When visiting the Western Cape, please take the same precautions you would in any other city or town, such as avoiding the unnecessary display of valuables and refraining from walking in deserted areas or going out alone at night. Because your safety and security are of the utmost importance to us, we've put together a few basic precautions of which we urge you to take heed.

Safety in the Streets

You may well feel at your most vulnerable while walking the streets. Fortunately, there is quite a lot you can do to identify potential danger.

  • A camera around your neck advertises that you are a tourist. Rather carry it in a shoulder bag.
  • Avoid dark, isolated areas.
  • Do not walk alone. Keep to groups and well-lit, busy streets.
  • If you get lost, a stranger may not be your best source of information or directions. Ask a police or traffic officer.
  • Don't carry large sums of money. Carry small change in your wallet or purse, and bank notes and credit cards in an inside-pocket.
  • Never carry your wallet in the back-pocket of your trousers.
  • Carry your bag close to your body.
  • Don't be fooled by con artists or strangers who offer you the opportunity to get rich quickly.
  • Your hotel or nearest tourist information office can recommend the most reliable taxi services.
  • Alert and give the police as much information as possible when the situation calls for it.

Safety in your Car

You may feel safer in a car, but you could be vulnerable in unfamiliar surroundings.

  • Make sure that your car is in good working order and has sufficient petrol, oil and water.
  • Consider an automatic latex puncture aerosol to get you to the nearest garage.
  • Keep a map handy so that you don't have to stop to ask directions.
  • Keep all doors locked and windows closed while driving.
  • Keep bags out of sight. It is an open invitation for a snatch thief when you stop at traffic lights or are held up in traffic.
  • If you're not using a cellphone, have change or a phone card for a pay phone on you in case of an emergency.

Safety at the Beach

These safety tips will enhance your visit to the beautiful Cape Town beaches.

  • Deserted beaches make you an easy target - rather enjoy the beach with other sun-worshippers.
  • Keep valuable items such as clothes and keys in a locker at the beach when you go for a swim.
  • Leave at least one person behind to watch over your belongings while you swim and remember to glance in the direction of your belongings every so often.
  • An open bag displays the contents to unwelcome eyes.
  • Remain on the lookout for suspicious-looking persons or groups who wander around aimlessly on the beach.
  • Make a note of the emergency numbers for the area, including the NSRI, police and the John Rolfe Rescue helicopter.

Your Car at the Beach

Summer, Cape Town's busiest time of the year, is often when most emergencies occur. To keep yourself as safe as possible, remember the following points:

  • Park your vehicle in demarcated areas only.
  • While angling, always make sure that your vehicle is within sight and that there are people in the area.
  • Ensure that your hired vehicle shows no advertisement of the hire company to avoid being recognised as a tourist.
  • Lock valuable possessions in the trunk.
  • If possible, remove the CD/cassette player.

Safety in the water

  • Swim only in areas that have been marked safe by the lifeguards.
  • Make sure that a lifeguard is covering the area where you are swimming.
  • Never let children swim alone.
  • Stay near other swimmers who can come to your rescue in case an emergency occurs.
  • Constantly be aware of jet skis and boats in the immediate area.

When you suspect you might be attacked

  • Your voice is a valuable defence tool. When confronted, shout or scream! Attackers dislike noise and may make a quick exit.
  • If you need help, shout a positive instruction, like "Call the police!", because people are more likely to respond when they are called to action.
  • Be prepared to let your bag or packages go if someone tries to snatch them - it's better to lose your goods than lose your life!


  • Keep a list of emergency numbers close at hand so that you have them available in case of an emergency.
  • Be alert at all times, and be aware of the fact that a criminal might be lurking around the corner.
  • When using an elevator, always make sure that you are at ease with fellow users before entering.
  • Avoid displays of expensive jewellery and don't flash huge sums of money around.
  • Should you possess a firearm, hand it in at your bank for safe keeping, unless you plan on carrying it on your person the whole time.

If you need help

In an emergency contact the Police Tourist Unit at (021) 419-9564 during office hours and after hours the Police 24-hour emergency number, 10111 or contact your nearest tourism office, or your host at the hotel.

If you see any suspect activity, or experience an emergency please call the police emergency number: 10111

  • If you're not using a cellphone, have change or a phone card for a pay phone on you in case of an emergency.

Safety on the road

Arrive Alive is an initiative of the Department of Transport to promote road safety in South Africa. Visit for more information on your safety on the roads.

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