tell the 18000 people who were murdered last year in SA that crime is not bad......
tell the woman who is raped every 23 seconds that crime is not bad.........
Tell Schalk Burgher's (Springbok rugby player) sister that crime is not bad. She was hijacked and gang raped last week. Read the newspapers guys and stop ignoring that crime is out of control. Just because it hasnt happened to you yet doesnt mean you may not be next. This is particularly true in Johannesburg. Smaller towns and centres may be safer.
Trust no one! Do not stop for anyone. My best mate had a brick thrown at his car on the N1 highway in Joburg. Another night they threw nails on the highway......flat tyre.......both times he just kept driving home. Do not stop. You may die.
People in SA like to tell people that all is OK.
Tell that to the Swedish tourists who decided to go to the beach in my home town, East London. They thought that white=bad (apartheid), blacks are all angels. What happened? Gang raped on the sand dunes in paradise.
I agree that South Africa is more dangerous than any first world country but I think for tourists who stick to tourist areas in Cape Town and the game preserves it is much safer than just about any where else in Africa and many places in latin america. I definitely felt safer in Cape Town than I did in Bogata.
Any country with the extreme poverty that is present in South Africa is going to have major crime risk.. but I think it can be mitigated by common sense. When you go anywhere in the 3rd world you've got to remember you're not in Disney World and there's often no security guards to look after you.
As a guy without female children maybe I'm not as aware of rape risk as I would be otherwise but the two times I took 20 students down to Cape Town and then did game tours in the north we didn't have any scary moments. That said I have several local friends who have been violently robbed and one who was raped while doing charity work in the slums (she still does charity work in the slums). Its definitely a 3rd world country.. although the nice parts of Cape Town feel 1st world and are much safer than the slums.
I definitely agree that Crime in Johannesburg is really bad, and I agree that the National government in SA is terrible about owning up to problems including crime, corruption and AIDS (until recently they denied AIDS existed and recommended people merely shower after unprotected sex).
Do you think Cape Town is better?
That was definitely my impression but I don't live down there.
Cape Town is better yes.
A few reasons: smaller black population, much larger coloured and white population (95%+ of violent crime is committed by young black males). This is not a racist statement. It is the truth.
However CT has a bad murder rate per capita but this is contained in the townships on the Cape Flats and is largely due to rival gangs killing each other (not tourists) and so it is safer.
I think the attitudes on both sides (Afrikaners and formerly oppressed blacks) are more relaxed and open in Cape Town. I met a lot of university types and volunteers in Cape Town and the poor black neighborhoods were very welcoming to white volunteers. Over all Cape Town was amazing and very hopeful feeling.
Johannesburg felt more industrial and dirty and unwelcoming.. there were signs everywhere about not trusting cab drivers (no signs like that in Cape Town).. and in the country side north of town we saw a lot of white people wearing T shirts written in Africance that locals traveling with us said racist things.. and there was definitely a vibe or racial tension.
I just wanted to thank you all for taking the time to write me and let me know all this valuable information. It was immensely helpful.
i actually just got back from africa and Johannesburg being my base. it was an amazing adventure.
i stayed at a backpackers youth hostel in dunkeld west. there is some great shopping nearby so it was easy access to food and places to go. really not much to do there but that wasnt the point. i needed the place to base myself so that i could leave most of luggage and bags and plan my real trip. that real trip was a breathtaking adventure of 5 days to kruger national park. as a bonus i also took a cruise along the blyde river and saw the amazing grand blyde canyon. i then traveled to this area called the panzi bush in limpopo province where i did my second bush walk.
in joburg i took a tour of the suburbs of the city, saw some of the beautiful malls,the monte cosino which was interesting and went to the Johannesburg zoo. great zoo by the way.
no need for malaria tablets in kruger as you said. i didnt even see any mosquitoes. i was concerned a bit on the way to kruger from my hostel in Johannesburg becuase it started to rain heavy. i was told that it was uncommon for rain that part of the year (late may - june). I was concerned the unusual weather might bring mosquitoes, amazingly when we arrived at the park 6 hours later the rain completely stopped in time for our first game drive. i didnt see many bugs for that matter at all. I did use repellent with 35% deet which is very powerful so whatever bugs there were stayed away. i also always wore long sleeves and long trousers. the tents were very clean and comfortable with real beds inside and i slept like a baby to the sounds of lions, hippos and hyenas calling out in the middle of the night. the 3rd night was awesome. i was at the oliphant camp. at night you can hear the river flowing and it was the perfect white noise to help me sleep and relax from a long day in the game vehicle.
i loved the food prepared on the brai bbq. I also was amazed at how the sky is just teaming and alive with a view of the milky way with 1000's of stars. what a site! It looked to amazing to be real. I had to rub my eyes to believe it. The tour guide also told this tale of myth about the starts meeting eachother. the scorpion vs the lion. lol. it was funny and mystical.
Now that i have been there, i agree that the stories about johannesburg are overblown.
i found the suburbs of Johannesburg to be safe. I did find it weird that the sidewalks were totally empty besides for a few shady characters walking them, while the streets were jam packed with cars. i have never seen that before in a major city. lol. i actually did feel a bit uneasy when i took a long walk from dunkeld west to the rosebank mall because of the seclusion. when i got to the gas station of jan smuts ave i asked the attendant directions and he was very nice. I feel that johannesburg is a paradox. despite the crime and the fears the people are very warm, friendly and humorous.
I did take alot of photos and video. here is my youtubechannel. http://youtube.com/user/WorldTravelerMan
you can see all my videos of africa and other places i have been to.
Thank you for putting me at ease and the valuable advice which made things that much easier.