My boyfriend and I are travelling to Johannesburg from Madagascar at the beginning of October and planning to spend some time travelling to Cape Town to join a safari, possibly through the Garden Route. Is this safe and what's the best way to go about it?
I've been hearing horror stories (from Sth Africans included) that if we hire a car we WILL get carjacked and that it's just not safe. Anyone got any thoughts on this?
Any tips on where we go/amount of time we should spend would be cool too.
It is far from a guarantee you'll get hijacked. In fact, if you take some simple precautions and be a little more aware of what is going on around you, nothing will happen.
Don't let the horrorstories spoil your holiday!!
The most risk will be in Joburg. I know for a fact that hijackers sometimes wait at a car rental and follow you. A friend of mine got hijacked about 10 minutes after she left the rental place.
So, while driving around in Joburg: plan the trip a little ahead: look at the map where you want to go, and try to remember the streetnames. Avoid certain suburbs (like Hillbrow and Berea), and try not to drive after dark. IF you drive after dark, don't stop somewhere to look at the map, unless it is at a gasstation.
Always keep your car doors locked while driving, and don't open your windows too far (so no-one can put his arm through). When stopping at traffic lights, keep a little more distance between your car and the one in front of you than you're used to: íf something goes wrong, you'll have space to drive away.
There are rumours that you are sort of allowed to jump red lights if you don't feel comfortable, but if you make an accident by that, that excuse won't stand.
So far for horror-Joburg... For the rest of the route there's little to worry about, especially if there's a man in the car as well. Just try not to drive after dark. And if you get lost, it is always better to go to a garage or petrol station to ask for directions...
For the trip itself: try to take at least a week, so you can stop over here and there. I'm planning the same trip (Joburg-CPT) from the 15th of september on, and I have ten days.
If you want more info on what to do and where to go, let me know!
[ Edit: Edited at Aug 7, 2006 11:26 PM by Demian ]
Safety is an issue and there is no guarantees but it should be fine. There has been a lot of flooding on the garden route in past weeks but that should also not affect you.
The garden route that most visitors see is allong the N2 highway and quite safe if you don't stop in remote places. At the tourist stops there will be guards to look after your car.
If you're interested to see more than just the touristy things, I would recommend you go with a Guide/driver, this is the safest and lets you sit back and enjoy the scenery, no guide books and road maps. You will then also be able to do the garden route by not traveling the normal tourist route but the interesting and scenic back roads.
I agree with Demian about JHB, but again if you have a Guide/driver you will be safe to do as you please.
If you travel by car from JHB to Cape Town you'll need 10-14 days. If you have a bit more time, there are various routes to take: JHB-Lesotho-Wild Coast-Garden Route-CT or JHB-Swaziland-Elephant Coast-Durban-Wild Coast- Garden Route-CT.
Hope this helps. If you need more info let me know.
I agree with the previous writers with regards to safety.
If it looks lonely and dangerous to you then it is, so just stay away from it.
Hope to see you in Cape Town.
[ Edit: sorry, no promos in the forum please. ]
Jus don't do what I did and get lost in Durban at two am. I was running around trying to find a taxi and then ending up at the wrong Holiday Inn.
We were fine though, no trouble whatsoever. Just a bit naive maybe . . .
When my (back then) boyfriend and I were dating, I heard many horror stories from him and his friends.
So I was very excited when we went to ZA to see what it's like and to be bale to make up my own opinion.
Generally speaking I had a very good time, didn't really see any major crime happening, but I guess it has a lot to do with being sensibel at all times!
Don't walk around in areas you don't know, never give anyone any money(!!!! don't feel sorry for street children), don't dress like a tourist, don't carry your purse in the backpocket of your pants,always ask the people at the hostel which streets are safe and where u shouldn't be at night etc.
When you get money out at the Cashpoints, alway make sure what's happening behind you. If you feel uncomfortable walk away!!! Trust ur gut feeling! (I had to do it once) If someone comes to help you or claims to have forgotten something there, take ur stuff and leave!
My personal advice: put locks on ur suitcase, as things do get stolen at JBG airport! Unfortunately it happened to me, luckily it was 'just' my wedding ring...
if u wanna know anything else, pls contact me!
The first time i went to south africa, i was died scared. I heard so many stories that i will beat up someone saying hi. Am not joking. We went From Messina (zim border) to Capetown, through Pretoria Jburg Durban then garden route. Nothing happened to us, even if we saw a car being hijacked at the red light in front of us. I did not stop at the red light and speed up. Except for this, never see anything. The best advise is being sensible.
I went back there twice since my first trip and really want to go again. Dont ignore the risk but dont spoil your holiday. South Africa is a beautiful country with great people.