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Safety For Travellers and Tourists to South Africa

Ezine Article by Marius Bezuidenhout


At the Airport

1. Stay especially alert and watch your bags and valuables at all times. Only uniformed airline personnel should handle or watch your bags. Don't allow clearly unemployed persons to assist you with your luggage as it is a security risk.
2. Staged mishaps, like someone bumping into you or spilling a drink, can be a ploy to divert your attention and steal your belongings or passport.
3. Carry your purse or wallet close to your body like in an inside front pocket or wear a money pouch under your clothes. Beware of snatching thieves when paying a porter.
4. It is advisable to keep a record of the content of checked luggage, and valuables should be kept in a bag that stays with you at all times.
5. Avoid displaying expensive jewellery, cameras and luggage that might draw attention and aim to blend in with the crowd.
6. Seek direction only from marked information counters. Thieves are quick to spot a person who appears lost and will attempt to assist such a person in order to steal from them.
7. Valuables should not be packed in your check-in luggage.
8. When leaving the airport make sure you are not being followed and be fully aware of your surroundings when arriving at your destination or permanent residence.

At the Hotel

1. Ensure that identifiable or uniformed hotel staff assists you with your luggage on arrival.
2. Luggage is not to be left unattended unless it is locked away in your room.
3. Store valuables in the safe deposit box.
4. Lock your room at all times.
5. Hand in the key at the desk when you leave the hotel.
6. If someone knocks, check who it is before opening the door.
7. Ensure that luggage is only given to the hotel bell staff and ask for a receipt for stored luggage.

In the Street

1. Plan your route ahead of time.
2. Do not ask people for directions or check your map on the street.
3. Do not make it obvious that you are a tourist or that it is your first time in the area.
4. Try to explore in groups and stick to well-lit, busy streets.
5. If you are alone, refer to yourself as part of a group.
6. Avoid drawing attention by wearing expensive jewellery and visibly carrying valuable items such as camera, cell phones or binoculars.
7. It is dangerous to carry large sums of money, so just carry as much as you require for the day.
8. Your travel documents should remain in the hotel safe and take only your passport, driver's licence or ID with you. Don't carry all three items with you at the same time.
9. Don't leave your handbag or cell phone unattended.
10. Always be a ware of what is going on around you.
11. Never allow young children to wander off.
12. Pretend to make a call if you think someone is following you, and say the word "police" with enough volume for the person following you to hear.
13. Get yourself to the nearest public place as soon as possible and do not confront a person who is following you.
14. Avoid going out unnecessarily after hours, especially if you are alone.
15. If you want to call a taxi, your hotel or the nearest tourism information office can recommend a reliable service.
16. A police official or traffic officer should be the only ones to direct you if you get lost.

On the Road

Practise the same preventative skills you do in parking lots or garages at home.
1. Get a map of the route and study it and become familiar with your route before you start your trip.
2. Check that your rented car is in good working order. Learn how all the windows, door locks and other equipment work before you leave the lot. Your maps and rental agreement should be kept out of sight and not left lying around on the seat or the dashboard where others can see them.
3. All car doors should be locked while you are driving.
4. Also keep luggage in the boot (trunk) of the car where it is out of sight.
5. If your car is bumped by another car; think before you get out. If you are in doubt or feel uncomfortable, signal to the other driver to follow you to a nearby police station or a busy well-lit area where it is safe to get out.

In the Car

Plan your route in advance.
1. Keep the doors locked at all times and keep the windows closed.
2. Don't leave your handbag, your cell phone or anything else in a place where they are visible from outside the car.
3. Lock your valuables out of sight by putting them inside the boot (trunk) before your departure.
4. Don't ask strangers to take a group picture, no matter how friendly they seem.
5. Always park in well-lit areas at night.
6. Don't ever hitchhike.
7. Call a police station for advice if you are in doubt about the safety of an area.

This is just some of my tips please visit Explore South Africa for more resources.

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