Is South Africa Safe for Travel?

Is South Africa Safe for Travel?

South Africa is often portrayed by media around the world as a dangerous country and although one cannot argue that the country struggles with crime, it hasn’t stopped millions of travelers from visiting and experiencing its natural beauty. 

A safari is generally the main component of one’s trip to South Africa and its important to know that all South African game reserves are fenced and protected by a team of armed rangers and tactical units. Access is strictly controlled as a means of protecting animals from the threat of poaching and keeping guests to lodges and camps within the reserve safe. 

People who have traveled with Safari.com and visited South Africa have done so without incident and agree that being vigilant is the key to travelling safely!

Now that you know that South Africa can be safe to visit, here’s how to do it properly!

Where is South Africa?

Major cities in South Africa

South Africa is the southernmost country in Africa, bordering with Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. South Africa stretches across the south Atlantic and warm Indian Oceans, and magnificent mountainous escarpments that are at their highest in the eastern parts of the country – reaching altitudes between 2000 and 3300 meters. 

South Africa is incredibly diverse, boasting not only mountain ranges and coastal plains but a semi-arid desert, highveld, lowveld and bushveld. 

South Africa enjoys a Mediterranean climate in the south-west and a sub-tropical climate in the north-east. The country generally experiences warm, hot days and cooler evenings, making it an incredible destination to visit all year round.

How to travel safely during a visit to South Africa

It is important that one does a lot of research when planning a trip to South Africa. One needs to understand that certain areas and suburbs of South Africa should only be entered with reputable guides who can ensure your safety. 

Booking through a reputable travel company like Safari.com who specialize in travel to South Africa and other African tourist destinations is vital! With a team of experts who have lived and traveled extensively throughout Africa, you are in the best of hands when planning a trip – guiding you on where and when to travel for complete safety. 

It is important that you have an open line of communication with the travel company you used to book your trip. Safari.com offers clients the services of a dedicated consultant and a concierge team to ensure that you have the support you need during your stay in South Africa 

We understand that trips to South Africa are a lifelong dream for many travelers and that it can be costly, so we do insist that our clients take out comprehensive travel insurance. Travel insurance offers great peace of mind; covering unforeseen circumstances such as illness, missed or delayed flights and lost luggage. 

Choosing your accommodation in South Africa

Outdoor pool at Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge
Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge in the Sabi Sands is a leading hotel of the world, providing a personalized service, exceptional facilities and luxurious suites with their own private outdoor entertainment area and unrivaled bushveld views.

South Africa boasts a wide range of accommodation options; from guest houses and self-catering apartments to rest camps and 3 star, 4 star and 5 star luxury hotels & lodges. 

Booking online can be relatively quick and easy but with South Africa’s competitive hospitality industry, photographs on a website can be deceiving and unless you are familiar with the area, it is possible to book accommodation that is not within easy reach of top tourist attractions.  

Here at Safari.com, we believe in offering our clients the best value for money travel products, working with preferred hotels and service providers that are reputable and increase safety standards. 

Is South Africa Safe for Self-Drive Vacations? 

Self drive along Chapmans Peak
Self drives along the Cape Peninsula are incredibly scenic, winding along Chapmans Peak to Hout Bay, Simons Town, the Cape of Good Hope and Boulders Beach where African Penguins can be seen up-close.

Self-drives have become a prominent part of travel within South Africa, with many travelers enjoying the sense of freedom that accompanies a self-drive vacation. Self-drives in South Africa can range from 3 days to 14 days. 

The roads in South Africa are fairly good to travel on and major tourist routes are generally well trafficked. More and more travelers are exploring the famous Garden Route and national parks like the Kruger National Park on their own. 

With the guidance of an expert, it is possible to explore many of South Africa’s top tourist destinations safely. 

Is it Safe to travel the Garden Route?

 

Popular tourist destinations & activities in South Africa

Cape Town

Aerial view of Cape Town
Cape Town is a tourist hotspot with more than one million travelers looking to enjoy the pristine coastline, Winelands and warm Capetonian hospitality.

Cape Town is a firm favorite amongst travelers around the world and has been voted as “The Best City in the World” by the UK Telegraph for six consecutive years and is ranked in the Top 10 by the prestigious Travel + Leisure Magazine in New York. 

The city is well-known for its breathtaking scenery, rich cultural heritage and collection of unique experiences. 

Top things to do in Cape Town: Table Mountain, Robben Island, Peninsula Tour, Wine tastings, shark cage diving, land and boat based whale watching (seasonal), Two Oceans Aquarium, Township tours

Garden Route

Aerial view of Garden Route Beaches
The beaches along the Garden Route are some of the best in South Africa and include Noetzie Beach in Knysna. Herolds Bay Beach in Herolds Bay and Brenton Beach in Brenton-on-Sea.

The Garden Route is a loved self-drive destination that stretches for more than 200 kilometers – starting in Mossel Bay in the west and ending at Storms River in the east. The Garden Route is famous for it breathtaking scenery, fascinating wildlife and thrilling adventure activities. There are plenty of sparkling lagoons, deep gorges, lush coastal forests, ancient caves and spectacular mountain passes. 

The most popular towns along the Garden Route are Knsyna and Plettenberg Bay.

Top things to do along the Garden Route: Robberg Nature Reserve, Birds of Eden, Monkeyland, Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary, safari in Gondwana Game Reserve, ostrich farms, elephant interactions, canopy tours, cheetah encounters and whale-watching trips.

Eastern Cape 

Elephants in Addo Elephant National Park
Some of South Africa’s biggest tuskers can be seen in the Addo Elephant National Park – an African elephant wonderland.

The Eastern Cape spans across 800 kilometers of pristine coastline, boasting some of South Africa’s best swimming beaches and ocean adventures. Inland, there are several protected Big Five Game Reserves that offer an exceptional safari experience, particularly for families who are looking for a malaria-free environment.

The Eastern Cape is home to Addo Elephant National Park which is the third largest park in South Africa. The park offers sanctuary to as over 600 elephants, huge Cape buffalo herds and 13 species of antelope. 

Top things to do in the Eastern Cape: Safari in Addo Elephant National Park, ziplining, safari in Amakhala Game Reserve, bungee jumping, Otter hiking trail, Van Stadens Flower Reserve, safari in Shamwari Private Game Reserve, safari in Kwandwe Private Game Reserve and visits to the SANCCOB Seabird Rehabilitation Centre. 

Kruger National Park

Elephant sighting on game drive in the Kruger National Park
Guided safaris are conducted in open safari vehicles, affording you the best photographic opportunities of various wildlife species.

The Kruger National Park is recognized around the world as a top Big 5 safari destination in Africa. Spanning across two million hectares, the park offers sanctuary to a total of 147 mammal species and over 500 species of migrant and resident birds. 

Given its size, the Kruger is split into three distinct regions: Southern Kruger, Central Kruger and Northern Kruger. 

Top things to do in the Kruger: Open-vehicle game drives, guided bush walks, bird watching safaris, children’s activities, spa treatments, photographic safaris, elephant interactions, cultural tours and bush dining experiences.

Madikwe Game Reserve

Bush walks in Madikwe Game Reserve
Bush walks are part of the safari experience at Madikwe Game Reserve, allowing one to immerse in nature and discover the most fascinating creatures and flora.

Madikwe Private Game Reserve is a lesser-known gem that nestles in the north-west province of South Africa and borders with Botswana. The 75 000 hectare malaria free game reserve is easily reached by road or air and offers exceptional Big 5 game viewing opportunities, along with up-close encounters with rare animal species such as cheetah, wild dogs and spotted hyena.

Madikwe Game Reserve is a great destination for those travelers seeking a more exclusive safari experience. 

Top things to do in Madikwe: Open-vehicle game drives, guided bush walks, bird watching safaris, children’s activities, stargazing, photographic safaris, spa treatments, bush dining experiences.

Pilanesberg & Sun City

Aerial view of Sun City Resort
Built in an extinct volcano crater, Sun City is an architectural dream and a place of adventure. The incredible man-made wave pool generates 1,8 meter waves every 90 seconds.

Pilanesberg National Park is likely the most accessible game reserve in South Africa, positioned only three hours from Johannesburg. The park is relatively small in size but boasts more than 200 kilometers of road that offer incredible opportunities to see all members of the Big 5. Pilanesberg is also a bird lovers paradise with 360 species of birds. 

On the doorstep of Pilanesberg is the Sun City Resort, the only destination in Johannesburg that can offer a surf and safari holiday getaway. The resort boasts four luxurious hotels and a variety of activities. 

Top things to do in Pilanesberg: Open-vehicle game drives, guided bush walks, bush dining, bird watching and hot air balloon safaris.

Top things to do in Sun City: Mountain biking, tennis, golfing, Valley of the Waves Waterpark, casino and gaming, Lost City maze and spa treatments.

KwaZulu Natal

Beach in KwaZulu Natal
KwaZulu Natal is a great choice for a beach getaway, with an average sea temperature of 21°C – perfect for diving, fishing, swimming, boating and surfing.

KwaZulu Natal is that one place where you can enjoy some time in the mountains, sunbathe on a gorgeous beach and enjoy a safari in one of the several Big 5 game reserves in just one trip. KwaZulu Natal is home to Africa’s oldest proclaimed game reserve and several private game reserves.

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is also found in KwaZulu Natal and is home to Africa’s largest estuary and biggest population of hippos to be found in South Africa. 

For keen divers, there are plenty of pristine diving sites that can be enjoyed throughout the year due to relatively good sea conditions. KwaZulu Natal also offers an unforgettable cultural experience and an opportunity to visit the Anglo-Boer battlefields.

Top things to do in KwaZulu Natal: Drakensberg Mountains, swimming, surfing, Ushaka Marine World, safari in Phinda Private Game Reserve, safari in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, Battlefield tours, Sani Pass tours, ocean adventures at Cape Vidal Beach and boat cruises on St Lucia Lake.

 

Should South Africa be on your travel bucket list then we recommend that you contact our Travel Experts who will help you make savvy decisions when planning a trip.