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Author: uofmich77

Joined: 8/20/2010
Posts: 43
Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2005

August 30, 2011

 We're thinking of going to South Africa in April and because someone commented online about crime I checked the State Dept. alerts and was amazed at how legthy the crime warnings were. Everything from credit card fraud in restaurants and shops to muggings around ATM's in the airports to being advised to look out for devices attached to ATMs because many are blown up. Yikes. Any experience with crime in South Africa?

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 970
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

August 30, 2011

Just an idea.  Did you check the crime reports of somewhere you've been?  Just to make a comparison.  Maybe, it's all worst case.  People travel there; it can't be all bad.

Author: uofmich77

Joined: 8/20/2010
Posts: 43
Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2005

September 01, 2011

 Whenever we go to a third world country in particular I always check the State Dept. warnings.  I also read about them in guide books for wherever we're going. Forewarned is forearmed I think. It doesn't stop me from going. I'm just prepared as to what to be cautious about. That said I've never seen such extensive warnings for anyplace.

Author: nytony

Joined: 10/16/2010
Posts: 5
Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2003

September 03, 2011

My husbamd and I were recently on GC's trip, Highlights of South Africa. We had a wonderful tour director, Penny, who was most attentive to her "charges." When we were in a particular place she would inform us of where NOT to go. As far as credit card fraud, we were told that the restaurants will bring the machine to you and you swipe your own card...no one else handles it. On the three week trip, because of Penny's good advice and the fact that people listened to and respected her knowledge, there were no problems. Being in any country, even your own, you have to use common sense about where to go and not to go. Ostentacious displays of jewelry and money will make you a target no matter where you go. That being said, South Africa is a stunningly beautiful country and it is well worth seeing. There is a trememdous amount of poverty which in many ways contributes to the crime rate.

Author: uofmich77

Joined: 8/20/2010
Posts: 43
Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2005

September 05, 2011

 Nytony,

Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it and agree with what you're saying. Do you mind telling me when you traveled and how the weather was?

Author: ghilliker

Joined: 7/28/2012
Posts: 3
Trips Taken: 2
Traveler Since: 2010

July 28, 2012

 My wife and I lived in Sandon ZA, a suburb of Johannesburg, for a good part of 2004; traveling back and forth to the US.  My wife went through Cape Town also.  We found that paying attention to everything around you is the best practice.  

We found the cheapest option was to look very closely in Rosebank mall or the mall at Sandon at what the locals were wearing and then go to Woolworths department store and buy some inexpensive versions.  Look at shoes & socks as well as slacks and blouses/shirts.  A quick wash will take the "new" look out of them and if you don't have anything that comes close in your luggage, you will have some new duds.  We would also recommend buying a "track phone" at the Votaphone store in the mall, as soon as you can.  Buy the cheapest one you can find.  It may be the best investment you will ever make.  

AND, if you rent a car - they drive on left side of the road from the right side of the car!!!  Be wary of getting off the main roads.  What looks like a shortcut will put you in the middle of nowhere; which is somewhere you do not want to be.  Two for instance:  On the road from the airport to Sandon or Pretoria you go around the loop like most American cities.  What looks like a shortcut through SOWETO is a ghetto that makes East St. Louis look hospitible.  People have taken that shortcut; never to be heard from again.  DO NOT TAKE A SHORTCUT!  Stay on the loop until you get to your exit.  The off ramps to Pretoria are especially dangerous; so much so that there are warning signs at the bottom of off ramp warning you to not stop.  Judge your distance and blow through the stop sign.

On the positive side, I loved it so much that I have been trying to get my wife to move there ever since we retired.  There is crime everywhere and the US is not exempted.  We live just outside Little Rock and even a small city like Little Rock has a murder or two a night.  It is just how difficult the world is in this 21st Century.  We loved the Rosebank flee market on Sundays.  Rivers Church is a wonderful place to worship if you are looking for a Christian church.  We also spent some time in Swaziland, driving there from Johannesburg.  We currently support a Bible mission to Swaziland.   

Have fun.

George & Sue Hilliker

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