South Africa is undeniably one of the top holiday destinations in the world. You can go from the Drakensberg mountains to the Karoo, the Kruger National Park to the vibrant east coast, all with minimal travel. The locations are welcoming, the people are friendly and it is a relatively cheap holiday destination.
The best way to really enjoy a holiday is to immerse yourself in the culture and lifestyle of the locals. South Africa is home to many different religions and cultures, but everyone shares the same attitude – a welcoming and warm attitude towards visitors and new friends.
Getting involved in the hustle and bustle of the busy cities or winding down in a small, historic hotel, there are some things to remember when travelling South Africa. While the people are mostly friendly and helpful, there are always some who prey on unsuspecting victims, and who is more unsuspecting than an enthusiastic, trusting foreigner? There are also tips to follow regarding the food, travelling and just day to day activities.
Following the below tips and keeping them in mind when travelling will help you really enjoy your time in this beautiful country, and will definitely give you a trip worth remembering and wanting more! Share these tips with family and friends and hopefully encourage them to come to pay South Africa a visit as well.
You Can Drink The Water
The water in South Africa is generally safe to drink. We have a very good water quality, but if a tourist has a sensitive stomach, it might affect them a little. Fresh fruit and vegetables that have been washed with tap water are perfectly safe to eat, and you can use the ice as well. Safe water is so readily available in South Africa, that if certain water isn’t drinkable, there will be signs warning of this.
Bottled water is also very affordable, so if you are hesitant you will able to find bottled water at your closest shop.
Always Be Street Smart
The best way to avoid being ripped off for being a tourist is to not look and act like a tourist. Just be confident in your demeanour and when making purchases or requesting services, if you act like you know what you are doing, scam artists and criminals are less likely to take advantage of you. Also make sure to request a taxi that has a functioning meter, this way you know you aren’t being ripped off, otherwise you could always order an Uber!
Have Planned Routes
While having a detailed, to the minute plan isn’t as much fun as a little spontaneity, being prepared with routes and activities can cut out a lot of stress when travelling. The bigger cities in South Africa such as Johannesburg or Durban can get really hectic at certain times of the day. Knowing your route beforehand will help you avoid getting lost, and you will be able to ask for help and directions much easier. If you know the route you are taking, you could also ask the hotel receptionist or locals for suggestions on places to visit along the way.
Keep Travel Documents Safe
While most South Africans are decent people, there is always the chance of a criminal stealing your goods. Leave your important travel documentation and extra money locked in a safe back at your hotel. If by some unfortunate chance you are robbed of your belongings, you won’t be stranded without your most important documents. You really don’t want to be stuck having been robbed, which is a dreadful experience, and having the added stress of now having to contact embassies and airlines to try and make your way to your home country with no form of identification – or money!
Don’t Be Too Flashy
South African crime is mainly opportunistic.Don’t walk around with a flashy gold chain and the latest Rolex. This may seem like Christmas to someone on the street. Leave your expensive jewellery locked away at the hotel and only carry minimal cash with you. Don’t flash your phone around and always check your pockets when in busy areas. Being flashy makes you a target – you can avoid this completely by just toning it down a bit.
If you are wanting to rent a car during your stay, go for a basic, run of the mill model. A flashy, expensive car will once again make you a target. Try and not drive after dark if it is avoidable, or do so with others.
South Africans drive on the left side of the road, so this might be completely new for you. Depending on where you are from, this could be tough. It might be handy to read up on the local road rules before taking to the streets. Remember also that petrol stations (gas stations) aren’t self-service. You will be helped by a petrol attendant and it is polite to tip them for their help.
Travel in Groups
There is always safety in numbers. Many travellers backpack through the country alone. Try and team up with another person, or group, from where you are staying. Travelling with other people makes you less of a target and is also much more fun as well.
Don’t travel with just anyone if you are in South Africa alone. Make sure that the people you meet have good intentions and are looking for the same thing as you.
Travelling South Africa
South Africans love fun, and we love meeting new people. You will be coming to a country with welcoming and friendly people. Rest assured that South Africans will show you a good time. You will find yourself braaing at the rugby, or braaing at the shebeen (yes, we love braaing). South Africans will give you a vibe you won’t feel anywhere else, and they will make you feel at home.
If you haven’t already, book your ticket to visit South Africa today! Why not visit one of the countries world-class casinos while you are here? You might win some extra cash for your trip.