Cape Town

Cape Town might be perceived as a very safe city comparable to major cities in central Europe, however, it is not. It is al lot less than one might believe. Safety is an issue in the whole of South Africa. As a newcomer to the city SafeAround advises you use a taxi and be vigilant all the time. The level of serious crime is high. Personal security is the main priority in the country. As for violent crime, it peaked in the 90s. Nowadays, it’s still still quite high but has decreased since then. On average there are been 30-35 homicides in South Africa per 100 000 people, in contrast, in Finland, there are been just 50-60 murders per year per whole nation. Rape is another area of concern, just as flash kidnapping. In order to make your trip as smooth as possible, SafeAround compiled useful information about all potential risks and dangerous neighborhoods of Capetown. We will allow you to see on a map the city’s safest and potentially dangerous areas, details on scams and other possible risks, as well as some useful travel advice in order not to let anything spoil such a wonderful journey to the picturesque South African beauty.

SAFETY INDEX

See others cities in South Africa

Cape Town is a port city on the southwest coast of South Africa, also known as Kaapstad (Mother City). As it is a legislative capital it is one of the most attractive resorts on earth and most iconic cities. Its magnificent architecture, soft climate, high-quality service, unique nature, virgin ocean, wild safari and developed architecture, attract millions of tourists each year. It is the second most populated and urban city in South Africa after Johannesburg. Thanks to the widely known natural landmarks like Table Mountain, Cape point, and World Heritage Site Robben Island. Moreover, the city is known for its architectural heritage, with one of the highest density of Cape Dutch style buildings in the world. The combination of a legacy of the architectural authenticity of Germany, Netherlands, Indonesia, and France is particularly visible in Constantia (old governmental establishment, which is located in the Business District).

City Bowl

The city center and the most convenient and safe place to stay. Preferably explore by foot, as it relatively small. Many guesthouses and hotels with an excellent view of a harbor are located in this area. Beware of pickpockets.

Bo-Kaap (Upper Cape)

Lovely suburb stretching from the edge of the inner city up the slopes of Signal Hill. Historic mosques and differently colored houses make this part of the city one of the most interesting areas of Cape Town. In terms of safety, this area is absolutely safe.

V&A Waterfront

It’s an enormous complex in old docks, which has a lot to offer to newcomers. Bars with local wines, sophisticated restaurants, and craft markets are open for your choice. As always, a high concentration of tourists attracts scammers and pickpockets. So, be aware of your surroundings. Best areas to stay in Cape Town: Constantia, Diep River, Southern Suburbs, Bloubergstrand, Northern Suburbs, Clifton, Sea point and Camps Bay.

Neighborhoods to avoid:

Khayelitsha 

In this slum-like area, Gang battles with knives happen often, so only armed taxi drivers go into this area.  It’s definitely not a tourist destination for a romantic South African voyage.

Gugulethu

Gugulethu is a township about 15 km from Cape Town: it’s a very troubled area, infamous for murders and carjacking. The area is not on the tourist route, however worth to know, that being there might cause problems.

Nyanga

The poorest township in Cape Town. Supposed to be a home for gangs. High level of crime is due to 50% unemployment rate, poverty, and violence. Definitely a No-Go Area

Warnings & Dangers

Mid Priority-96 OVERALL RISK : HIGH

Cape Town is ranked 110th out of 162 of most dangerous cities. However, the safety level is depends on the district. So, if you exercise a high degree of caution and avoid the troubled areas, your vacation to Cape Town might only be spoiled by petty theft at the Central station. However, at dark, crime rates are significantly higher, thus we advise refraining from visiting any areas at night.

Mid Priority-96 PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM

Pickpocketing at shopping centers is common. It is worth being vigilant of your surroundings, do not leave your valuable unattended. The city center might be overcrowded and numerous pickpockets operate in this area.

Mid Priority-96 MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

Muggings and robbery often happen, and generally involve weapons. Some criminals pretend to be ‘Tourist Police’ to extort and rob tourists, including by stopping tourist buses to check proof of identity and search luggage. There were reports of situations when tourists have been assaulted and robbed after their food or drinks were spiked. Try to avoid being in clubs or bars alone at night, and do not leave your food or beverages unattended.

Mid Priority-96 SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM

Scams with credit cards are very common, SafeAround recommends to keep your credit card in sight, whenever used. Scam incidents can be reported on the following telephone number: +27 11 9705300.

Mid Priority-96 TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM

There are known situations when criminals place debris on roads in order to stop the vehicle. We advise you not to stop and get out of the car to clear the barrier. The best solution is to wait for another car or try to bypass using the roadside. Robberies is  an issue on trains between Johannesburg and Pretoria. Commuter trains in Cape Town might be dangerous in the night time as well. Luggage theft does occur at Cape Town airport. SafeAround advises you do not place any valuables in your luggage. Waiting for a taxi, be aware of strangers, that might offer their help with your suitcases. Be vigilant, and do not leave your belongings unattended. Due to safety and concerns, the use of minibus taxis is not recommended. These vehicles are in poor condition, drivers drive erratically. The best solution for security reasons is taking a taxi wherever you go, luckily it’s significantly cheaper in Cape Town, than in any European capital.

Mid Priority-96 NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW

Tsunamis in the Indian Ocean might be a threat. You can find more info on Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.

Mid Priority-96 TERRORISM RISK : N/A

There is a moderate risk of terrorism in South Africa. Terrorism is a worldwide threat.

Mid Priority-96 WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : N/A

There has been several reports of attacks and shaming of women travelers. Do not venture alone in shady neighborhoods of large cities, or isolated villages.

Carte

Useful Information

If you’re visiting South Africa for tourism purposes for a period of up to 90 days, you don’t need a visa. In other circumstances, you’ll need a visa.
South African Rand is an official currency of the country. The easiest way to obtain the local currency is to withdrawals from the ATM machine. The best exchange rate is guaranteed.
Weather conditions in Johannesburg are excellent; during the summer months (December – February) the temperature reaches 30°C. Winter might be cold, however, snow is very rare.
The main international airports are in Johannesburg and Cape Town. If you’re looking for cheap flight deals, you can find some on JetRadar
As in any country, we advise travelers to get a travel insurance that covers not only medical problems but also theft and loss of personal items. Learn more on our travel insurance page