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Staying in South Africa – courtesy of Lonely Planet

September 21st, 2009 by · No Comments · Accomodation, Football, Travel

World-class wildlife-watching, cosmopolitan cities like the great big beating heart of Johannesburg, stunning natural panoramas from Table Mountain National Park and vibrant cultures make the country appealing to almost every taste and budget. Geographically, its extremes include the arid semidesert of the Karoo, the snowcapped peaks of the Drakensberg Range, the lush subtropical coast of KwaZulu-Natal and the fertile temperate valleys of Western Cape. Within the space of a day, you can journey from vineyard-clad hillsides in the Western Cape to the vast open spaces of the Kalahari; from waterfront chic in Cape Town to isolated Zulu villages; from elephant-spotting in Kruger National Park to the sublime seascapes of the coast.


Crime is the national obsession and, apart from car accidents, it’s the major risk that you’ll face in South Africa. However, try to keep things in perspective, and remember that despite the statistics and newspaper headlines, the majority of travellers visit the country without incident.

The risks are highest in Jo’burg, followed by some township areas and other urban centres. Daylight muggings are common in certain sections of Jo’burg, and the city’s metro train system has had a problem with violent crime. No matter where you are, you can minimise the risks by following basic safety precautions, remaining alert and exercising common sense.

If you are a victim of crime in South Africa, it’s most likely to occur at an ATM. There are dozens of scams that involve stealing your cash, your card or your personal identification number (PIN) – usually all three. Thieves are just as likely to operate in Stellenbosch as in downtown Jo’burg and they are almost always well-dressed and well-mannered men. The ATM scam you’re most likely to encounter involves the thief tampering with the machine so your card becomes jammed. By the time you realise this you’ve entered your PIN. The thief will have seen this, and when you go inside to report that your card has been swallowed, he will take the card – along with several thousand rand. Choose the ATM you use carefully, and try to avoid using them at night and/or in secluded places.

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