How to Stay Safe in South Africa – Part 2
Don’t walk around at night
People have a tendency to be earmarked as targets just by walking around in cities when they could be taking either public or private transportation. You could find yourself a victim of pickpocketing, even if you were in a group, although it’s far more likely to occur if you’re alone. In fact, if possible, avoid walking while alone at all, but especially at night.
Don’t show off
To limit the chances of being a target, avoid taking out your phone or wearing designer clothing and jewellery while walking around. You would be wise to avoid taking expensive jewellery with you on holiday at all. If you have costly equipment, such as a camera, with you, keep them hidden from view as much as possible. Another thing… never take your passport out with you. The more you look like a foreigner who doesn’t understand the area, the more likely you will be targeted for petty theft. So keep your passport at your hotel and your phone well hidden.
Keep your valuables hidden and your car doors locked
Other common crimes, especially in larger cities such as Johannesburg and Cape Town, are carjackings and car break-ins. You can help to minimise the chances of this happening by ensuring that your car doors are locked when driving, and keeping everything- wallets, bags, phones, and sunglasses, out of view. Nothing that appears as though it’s of any value, even inexpensive sunglasses, should be on display when the car is out of your sight. There are always unlicensed parking attendants around to keep an eye on your car, so give them an occasional tip for them to watch over your vehicle when you’re elsewhere.
Be aware of your surroundings
Remain aware of your surrounding at all times and keep your wits about you. If you need to walk, look in all directions and never give anyone the opportunity to think that you aren’t paying attention. Stay alert and keep your head up. Avoid walking alone on the pavement as much as possible and walk close to families when you can. If someone appears to be paying you too much attention, look them straight in the eye and offer them an “hello” or simply walk into a store where other other people are.
Use a pretend wallet
While avoiding walking around too much can definitely help you to stay safe, there may be times when you get annoyed at feeling like you can’t even walk a short distance and so you decide against getting a bus or a taxi. In this case, you can protect your property by carrying a pretend wallet with you containing a small amount of petty cash and a few cancelled credit cards. Everything else you can hide in your shoe, or if you’re a woman, your bra. That way, if you’re approached, you can hand over your bag so that the thief believes he may have gotten hold of something valuable.