Crime levels are notoriously high in South Africa, particularly in cities, townships and public transport.
However, violent crime generally takes place away from popular tourist areas, and most visits are incident-free. Larger towns and cities have tourist police.
Be careful at ATMs
. Avoid using them in secluded places and after dark and don’t withdraw large amounts of cash. Check to see if the machine has been tampered with; scams include damaging the machine so that your card gets stuck, so that money can be withdrawn from your account once you’ve gone into the bank to report the jammed card.
Many border regions across Africa have long been turbulent
– places to look out for in particular are border regions of Ethiopia, Kenya, Cameroon and Egypt. The FCO
has up to date travel advice on each destination, plus your holiday company will be well aware of any recent developments and will ensure you only travel to safe areas.
Driving at night is not recommended across central and Eastern Africa, and in other rural areas where wildlife may be present on the road
; there may be wild animals, livestock and donkey carts on the road, and local driving standards as well as a lot of roads are quite low.
Generally, national parks and wildlife reserves have no issues with crime
. But do exercise the usual precautions in cities – Nairobi, Mombasa, Johannesburg and Dar es Salaam in particular have high levels of crime. Leave valuables in your hotel, use cabs booked by your hotel or restaurant and avoid walking around at night.
Homosexuality may be stigmatised – or even illegal – in some African destinations
. Same sex couples are advised to be aware of local laws and customs, and to act discretely in public.
Camping in game reserves is thrilling as you are surrounded by wildlife – including elephants, lions and hyenas. Your guide will explain the regulations at each camp – please listen to them, they know their stuff!
Many parts of Africa are quite conservative, particularly in more rural areas, and all travellers should dress modestly
. Women in particular should not wear shorts or sleeveless tops. This is especially important in predominantly Islamic regions such as coastal Kenya and Tanzania, and most of North Africa. Ethiopia is also deeply conservative.
For further information on health and safety across Africa, please visit the FCO
or the CDC
websites and refer to your particular destination.