“South Africa has a very high level of crime, including rape and murder. The risk of violent crime to visitors travelling to the main tourist destinations is generally low. The South African authorities give high priority to protecting tourists and tourism police are deployed in several large towns. Most cases of violent crime occur in the townships. Consult a reliable tour guide if you visit a township.
Incidents of vehicle hi-jacking and robbery are common, particularly after dark. Keep to main roads and park in well-lit areas.
There are frequent incidents of car windows being broken and valuables taken while cars are waiting at junctions. Keep valuables out of sight.
Due to thefts at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, you should vacuum-wrap luggage where local regulations permit. Keep all valuables in your carry-on luggage.
Keep large amounts of money, expensive jewellery, cameras and phones out of sight. Don’t change or withdraw large sums of money in busy public areas including foreign exchange facilities or ATMs. Thieves operate at international airports, and bus and railway stations. Keep your valuables safe and baggage with you at all times.
Don’t give personal or financial account information details to anyone. There are international fraud rings operating in South Africa, who may target visitors and charities.
There are particularly high levels of crime in the Berea and Hillbrow districts of Johannesburg and around the Rotunda bus terminus in the Central Business District.
Be particularly vigilant in Durban’s city centre and beach front area.
Keep to main roads and avoid driving at night when visiting Northern KwaZulu Natal and Zululand, as there have been incidents of hi-jacking and robbery, particularly on isolated secondary roads.
Be vigilant on the approach roads to and from Kruger Park where there have been cases of car hijacking.
Avoid isolated beaches and picnic spots. Don’t walk alone, especially in remote areas. Hikers should stick to popular trails. There have been violent attacks on hikers and tourists on Table Mountain. Take care in quieter areas of the Park, especially early in the morning or just before the park closes.
Call the police (on 10111 or on 112 from a mobile phone) at the first sign of danger.
Mobile phone reception is generally good in major towns and cities but can be intermittent in more remote spots.
You can drive using a UK Driving Licence for up to 12 months.
The standard of driving in South Africa can vary greatly and there are many fatal accidents every year.
On highways overtaking can occur in any lane including the hard shoulder. On single-lane roads the hard shoulder is also sometimes used by trucks and slower vehicles to allow faster vehicles to overtake. At quieter intersections, first vehicle to arrive sometimes has priority. On roundabouts, you should give way to the right, although this rule is often ignored.
Road standards are mostly very good, but some roads in remote areas are less well maintained and may have potholes. Drive cautiously, obey speed limits and avoid unfamiliar rural areas at night. Thieves have been known to employ various methods to make a vehicle stop (eg placing large stones in the middle of the road) enabling them to rob the occupants. Park in well-lit areas. Don’t pick up strangers or stop to help apparently distressed motorists, as this is a technique sometimes used by hijackers. It’s better to report any incident to the police.
If you live in South Africa, you must have a valid residence permit in your passport when you enter and leave the country. Instead of fining those whose permits have expired, you may be blacklisted and prevented from applying for a visa to re-enter South Africa for a period from 12 months to 5 years.
With effect from 1 June 2015, parents travelling with children into or out of South Africa may be asked to show the child’s full birth certificate, and where only one parent is accompanying, proof of parental or legal authority to travel with the child. See Entry requirements
Due to the outbreak of the Ebola virus in west Africa the South African government has announced travel restrictions for people travelling to and from affected countries.
There has been an increase in strike action in South Africa and some demonstrations have turned violent. Follow developments in the local media and avoid all demonstrations, rallies and large public gatherings.
There have been incidents involving foreigners being followed from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg to their destinations by car and then robbed, often at gunpoint. Be vigilant in and around the airport and when driving away.
The standard of driving is variable and there are many fatal accidents. See Road travel
Most visits to South Africa are trouble-free.
There is an underlying threat from terrorism. See Terrorism
The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.
Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.”