Intrepid takes the safety of our travellers extremely seriously. We're in constant contact with staff on the ground and our itineraries are designed with safety as the number one priority. While South Africa is generally a safe destination for travellers, there are some issues you should be aware of.
Is South Africa safe for tourists?
Overall, South Africa is a safe country to travel to as long as you remain vigilant. The crime rate is high and incidents including petty theft, armed robberies and carjacking are common. Protests and political demonstrations can also become violent. It's unlikely that travellers will experience violent crime in major tourist areas, but it's possible. Crimes tend to occur in major towns and cities after dark or during planned blackouts known as load-shedding. You should avoid walking at night and use Ubers or hotel shuttles instead.
If you're a solo traveller, a female traveller and/or a person who identifies as LGBTQIA+, you may face extra challenges. Whoever you are, it's important to be extra diligent when travelling through South Africa, to understand the risks that you may face and know how to avoid or deal with them.
Safety tips for travellers in South Africa
No matter where you travel, you should always be prioritising your personal safety. We recommend doing the following while in South Africa:
- Avoid protests and large public gatherings as these can become violent – keep tabs on social media and follow local authorities' advice
- Avoid the Numbi Gate entrance to Kruger National Park
- Don’t travel after dark, especially outside of the major cities
- Don't carry your wallet in your back pocket
- When travelling in a car, ensure doors and windows are locked at all times, only stop at designated areas such as service stations and be extra vigilant at traffic lights
- Travel during daylight and on toll highways where possible
- Use ATMs during the daytime and don’t draw attention to valuables or money – try to withdraw smaller amounts at a time if possible
For more information on dangerous areas and safe travel in South Africa, these government websites may be helpful:
- Australian Department of Foreign Affairs
- British Foreign Office
- Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs
- New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- US State Department
Our South Africa tours