Cape Town Travel Guide

Health & Safety

Although Cape Town has its share of violent crime, you are safe if you keep your wits about you as you should in every large city around the world. As a visitor, you are less likely to encounter problems while visiting the townships if you are escorted by a township resident—though you should not really venture into the townships without a fairly large group of accompaniment. Official township tours are your safest bet; revealing a very interesting lifestyle to the more curious tourists. The CBD (Central Business District) has been cleaned up over the years, but some con men and cholos do still exist, although during daylight police make themselves known. Simply put, leave everything you value—especially your papers and tickets—in your hotel room safe if you plan to stroll through Cape Town.

Foreigners should avoid hitchhiking or using local commuter and metro trains. Be aware of automated teller machine (ATM) con artists. Under no circumstances allow a stranger to assist you in your transactions. Should your card become stuck in the ATM, call the helpline number on display at the teller machine for assistance and to cancel your card.

During day time it is quite safe to walk around the city center. People and beggars are in general quite respectful and accept a "no". During the evening it is worth taking a taxi to and from your destination, rather than walking. Make sure you take a taxi card with you, so that you can have the driver meet you outside the bar or restaurant.

Watch out for the mini bus taxis. They often drive like hell disobeyeing many traffic rules. Watch out for pickpocketing.

At night, make sure you stay on well-lit and crowded streets. Crime is especially high in Salt River, Observatory, Mowbray, and the Cape Flats.

Glue sniffing children and junkies are a minor problem, called 'strollers' by the locals: these ragamuffins will strip you bare if you do not stay alert.

While driving in a car be more aware of people approaching the car at traffic lights for smash-and-grab theft. So don't leave valuables on the seats or your lap.

If you go to the mountains, go in a group of at least 4 people.

You should try not to appear to be a tourist, and you will not be targeted. Targeted tourists are generally spotted wearing cameras, shorts, jewellery and golf hats—try not to do this. Do what you can to blend in, and if anything happens—do not try to be a hero: rather, give them what they want

Important telephone numbers

From a fixed line
107 - Emergency.
10111 - Police.
10177 - Ambulance.
082911 - Netcare911

source: Wikivoyage

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