Safety Tips for South Africa You Can’t Ignore

Safety Tips for South Africa You Can't Ignore

Safety Tips for South Africa You Can’t Ignore

It seems like every “hot destinations for 2017” list I’ve looked at lists South Africa. It is being touted as the next big place to go for a number of good reasons. For one, it’s ideal for those who love outdoor activities. The waters are ripe for surfing, shark cage diving, and taking a boat out to see the birds and marine life on the tiny islands around the Cape. South Africa is also renowned for its safaris, and Kruger National Park is the best of the best for spotting wildlife.

Aside from the outdoor life, South Africa is also a foodie and wine-drinker’s haven, with hundreds of top-notch wineries and chefs fusing a number of cultures. Oh, and South Africans are obsessed with gourmet milkshakes.

That being said, South Africa is still recovering from some serious social justice problems that have led to high crime rates. It’s smart to go with a group of fellow outdoor and wine enthusiasts and heed some important safety advice.

Safety Tips for South Africa You Can’t Ignore

Why South Africa requires more research than most destinations

The lingering effects of apartheid are still visible in South Africa today. It’s not an emotionally easy place to travel. Racial segregation is painfully obvious, and misogyny still rules. If you’re a woman, and especially if you’re a woman of color, it’s worth considering that South Africa has the highest rape rate in the world, with five times the number of rapes reported there than in the USA.

Worries about violence can take some of the fun out of the adventure, so it’s best to travel in a group. Besides, who wouldn’t want to explore the wine region of Stellenbosch with their besties?

This includes ‘corrective rape’, which is meant to ‘cure’ homosexuality. Worries about violence can take some of the fun out of the adventure, so it’s best to travel in a group. Besides, who wouldn’t want to explore the wine region of Stellenbosch with their besties?

Winery hiking and touring

One of the best ways to get outside in South Africa is to visit the hundreds of wineries outside of Cape Town. They have great views and all are unique in their architecture and wines. Try pairing your drinks with a selection of dried meats (biltong) that you won’t find at home, like springbok or kudu. Almost all wineries give tours, with more samples than most people can handle.

We’re talking five glasses almost halfway full, and you’ll get that at every winery! If you’re into wineries but don’t intend to get drunk, hiking between them is a great way to see the area in relative safety. Many wineries have walking routes between them, and you can purchase a permit at the first winery.

The staff at my hostel always asked about my plans because they knew I was traveling alone, and they offered great advice on staying safe.

If you choose to do the winery hike alone, talk to the women at your jumping-off point for safety tips. They know the area well. At my first winery, the woman who sold me my pass went so far as to circle a farm on the map that I should avoid because there had been several rapes of women passing through that area. She even drew on an alternate route that would steer me well clear.

It’s also smart to let her know your plans for the day in case you become lost or injured. Also, let your hostel or hotel know where you’re off to. The staff at my hostel always asked about my plans because they knew I was traveling alone, and they offered great advice on staying safe.

Hiking nature preserves

South Africa is known for its spectacular natural scenery and wildlife, and there are some fine nature preserves to hike there. These require a little more caution than winery hiking and come with a particular set of concerns. Because they are more remote than the wineries, it is inadvisable to hike there alone if you’re female.

Other tips to keep in mind are the following:

  • The air is dry and conditions can turn warm very quickly. Pack far more water than you think you’re going to need for any hikes, to avoid dehydration.
  • There are loads of poisonous snakes, so be vigilant on trails. Wearing high-ankled hiking books and long pants is recommended. Avoid headphones so you can listen for wildlife.
  • The baboons found around the Cape area can be very aggressive. They may even go through your backpack if they smell food or see something shiny! Never seek out baboons for feeding or selfies.
  • Warnings are not always posted. You may hike three miles to find the trail closed, requiring you to turn around. Ask at the gate if there’s anything you need to be aware of.

Rolling power outages

Some parts of South Africa experience rolling power outages, and you’ll want to know when they will be in advance. Google the name of your town and “power outages” for a schedule. You can also check with your hotel for up-to-date information.

South Africa is a great destination, and with a few safety precautions, female travelers can have the trip of a lifetime.

Be careful not to get caught walking in a remote area in the evening during an outage, as it will literally be pitch black. Also, be aware that if you plan to eat dinner during an outage, restaurants won’t be able to cook your food. They will stay open though! Just think of outage dinners as a great time to go for sushi.

South Africa is a great destination, and with a few safety precautions, female travelers can have the trip of a lifetime.

 

Safety Tips for South Africa You Can’t Ignore

Related Reading

A South African Safari Without Borders
Why South Africa is Perfect for Solo Travel
43 South African Slang Expressions You Need to Know
11 Days in Southern Africa: The Real Deal with Angie Stubbs
Studying Abroad at the University of Cape Town

Have you traveled to South Africa? What were your impressions? Email us at editor@pinkpangea.com for information about sharing your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you.

About Bailey Bridgewater

Bailey BridgewaterBailey is an Executive Director at a midwestern university who spends her spare time traveling-preferably by boat. Her travel writing has appeared in Inside Himalayas, and her short stories turn up in publications like The Molotov Cocktail, Eunoia Review, Fiction on the Web, and Crack the Spine. You can keep up with her work at www.baileybridgewater.com or stalk her travel photos on instagram at bailey.nb9.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Top
Loading...