Safety in Cape Town

ExpatCapeTown Safety Tips

Your personal safety in Cape Town is easy enough to upkeep if you follow some precautions. Cape Town is like any other big city a hub of activities and some areas are more dangerous than others. 

Sharkspotter, image by Andrea WillmoreSharkspotter in Muizenberg south of Cape Town

If you are interested to read about the crime rate in Cape Town and about areas you should avoid please click here. 

Make sure you are familiar with the areas you are visiting and listen to the recommendations and advice of locals. Many activities and behaviours can be dangerous but if u know what to do when and where, we are sure you can enjoy life here in South Africa as much as in any other place around the world. It's easy to forget, that some danger could be prevented and many risks are also due to negligence or being not cautious enough. Please ensure that you are familiar with these basic precautions to feel and stay safe in the Mother City. Please find our Safety Tips below...

and... beware of nature and sharks;-) Use your common sense and swim only at beaches where there are lifeguards and then also obey the instructions of these lifeguards. Many beaches are beautiful for sunbathing and walking but are not safe for swimming, due to riptides, backwash and sidewash or shark activity. Same accounts for staying in the city: not all areas are safe and listen to the locals... so use your common sense!

Safety in Cape Town | Safety Tips when out and about

  • Avoid wearing expensive jewelry, cameras and other valuables.
  • Do not carry large sums of money. Keep some coins in your pockets to hand out to car guards without having to open your wallet.
  • Especially at night and also during the day day, steer clear of isolated areas, building sites and isolated beaches
  • Be aware that ATMs are regular targets for pick pockets or credit card thieves. Do never give any details to a stranger. Phone the emergency number shown on the ATM for clarifications with your bank.
  • Avoid being near parking cash transit vans. Armed robberies and heists are a sad but almost regular occurrence in South Africa
  • Keep a listing of emergency numbers and contacts in your bag or wallet or on your cellphone.

Safety in Cape Town | Tips for your Home

  • For your safety in Cape Town invest in a good security system and get connected to an Armed Response team from a security company which operates in your area. Check which company your neighbours use. The more clients a company has got in your area the better the response as they often deploy extra cars when sufficient clientele in your area.
  • Use outside perimeter control beams, an electric fence or burglar bars to make sure nobody will get inside without alarming the response company.
  • Never leave your valuables in sight from windows or outside the house. 
  • Store valuables in your well-hidden safety deposit box. More valuable effects or documents you will not need everyday should be deposited at you bank safety deposit.
  • Keep your house or apartment door locked at all times, whether you're in the house or not.
  • If someone rings the bell, check who it is before opening the door. If you are unsure what the visitor wants and feel insecure of his/her intent, do not open the door.
  • Do not have any personal identification on your key set. In case you loose your keys or they get stolen immediately, have your locks changed immediately.

Safety in Cape Town: Driving your Car

  • Plan your route in advance avoid getting too close to townships.
  • Always carry a cell phone (mobile) in case of an emergency or a breakdown of your car.
  • Keep the car doors locked at all times and wind the windows up when coming to a street crossing where there are street sellers or beggars.
  • Lock valuable items in the boot (trunk) and never leave your handbag in sight. Even when driving, store your bag under the passenger seat out of sight. When parking somewhere, never leave anything lying around in your car. Jackets, shoes, books, CDs when visible from outside are popular targets
  • Always park in well-lit areas. When parking in parking garages leave your car close to the lifts.
  • Never pick up strangers. Should you get lost, do not accept help from people who want to show you the way while accompanying you in your car.
  • When you have a breakdown with your car, stay in your car and alert help with your phone or if it is a safe area, you could get help by flagging down other motorists. Capetonians are well known for their willingness to help other people to get out of trouble.
  • But don't accept help from people who want to show you the way while accompanying you in your car.
  • If you are not sure about your safety in Cape Town before venturing in an unknown area, phone a police station for advice. See: www.saps.gov.za for telephone numbers.


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Living in South Africa - Expat Guide Book by Regina Graeff and Derryn Campbell

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