There are many street kids in Cape Town, and elsewhere in South Africa, a worrying sign of the increasing social problems of the country. These kids can be dangerous and care needs to be taken if you are approached by a number of them in a pack. They are particularly quick at being able to get access into pockets and bags in search of money and other valuables. Be cautious when street kids are around.
Street children is a growing tragedy around the world - and they do not choose to be there, but empathy is litle consolation if your money is stolen.
If you want to help street children, there are plenty of outreach and shelter groups across South Africa that can really do with a donation!
Please be extremely vigilant when visiting a family establishment by the name of Joostenberg on the R304 in the Western Cape. This is a beautiful family owned business with an area to eat and have fun, but it seems a crime syndicate that was acknowledge by the owner has been targeting them and other establishments in the area. No warning is given, no security guards were employed, no visible signs warning people of the danger. The problem that might occur is the fact that criminals evolve and no one could ever know exactly what they are prepared to do to get what does not belong to them. If you do decide to visit this lovely place, please be extra vigilant, and the question to ask would be, is the life of my kids worth it, should anything happen. No details will be given on the incident that happen due to emails that were sent from the attorneys. Life to our families should be more than just money, it should be quality of life.
We had been in Cape Town just three days when we were robbed at knifepoint at 4am in the morning in a private home in Newlands. Don't assume there is no crime in Newlands, it is everywhere, and probably assisted by domestics giving information to criminal associates. Police did not even bother to search surrounding properties, so we had no chance of getting passports back, let alone cash, cameras etc. Cape Town and South Africa?, never ever again, unhelpful sullen people, particularly at airports, but also in shops etc. A very dangerous place.
there is "no" security in this place.
several thousands of dollars of camera equipment were stolen from the boot/trunk of the auto parked "securely" while "security" watched it....
Beware of the advertisement with the lady with the new soccer/football stadium on her head.
Always leave your car empty of anyting. They will have it.
Take a cab there are plenty of them but if you must walk in the city (Cape Town) at night, there are lots of security people at every corner, just about. This may be since the World Cup is just around the corner, anyway just stand next to one until you see another in the direction you are walking and walk to them. I've just spent a week in Cape Town w/ about 25 other crew members aboard a ship, most of whom are night crawlers and there were no reported incidents.
On the other hand we've been to Barbados numerous times and have been mugged, beaten up and robbed on fairly regular basis. I was held up at gun point just outside of Bridgetown one night right inside a bar's bathroom. So no matter where you are, have your wits about you.
Please be aware of the crime. Do not carry your whole camera equipment, your jewellery and a big amount of money with you.
Although Cape Town is a beautiful city, its crime rate is not to be underestimated. For your own safety please do not walk alone, especially at night.
One huge problem in Cape Town is the constant begging. They are everywhere you go, especially at traffic lights. Most people drive with their window up, especially at night, as some of the people begging get quite cloooooose...
Just be straight with them, say 'I cannot help you, sorry', try not to enter into conversation with them, as they are the most amazing story tellers!
If you really feel sorry for him/her buy him a loaf of bread and give it to him/her.
Plse dont get me wrong, there are legitimate beggars out there, with a genuine need. But most beggars are begging out of choice, they want no responsibility, are alcoholics and often drug addicts too.
There are shelters and churches and charities throughout South Africa that take them in, so they need not beg.
Basically as anywhere else. Be streetsmart, don't flash jewlery or wads of money. Don't let conmen fool you. All of my friends there have experienced an incident sometime be it just pickpocketing or robbery at point-blank. If you have a car there'll be the selfelected guards who 'help' you find parking by directing you into a space you found yourself anyway. As you leave the car they'll ask for money. It's strongly recommended to hand over up to R5 or so unless you want to find your car scratched or bumped. If it's a rental car think of what your waiver covers it might be worthwile to pay!
Listen, I lived in CT all my life from the age 5 and generally it is safe to visit the Mother City, but do not be fooled about the very real problem of loosing your life. Locals will use any means to steal from you even stabbing with knives & the list goes on. Generally you will look like tourist and you will be prayed on. This needs not be a deterrent to come to Cape Town but you and your family need to be vigilant. never travel allone, stay in areas with lots of people. Still not a garentee but your ods is better. Johannesburg and Durban is the same story. Cape Town is hot spot.
I was in Cape Town for a month. My wife is still there, and will be for another two months. It is a beautiful city, no doubt. The restaurants are lovely. Some of the neighbourhoods are amazing. The views, and the countryside is spectacular.
On the other hand, the place is a thieves paradise, so travellers beware! Most South Africans are lovely, but there are enough, ugly enough that you might consider looking elsewhere if you don't have to go there specifically. There are lots of nice places on Earth.
My wife has been robbed three times in the past month, twice in the last week. The first two times were purse snatchings. This last time a man grabbed her credit card as she was trying to make a cash withdrawal. These things happened in Camps Bay, which is suppose to be safe. It isn't. The major issue (2 of 3 incidents with my wife) are homeless people, in from the townships, who sleep on the beach at night, and spend the days either begging from or robbing tourists. There are no vagrancy laws. The police are worse than useless.
As well, since my departure, a day hasn't gone by when my wife hasn't been sexually harassed in very explicit terms. This isn't entirely innocent. Remember: S. Africa is the rape capital of the world.
Some advise then?
Don't go out alone. Don't go at to Cape Town if you are a woman alone. Don't stay out after dark. If the locals aren't about, get in a cab and go back to the hotel. Don't carry anything with you that you don't mind losing. Don't carry a purse at all -- its a thief magnet: easy to take and full of goodies. If you are confronted by a robber, just fork over: remember, S. Africans are often armed, and the murder rate is 13X higher than in the US. Stay away from beggers. Be aware of where your belongings are at all times, and vigilant around anything involving money or cards out in the open. Don't believe the official stats that show crime going 'down'. I expect most crime isn't reported, and if it is, that it isn't actually recorded by a police force in a shocking state of decay. Remember you are in Africa. Listen to your spider senses. If they are telling you that the situation isn't right, it probably isn't. If it seems like you are being watched by malignant eyes, you probably are. Contact the police (and you should), but don't expect any action. They'll take a report, if pushed and with bad grace, but that is the end of it.
Be carefull at nights when you go out. Stay in the center, if going out do not go on your own to certain quarters but stay in group.
Beware of drunken drivers.