Is Cape Town safe for tourists?
So, is Cape Town safe for tourists? Yes!
It’s common for tourists visiting Cape Town to be concerned about the level of crime in the area. In any unfamiliar territory, this is normal anxiety, especially from a traveller’s perspective.
However, things are not as bad as they have sometimes been painted in this vibrant and eclectic city. Cape Town has been transformed into a safe place for tourists to explore.
Above: Cape Town is safe for tourists and families.
Cape Town safety features upgraded
Cape Town Tourism has been exceedingly vigilant since crime in the area received its bad press before the 2010 soccer world cup, constantly meeting to improve and bolster security measures within the city since 2005. Their Cape Town Safety and Support plan, alongside a devoted Visitor Support Programme, strives to simultaneously prevent crimes and assist any tourists affected by criminal activity.
In addition, you’ll find that most tourist-heavy areas are well-protected. The bigger malls, central business district, national landmarks and visitor hotspots have gone to great pains in order to safeguard tourists.
Cape Town safety: the tale of two cities
As one Cape Town tourist puts it; “Cape Town is safe enough if you take precautions. There are really two cities here, but the crime stats blend them together. The poor communities of the Cape Flats see 95% of the crime while the city centre and suburbs are pretty safe in terms of violent crime.”
Just like with all the other major cities around the world, Cape Town is safe when you take certain universal safety measures in order to safeguard yourself and your belongings from criminal activity and local hazards.
Tips to keep Cape Town safe for tourists:
1. Stick to the main Cape town tourist locations
Bear in mind that most major tourist spots are safe and well-guarded. Stick to these places, rather than going off track into townships without guidance.
2. Car safety in Cape Town
Tourists can easily hire a car in Cape Town to explore the city. Most popular parking lots have attendants who assist you with parking, as well as keeping an eye on your car whilst you’re away. Still, whether you pull off-road to park or use one of these designated spaces, it is vital that you keep your windows shut, your doors locked, and your valuables were hidden. Make sure you have enough fuel for your journey, to avoid breaking down in a spot you weren’t expecting to visit.
3. Is it safe to travel to Cape Town’s suburbs by train?
Above: Cape Town train tracks – photo by Vjeran2001
While occasionally there is an incident of a mugging on Capetonian trains, these normally only happen at night. During the day, stations and train cars are teeming with harmless commuters – much like yourself and your children. If you travel during the sunlit hours, especially around 8 am and 5 pm, you should be perfectly safe on Cape Town’s trains.
4. Is Cape Town safe all year round?
There is never really a terrible time to visit the beautiful city of Cape Town. However, there are stages where it is less prudent. Be extra cautious if you are visiting for school holidays and events such as the Cape Argus cycle race and the Two Oceans Marathon. The high level of human traffic means pickpocketing often goes unnoticed.
5. Avoid exhibiting pricey belongings
A vital thing to remember is, don’t flaunt your wealth. Keep your valuable items at home, or at least well out of sight, in order to prevent any temptation for criminals. Refrain from bringing large sums of cash around with you. Only take what you need, or utilise other forms of payment such as debit or credit cards (widely accepted in South Africa).
6. Baboons and safety in Cape Town
Above: Baboons in Cape Town – photo by Stellab
In Cape Town, especially near the more mountainous regions, you may come across a baboon – even a troupe! Usually, monitors are around to help prevent them from harassing passers-by, to ensure tourist safety, but be wary of them. Do not feed them – they are wild animals. Although there have only been a few reports of actual attacks, one more is too many.
7. Cape Town’s Shark awareness
The local beaches rely on Shark Spotters, not nets, to keep tourists safe from attacks. As the number of sharks approaching the beach has increased significantly, it is important to swim close to the shore and be aware of sirens and red flags.
Cape Town is a beautiful city. Don’t be alienated by the negative hype. Many tourists have the time of their life. As one visitor said; “There are some general safety precautions you should take, but it’s the exact same as in any other big city. Don’t flaunt your wealth, don’t venture into the settlements and don’t be driving around without locking your car etc. I have personally not been touched by any crime, nor have anybody in my extended family!”
The above tells us that the answer to “Is Cape Town safe for tourists?” – is indeed, yes. Cape Town is safe for tourists!
If you need to hire a specific vehicle during your trip to Cape Town, have a look at the car hire Cape Town options. You can find the perfect vehicle for your visit.