Personal Safety in Cape Town
Crime in South Africa's major cities has received much negative publicity and, while there is a degree of media hype, it is a real problem and we would not be fulfilling our duty of providing useful information to potential visitors if we ignore it. Below we have provided a few basic safety recommendations, by following these tips and avoiding potential problem areas you are assured of a wonderful, safe holiday, sampling the many delights that the Western Cape has to offer.
In The City
Cape Town's Central Business District and major malls have made considerable efforts to safeguard tourists against crime. Surveillance cameras monitor activities in the central Business District and security guards watch over the major shopping centres. Nonetheless, tourists should take the precautions they would in any major city.
carrying large sums of cash, having cameras or video cameras loose, leaving
belongings unattended, and in general take advice on where to go after dark from
the locals and your hosts.
Take special precautions at lonely outlook points at dusk and or after dark.
Street children and beggars may approach you for a hand out. Many social workers counsel against giving money to the children as it usually gets handed over to some older figure or is used for sniffing glue. If you wish to do good for these children, rather give them food.
In The Car
When driving, keep car doors locked and be aware of loiterers standing around at traffic lights, although not as prevalent as in Gauteng, hijackings do happen. You should also be aware of who is in the immediate vicinity when getting into our out of your vehicle in the parking lot at the supermarket or mall.
It's advisable not to leave bags, cameras, mobile phones etc lying around on car seats, thieves are known to break the windows, snatch valuables and disappear into the crowd.
Ensure that hired or borrowed vehicles are reliable, recent models that have been serviced recently. Make sure that you have sufficient fuel for your journey, breaking down next to a shanty town can be dangerous.
At The MallIn some shopping areas, uniformed attendants will take a fee, or offer to mind your vehicle for a tip. The City of Cape Town is committed to controlling this practise and you should feel free to decline the services of these 'parking attendants'. Alternatively, use a parking garage or official parking lot. At night, park in a secure, well-lit area.
On The Train
Cape Town has an extensive suburban rail network and while trains are generally safe during the day, it's not advisable to travel alone by train after dark.
Emergency Services Contact Numbers:
Fire Brigade: 461 5555
Flying Squad: 10111
Mountain Rescue: 10111
Police: 467 8000
Police (Tourist Assistance Unit): 418 2852
Sea Rescue: 405 3500
Information Provided by:
Cape Town Tourism