Same-sex relationships and marriages have been legal since 2006, and LGBTQ+ individuals have the right to adopt children and serve openly in the military.

LGBTQ+ Friendly Destinations in South Africa

Cape Town and Johannesburg are the two main cities in South Africa renowned for their LGBTQ+ friendliness. These cities have a vibrant LGBTQ+ community with numerous bars, clubs, and events catering specifically to the LGBTQ+ community. Cape Town hosts the annual Cape Town Pride Parade, which attracts visitors worldwide, while Johannesburg boasts vibrant LGBTQ+ nightlife and cultural events.

Safety Precautions in South Africa for LGBTQ+ Tourists

  • While South Africa is generally LGBTQ+ friendly, exercising caution and being aware of your surroundings is always advisable, especially when visiting unfamiliar areas.
  • Research and choose LGBTQ+-friendly accommodations, restaurants, and entertainment venues in advance to ensure a safe and comfortable experience.
  • Connect with local LGBTQ+ organisations or online communities for recommendations and insights into LGBTQ+-friendly spaces and events.
  • As with any travel destination, it is recommended to follow standard safety precautions, such as avoiding walking alone at night and keeping valuables secure.

Travelling to South Africa offers a safe and inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ travellers to explore and enjoy. With legal protections, vibrant LGBTQ+ scenes, and a welcoming culture, the country provides a memorable experience for all visitors.

Tourist Safety in Cape Town

Cape Town is a famous tourist city, attracting visitors worldwide with its stunning attractions and natural beauty. From Table Mountain to the pristine beaches, there is no shortage of things to see and do in this vibrant African destination. While exploring the city, it’s essential to prioritise safety and follow standard precautions, but rest assured that Cape Town has several neighbourhoods known for their safety and frequented by tourists.

Some of Cape Town’s safest neighbourhoods include:

  • V&A Waterfront: This bustling harbour area offers breathtaking ocean views and is considered one of the safest places in Cape Town. Its shopping malls, restaurants, and entertainment options make it a popular spot for tourists and locals.
  • Camps Bay: Known for its beautiful beaches and luxurious accommodations, Camps Bay is another safe area to visit. The neighbourhood is well-patrolled and attracts many tourists due to its stunning coastline and proximity to Table Mountain.

By staying within these areas and following general safety measures such as keeping your belongings secure and being aware of your surroundings, you can confidently explore the popular attractions in Cape Town without compromising your safety. Whether you’re visiting the iconic Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, exploring the colourful streets of Bo-Kaap, or indulging in the vibrant food scene, Cape Town offers an enriching experience that can be enjoyed with peace of mind.

“Cape Town is a fantastic destination for travellers, and I always recommend prioritising safety regardless of where you go. Stick to the well-populated areas and be mindful of your belongings. With its stunning landscapes, vibrant culture, and friendly people, Cape Town is worth a visit.” – Travel expert Samantha Johnson.

Safety in Johannesburg

Johannesburg wrongly may have a reputation for violent crime, but like any major city, it’s safe as long as you exercise caution when it comes to safety. It is generally safe for tourists, and the city offers a vibrant nightlife. Precautions such as not walking alone at night and using reputable transportation services should be followed.

Safety Tips from Solo Female Travel Expert

Solo female travel can be a thrilling and empowering experience, and South Africa is no exception. While taking certain precautions is essential, following these basic safety steps can help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

  1. Be aware of your surroundings: Stay alert and pay attention to your surroundings, especially in unfamiliar areas. Trust your instincts and avoid any situations or places that make you feel uncomfortable.
  2. Avoid walking alone at night: It’s best to avoid walking alone in unfamiliar areas, especially in cities. Consider taking a reputable taxi or rideshare service if you need to go out after dark.
  3. Keep your valuables hidden: Avoid drawing unnecessary attention to yourself by keeping your valuables, such as jewellery and expensive gadgets. Use a money belt or hidden pouch to keep your essential documents and money safe.
  4. Stay connected: Stay connected with someone back home or a trusted friend while travelling solo. Share your itinerary and regularly check in to let them know you’re safe.
  5. Research your accommodations: When booking accommodations, opt for places prioritising guest safety, such as hotels with 24-hour security and well-reviewed guesthouses. Read reviews and do your research beforehand.

“As a solo female traveller in South Africa, it’s crucial to prioritise your safety. By being prepared, aware of your surroundings, and following these simple tips, you can have an incredible journey in this beautiful country.” – Kristin Addis.

FAQs and Safety Tips Summary

Here are some frequently asked questions about safety in South Africa:

  1. Is South Africa safe for tourists?
  2. Are there specific safety concerns for female travellers?
  3. How safe are taxis in South Africa?
  4. Is tap water safe to drink in South Africa?

To ensure your safety while visiting South Africa, here is a summary of the safety tips provided throughout the article:

General Safety Tips:

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Avoid displaying valuable items in public.
  • Avoid walking alone at night.
  • Keep important documents and valuables securely stored.

Specific Safety Tips:

  1. For Female Travelers:

Stick to well-lit and populated areas.

You can travel with a companion if possible.

Could you inform someone of your travel plans?

  1. For Taxis:

Use reputable taxi services or ride-hailing apps.

Please don’t share taxis with strangers.

Please keep the taxi doors locked and windows closed.

  1. For Tap Water Safety:

Tap water in urban areas is generally safe to drink.

Use bottled water in rural areas or when uncertain.

Be aware of surroundingsStay alert and vigilant to potential risks.
Avoid displaying valuablesKeep valuable items hidden from view.
Avoid walking alone at nightTravel in groups or use transportation at night.
Secure important documentsKeep passports and important papers in a safe place.
Stick to well-lit areasAvoid poorly lit or isolated areas, especially at night.
Inform someone of travel plansShare your itinerary with a trusted person.
Use reputable taxi servicesChoose reliable taxi companies or ride-hailing apps.
Avoid sharing taxis with strangersTravel alone or only with trusted companions.
Tap water safetyDrink tap water in urban areas, use bottled water in rural areas.


South Africa is a safe destination for tourists if the necessary safety precautions are taken. Despite South Africa’s economy facing diverse challenges, the country offers unique experiences and breathtaking beauty that attract millions of visitors each year. By being aware of their surroundings, keeping valuables hidden, and utilising reliable transportation services, travellers can ensure a secure and memorable trip.

While it is important to exercise caution, it is also essential not to let concerns overshadow the warm and welcoming culture of South Africa. Foreign travel advisories may exaggerate potential risks, but booking with reputable industry experts can help alleviate any apprehensions.

Whether exploring popular destinations like Cape Town, Johannesburg, or experiencing the incredible wildlife in Kruger National Park, tourists can have peace of mind knowing that safety measures are in place. South Africans are known for their friendliness and hospitality towards tourists, further enhancing the overall experience.


Is South Africa a safe destination for tourists?

Yes, it is safe to travel to South Africa as a destination for tourists. Safety precautions should be followed, such as not flashing valuables and avoiding walking alone at night.

Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Kruger National Park are the most popular destinations in South Africa.

What safety precautions should tourists take in South Africa?

Tourists should keep their valuables hidden, avoid walking alone at night, and keep bags close to them to prevent bag snatching and pickpocketing.

How safe is South Africa safe for international tourists?

South Africa is considered safe for international tourists. Foreign travel advisories may exaggerate potential risks, but booking with reputable industry experts can mitigate concerns.  Check South Africa travel websites before you travel and tune into local news while you are there and you will keep up to date of any changes or concerns.  Follow any specific travel advice if it relates to a particular flashpoint.

Are there any specific safety concerns in South Africa?

While South Africa has its challenges like any other country, the threat of terrorism is minimal, and public transport safety can be improved by using reputable services. Wildlife encounters require following safety precautions, and power outages, known as “Loadshedding,” have minimal impact on tourism.

One of the most talked about crime in South Africa is car theft and this has reached epic proportions in some areas.  Simple actions to mitigate this include ensuring that you do not leave valuables (at all, not just in sight) in the car while you’re away.  If you’re traveling in a rental vehicle we highly recommend that you take out the appropriate level of vehicle and travel insurance.

Is South Africa safe for female travelers?

Yes, South Africa is generally safe for female travelers. Basic safety steps should be followed, such as being aware of surroundings and avoiding walking alone at night.

Is South Africa LGBTQ+ friendly?

Yes, South Africa is considered a safe and LGBTQ+ friendly destination. Same-sex relationships and marriages are legal, and the constitution protects LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination.

What are the safest neighborhoods in Cape Town?

The V&A Waterfront and Camps Bay are among the safest neighborhoods in Cape Town and are frequented by tourists.

Is Johannesburg safe for tourists?

Yes, Johannesburg is generally safe for tourists. However, caution should be exercised, and standard safety precautions should be followed, such as not walking alone at night.

Dink is a seasoned explorer with a profound passion for Africa, calling the continent home for the last quarter-century. From the vibrant cultures of West Africa to the breathtaking landscapes of southern Africa, Dink's journey is marked by an insatiable curiosity and a love for the untamed.

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