Safety at night, Cape Town
A travel companion was robbed of her cellphone in Long Street, late on a Friday Night. She decided to walk home to the Ashanti Backbackers ahead of us because she was tired from the days activities. Although Cape Town is a truly spectacular city to visit, it isn't very safe (or as much fun) to split from the group at night.
We enjoyed our trip much more when we hired a car to travel in a larger groups. We also avoided "looking" like disoriented tourists - as to hide our cameras and brochures in our bags.
If you're somewhere in Table view or Bloubergsrand or Camps Bay don't think you are safe after dark. In the evening at the beach in Table View right in front of a tall hotel building (the waves really make a lot of noise and no one can hear you calling for help) we were approached by White Afrikaans-speaking robbers with blood stained hands and knives wanting a ride in our car. Gladly I had an Afrikaans-speaking friend with me and they negotiated wit the robbers for a while until they left us alone. I was not told what was their conversation all about.
I am 16 years old, i live in Cape town i have bn suffering from the ever present fear of being mugged!!! I have bn hearing of countless stories of mugging involving knives and guns since i was 8. I never thaught that i would ever fall victim to these types of crimes but since i have reached the age of adolecence i have found the need to socilize and go to parties which forces me to take trains in the middle of the night and walk the streets. I just want to get strait to the point now... The best thing you can do is to avoid the attack. Do not walk the streets at night!!!!!!!! Areas to avoid walking: Wyne Berg, Cape flats, Massi,.. no actually anywhere in Capetown. I can't stress enough how dangerous it is to even stop in your vehicle for too long. If you are hijacket, raped or mugged in Cape town, the inconvinient truth is that the police will not do much if anything to catch the criminals. I have bn quit traumatized by what has happened to me in the past few years involving muggings. It always surprises me how far these people are willing to go for a couple of bucks. Like just the other day my life was threatend by a guy in Wyne berg, (my hands are shaking as i type this). Two of my friends were with me, we were on our way to a party, its about 9 in the evening and we are walking the streets asking for directions. We are feeling very confident and we were all bragging about how tough we are and how we would get girls at the party est. We are walking along the main road and i spot a guy and a rather good looking women crossing the road, walking very fast in our direction. My friends are not so sharpe and so they did not suspect anything. The man and women were very close now and with a suden bolt of bravery i sprinted about four feet when i caught a glimps of his right hand clutching a gun and my friends standing mosianless in fear before the two figures. The man shouted STOP!!!! and stunned with terror i did. He said " come hear you fukn idiot, i want to show you something". He walked up to me very fast, pointed the gun to my head and said "this gun has killed four people, now empty your pockets". I handed him my cellphone and R100, a good price for your life if you ask me. To be honest i don't remember the rest, i was to happy to still be breathing. I do remember a few minits later we arrived at a shell garauge and saw a police car parked. We didn't even bother informing them that we had just bn held at gun point, they wouldn't have doen much. This may sound unlightly but we were still determined to get to the party and about ten minuts later we saw Three guys on the opposite side of the road sniffing glue, looking very dodgy. They were definetly out to do muggings. I said to my friends "run you idiots!!!". We ran for 10 seconds until i looked back and saw three guys running after us. Our lives were once again in danger. I have never ran so hard, so fast and felt so much energy. I have never felt so much power from my legs. My friends and i ran for about 1.5 km before stopping. We finally reached the venue of the party and felt safe. In a weird way i felt very alive and had an overwealming sence of joy. I learnt from this experience... i hope you can too.
Cape Town is not so safe if you are alone at night . Avoid walking in dark small streets. Always take main roads and do not go by the advice of short cuts. Avoid shady looking bars at late night. Do not confront if you are stopped by.
If you are staying in a private home in Cape Town, you will likely be in a walled enclave with both windows and doors protected by bars or grilles. Be aware that there are only a relatively few different keys; the bars, walls, and spikes are intended to deter common thefts but will not keep a truly dedicated burglar from accessing your property. Also, if you have trouble with keys, THINK about fire safety. You could find yourself trapped behind the bars, etc. designed to protect you.
Five of us were driving from Knysna (on the Garden Route) west towards Gansbaii. We had made arrangements at a B&B for that night, and for some white shark cage diving for the following morning. We were told by the owner of the B&B that the fires burning around Gansbaii had caused the main road to town to be closed, and that we would have to take an alternate route which included some dirt roads. While driving along a dirt road around 9:30pm, a car approached us from the opposite direction and swerved into the rear driver's side of our car as it passed us. Not sure if it was done on purpose, or if was truly an accident, we fled as the car turned around to come back toward us. During our remaining time in the country, we were told by many people, including a retired South African police officer, that we did the right thing, and that it was irresponsible of the owner of the B&B to direct us through such an area at night. A dented car can be repaired. If it was an ambush, things could've ended up much worse.
Although Cape Town is one of the safest city's in South Africa it still not safe to walk the streets at night.
Walking in big groups is ok, but not advised. Metered taxi's are cheap and very readily available, so use them!
However, only use taxi companies recommended by your hotel. I found the Marine taxi company were good, contact details below.
Marine Taxis: 24 hour service.
PO Box 247
Green Point 8051
Tel: Cape Town 434 0 434
Remember to park in a lit area or perhaps a busy underground parking.
Often in Cape Town there are car guards who look after your car for a small price and also give an added bit of security for the area.
The car guards are usually pretty friendly avoid those that try & help you park at a meter then swindle extra cash out of you during the day.
When driving at night & you are concerned that the area is secluded it is a known fact that south africans drive up slowly to traffic lights (robots) & go straight through a red traffic light if it is safe to do so.
It could be that this saves a possible hi-jacking. Of course if its busy this is not acceptable.
Cape Town is far safer than jo'burg or Pretoria but leads people into a false sense of security. Always get a taxi at night. I heard stories of what can happen so it is a reality! Just be sensible! (god, i sound like your mother!)
I'm not usually too overly concerned about my safety in most places, but Capetown after dark just makes you be. It's dangerous - no matter where you are - when the sun goes down. The only place at night where I felt relatively safe was in Camp's Bay or Clifton, but I'm sure everyone will say that. Just be smart and not too overly confident. Better safe than sorry. And that goes especially for the ladies...
My friends and I had a sort of a scare, one night after partying … we were walking back to our hotel when we noticed a large group of men walked menacing towards us. I quickly walked nearer to one of my friends when I noted that one of the men was approaching her. My quick-witted friend walked to the middle of the road and hopped into a cab, luckily for me, I was close enough to jump in too! Conclusion - Be alert at all times, no matter how tired you are!
DO NOT walk to the Victoria & Alfred (V & A) Waterfront from the center of Cape Town, please.
Yes, I know it's just a short distance away.... AND it is also one of the most dangerous parts of town! Be extra careful when you are around the main Waterfront entrance. Last year (1999), the Planet Hollywood vicinity was the target of a vicious bomb attack.
It is always good to be on the alert here in Cape Town... (don't know whether to believe the reports stating that there are rapes being committed every 26 seconds here in South Africa!).
However, one Friday night (after a night of partying and club-hopping), my group of friends decided to walk back to our hotel at the V&A Waterfront. We couldn't have gone far when a group of blacks started walking towards us in such a manner that it terrified the wits out of me! Our group suddenly started to scatter... and it was then that I noticed one black guy was heading towards me with this menacing look on his face! Without a moment's hesitation, I stood right in the middle of road and stopped a cab... jumped right in... and left my group of friends who were still arguing over some insignificant issue - I believe they were still debating whether or not to hail a cab to the hotel! One of my girlfriends was smart enough to come along with me.
Phew!! That was certainly a close shave...
Photo Below: Me at an ostrich farm.