Is Cape Town Safe for Tourists?
Cape Town, a popular tourist destination, is generally safe for visitors. However, like any major city, it does have its share of crime. By following a few simple guidelines outlined in this guide, you can ensure your safety and enjoy all that Cape Town has to offer.
Despite the presence of some unsafe areas, Cape Town continues to be highly recommended by travel experts year after year. This bustling city, like many other world cities and popular holiday destinations, has designated safe zones for tourists.
Rest assured that if Cape Town was considered a dangerous place, it wouldn't maintain its status as one of the world's top cities to visit. So, with proper precautions and awareness, you can confidently explore and experience the wonders of Cape Town.
How To Stay Safe In Cape Town
While South Africa's crime statistics may raise concerns among tourists, it is important to consider these numbers in context. Despite these challenges, Cape Town, renowned as one of the most breathtaking cities worldwide, offers a wealth of attractions for visitors.
Of course, crime exists, and there is always a risk if you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Tourists, unfortunately, can occasionally fall victim to petty theft in the city, resulting in the loss of valuables. However, such incidents can occur anywhere in the world.
It is worth noting that Cape Town continues to feature prominently on lists of the world's best cities and receives numerous accolades each year. If it were a completely unsafe destination due to crime, it would not enjoy such recognition.
Serious crimes like murder and rape are typically confined to poverty-stricken areas around Cape Town, which tourists are advised to avoid. The majority of visitors never encounter these dangerous areas, as they are far from the popular tourist spots, such as the scenic Atlantic Seaboard.
By adopting a streetwise attitude and being mindful of your belongings while exploring the city, you can enhance your safety in Cape Town. Following a few simple rules, as outlined in this guide, will greatly contribute to ensuring that Cape Town is as safe as other renowned tourist destinations
Where Should I Stay In Cape Town?
When deciding on your accommodation in Cape Town, it's crucial to prioritize staying in one of the "safe areas" that are popular among tourists.
By booking through a reputable agency like Nox, you can secure a holiday villa or apartment in an upscale neighbourhood along Cape Town's breathtaking Atlantic Seaboard, guaranteeing a worry-free experience.
Popular and secure areas to consider are Camps Bay, Clifton, and Sea Point, which offer tourist-friendly suburbs and holiday homes equipped with ample safety features for your peace of mind while exploring the magnificent Mother City.
Is Cape Town Safe For A Family Holiday?
Cape Town is an exquisite vacation spot, where families can delight in the abundance of exciting adventures this captivating city has to offer.
The upscale accommodations booked through Nox Cape Town offer ample safety measures. However, it is important to remember to close windows, lock doors, and activate alarms when leaving. Familiarize yourself with the alarm system's operation and the location of panic buttons.
If you ever feel threatened during your stay, simply press the panic button and a professional security company will promptly investigate the situation.
Explore the exquisite selection of family villas offered by Nox.
Safety Tips For An Incident-Free Holiday
Awareness is crucial. While we encourage you to enjoy a carefree holiday, it's important to be mindful of the possibility of crime. It's easy to get swept up in the relaxation of your vacation, but remember to take precautions such as keeping your bags and wallet secure, locking up your holiday home or rental car, and avoiding unnecessary displays of valuable jewelry or watches.
ATMs And Banking
Avoid withdrawing cash from ATMs at night, particularly in isolated areas. Instead, consider visiting well-guarded upmarket shopping centers to safely access your funds.
Do not accept help from strangers when using an ATM. If you require assistance, wait for banking hours and conduct your transactions inside the bank.
To conduct your banking transactions, consider visiting a shopping complex like the V&A Waterfront or Gardens Centre, where you can find a bank or a foreign exchange counter. This way, you can conveniently handle your financial affairs while enjoying the amenities and offerings of these vibrant locations.
After withdrawing cash, avoid displaying it and promptly secure it before leaving the ATM. Remain vigilant for any individuals who appear suspicious.
Driving A Car
Driving in Cape Town is generally safe. However, it's important to follow a few common-sense rules. Keep your car windows rolled up while driving in the City Centre and ensure that your car doors are locked before starting your journey. By doing so, you can ensure a secure and enjoyable drive around the beautiful city.
Avoid leaving handbags, cell phones, and wallets in plain sight on the passenger seat or any other visible location. Instead, securely store your valuables in the trunk of your car to minimize the risk of theft.
Parking And Car Guards
When parking in Cape Town, it's common to come across a "car guard." These individuals, often unemployed, don a security bib and voluntarily watch over parked cars to ensure their safety until the owners return.
There is no obligation for you to make a payment to them. Nevertheless, car guards are often kind-hearted individuals who are in dire need of earning a living and would genuinely appreciate receiving a tip.
As a general practice, it is customary to give a car guard approximately R10 per parked car, before driving off. Should you wish to show extra appreciation, generous tourists may choose to tip around R20 or even R50 at a time. However, please note that tipping is not obligatory, particularly if your car guard appears to be under the influence of any substances.
A warm smile and a friendly greeting can make a significant difference when approached by a car guard. However, it is important not to solely rely on their presence. Remember to ensure that your car is securely locked and refrain from displaying any valuable items inside.
When parking on the street or in a shopping complex, it is necessary to pay the parking meter or fee, irrespective of whether a car guard has been paid.
The Cape Town Municipality has implemented a system of parking marshals in the CBD. Equipped with handheld devices, these marshals accurately calculate the parking fee for each vehicle. Simply pay the nominal amount they charge to park in a valid parking bay on the street. This streamlined process ensures convenience and compliance with parking regulations.
Beggars And Street Children
The City of Cape Town kindly urges individuals to refrain from giving money to individuals on the streets or car guards, unless their licensing is evident. We acknowledge that this may appear unsympathetic, but if you wish to contribute to the cause, supporting initiatives aimed at assisting the homeless is a more impactful approach.
We are thrilled to announce our new partnership with Ignisive, a company dedicated to making a positive impact on community upliftment. If you would like to learn more or contribute to their mission, please visit their website.
Cape Town boasts a vibrant nightlife, where it's always advisable to have a companion by your side when venturing out.
Popular party streets in the city center, including Kloof Street, Long Street, Loop Street, and Bree Street, as well as De Waterkant and Sea Point, attract many visitors. However, it is important to exercise caution, particularly after dark, in busy areas like Long Street.
Ensure that you remain in well-lit areas and steer clear of dark alleyways and desolate locations. If you are interested in participating in a Lion's Head full moon hike, do not take any risks by going alone. Instead, make a reservation with an organized group or a guide to guarantee your personal safety.
Avoid lingering near beaches, mountainsides, or any secluded areas during nighttime.
Cape Town offers a variety of safe taxi services, including Intercab, Unicab, and Rikkis Taxis, which are widely used by both locals and tourists. It's important to prioritize your safety when using any form of transportation. Trust your instincts and refrain from entering a vehicle if you have any doubts about the driver or other passengers. While the Metrorail train in Cape Town is generally not recommended for tourists, the MyCiti bus service is a safe and reliable option. As with any city, remain aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings secure when travelling on public transport.
While exploring the beautiful sights of Cape Town, it's important to prioritize your safety. Dress casually and avoid drawing attention to valuable belongings such as electronic devices, cell phones, tablets, or wallets. This will help ensure a secure and enjoyable experience on the streets of Cape Town.
Pickpockets possess the skill to discreetly extract your wallet or phone from your pocket, often leaving you unaware that you have fallen victim. As a precautionary measure, it is advisable to utilize a waist-worn money pouch to safeguard your belongings.
To ensure peace of mind, it is advisable to leave valuable jewellery at home when visiting Cape Town. Capetonians typically adopt a relaxed dress code, making it more practical to invest in affordable, artisanal jewellery instead of wearing expensive pieces while on vacation in the city. This way, you can still enjoy accessorizing while minimizing the risk of loss or theft.
It's common knowledge that everyone on the street can tell you have a cell phone. However, if you also happen to be carrying a camera around your neck, you'll instantly be labelled as a tourist. It's best to wait until you're in a shopping complex or a coffee shop before openly displaying your electronic devices.
Safeguard your travel documents by securely storing them in the safe of your room before embarking on your adventures. It is also advisable to carry a certified photocopy of your passport in case it is required during your journey.
To guarantee that you have identification in case your passport is misplaced or stolen, it is advisable to keep an additional set of certified copies in your suitcase. This precautionary measure ensures that you are prepared for any unforeseen circumstances that may arise during your travels.
While tap water in Cape Town is deemed safe for consumption, we advise against tourists drinking water from natural sources like mountain streams and rivers, unless accompanied by a qualified guide who can confirm its safety.
Tourists are requested to be mindful of the continued water crisis facing Cape Town and other parts of South Africa. The southern tip of Africa is a drought-stricken area and as such, great care should be taken to conserve water.
In Cape Town, encountering a lion or elephant face-to-face is not an option. These magnificent creatures can only be found in conservation areas and nature reserves. However, while exploring the city and its surroundings, you may come across a diverse range of small wildlife that adds charm and fascination to your journey.
Table Mountain is home to Rock Dassies (hyrax), while a journey to Cape Point or any of the mountain passes in the Cape might bring you face-to-face with Chacma baboons. While it's delightful to observe these creatures, it's important to remember that they are wild animals and can pose a danger. Refrain from feeding them, attempting to touch them, or obstructing their path. Stay safe and enjoy the encounter from a respectful distance.
Cape Town, being in Africa, is home to a variety of creepy crawlies. While hiking, it's important to be mindful of ticks, which can attach themselves to your skin. Mosquitoes can also be found in Cape Town, but they are merely a nuisance and not carriers of malaria in the Western Cape. Additionally, natural environments may have spiders and scorpions, so if you're camping or having a picnic, it's advisable to shake out your shoes and clothing as a precautionary measure.
In the Western Cape, you'll find a diverse range of snake species. Although the likelihood of encountering one is minimal, it's important to exercise caution while hiking in the mountains to avoid unintentionally stepping on a snake. Remember, it's always best to refrain from attempting to capture them.
Cape Town boasts a wealth of natural beauty, with its majestic mountains offering a haven for avid hikers. Exploring the trails amidst these scenic landscapes is not only a popular choice but also highly recommended. To ensure safety, it is advisable to hike in groups of at least four people along the well-established mountain paths.
For tourists, we highly recommend joining a guided hike led by a reputable guide. The mountains can be perilous, and what may seem like a picturesque day from the city can swiftly transform into a bone-chilling windstorm atop Table Mountain.
Ensure you always have ample hydration, nourishment, and a cozy jacket when embarking on a hike.
While township tours are a well-liked tourist activity, it is important to consider the safety aspect when venturing into informal settlements.
Please be aware that it is highly unsafe to explore a township on your own during a DIY or self-drive township tour. Informal settlements can be intricate to navigate, and apart from the risk of getting lost, you might unintentionally encounter dangerous situations.
For an authentic experience of everyday life in an informal settlement, consider booking a township tour with a reputable operator like Camissa. By doing so, you can explore these areas while ensuring your safety and peace of mind.
Marijuana has garnered considerable media attention in South Africa, as it is now legal to consume it within the confines of your own private space. However, it is important to note that purchasing drugs from illegal sources remains an unlawful activity. The South African Police Services maintains a firm stance against the acquisition, possession, and distribution of narcotics within the city. Therefore, it is imperative to emphasize that buying or using illicit substances while vacationing in Cape Town is unsafe and strongly discouraged. We highly recommend refraining from any drug-related activities.
How To Find Help When In Trouble
Even with the best intentions and precautions, it's possible to encounter a security or safety crisis while on holiday in Cape Town. Should such a situation arise, here are some recommended steps to take:
If you have booked accommodation with Nox, you can reach us 24/7 for assistance.
You will receive our contact numbers in the communications once your booking is confirmed. Additionally, there is a contact information book available at the property for your convenience.
Your rental villa or apartment will be equipped with an alarm system that is connected to a reputable security company.
In South Africa, the designated emergency number for the police is 10111, not "911".
Other Emergency Numbers
Emergencies from a mobile: 112
Emergencies from a landline: 107
Medical & Fire Emergencies: 021 535 1100
Table Mountain NP Emergencies: 021 480 7700
Sea & Mountain Rescue: 021 948 9900
National Sea Rescue Institute: 087 094 9974
Baboon Monitors: 071 588 6540
Shark Spotters: 078 174 4244