safe to travel with teenagers in South Africa

Travel Forums Africa and The Middle East safe to travel with teenagers in South Africa

1. Posted by coliep (Budding Member 7 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Hi
We are an Irish family , me and my wife in mid forties , our kids 15 13 and 11 planning a once in a life time trip for 3 and half weeks next Easter 09 . Want lots of adventure , stuff the kids will always remember , rafting , safari , lots of outdoor stuff , culturally different stuff . Had thought of New Zealand , but I wanted the kids to experience something culturally different .Have also thougt of Vietnam or Central America ( Guetemala, Costa Rica also ) Were used to travelling independantly around Europe on our holidays , and wouldnt be that fussy . Kids have done scouting and roughed it a bit I am very keen on South Africa , for me it seems to tick a lot of boxs , beautiful country , loads of activity stuff to do , I have always loved south african music and would be interested in experincing some Zulu culture , seems to have very good infrastructure . I like the fact that we could hire a car and or take some of the buses also . am very attracted to the range of backpacker places/accomodation , some of whom cater for families ( I have seen coast to coast) would be happy to stay in the odd nice more expensive place also .was thinking of flying into Capetown , travelling garden and coast route , would love to see lisotho and Drackensberg and back throuhg the Karoo , with one or two days in Capetown . We live in a city , so dont want to spend too much time on our holidays in one

The issuesthat I want some advice on , and which are very offputting for my wife are twofold and interllinked

1. What is the security situation like .( Dont plan to spend any time in Joberg ) an Africaaner colleague in work is not a good add for south african tourism and has spoken a lot about the huge levels of violence where he comes from near Joberg . Have heard from other people who have travelled there , not to ever go out at night , except by Taxi .While in any developing country where people are struggling , you are at risk of being mugged etc , dont particularly want the kids to experience being held up at gun point on our holidays . Dont particularly want to spend all my holidays in gated complexes with security . Have things got worse or will they be better for the world cup ? Is it that bad or no more than in Dublin , just make sure you get advice on the areas that are ok to travel around?
2. We have heard from other friends that the legacy of apartheid , still hangs heavily there . As a white Irish family , are we going to feel resented ? Is the gulf between white south africans and black south africans too wide and bitter that it would prevent you engaging in some way with the culture of the country , allowing for the fact that you are still a tourist ? Maybe were just not seasoned enough travellers to manage all these contradictions , which are confronted by well off western travellers all the time in developing countries

Any honest thoughts on the above would be helpful in making our decision .

Thanks

Colie

2. Posted by patdoody (Budding Member 45 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Hi,
I'm from Limerick myself,and was in SA this July for a month,and also last year for a month.You've raised some valid points alright.My girlfriend and i have driven almost 11000 miles through the country(car hire is v.cheap,bout €180wk) and can honestly say we never had the slightest bother at any stage.When driving,the only hassle you might encounter is when parking in towns,and an unofficial parking helper pops out.It's prob easier to give him r5 and that's the end of it.
We found walking in cities by day fine,and walked many towns at night also,but not J burg,wouldn't stay there for anything,v. dangerous.Its not the nicest thing to admit,but towns with larger white populations seem safer.

We always drove ourselves out to restaurants at night,or walked,in Cape Town,Bloemfontein,Kimberley,Pietermaritzburg etc.Although we didn't have kids with us,South Africans love them,with loads of facilities for them.To be honest,i'd be more afraid of being mugged in Limerick or Dublin,and i've been some funny places.

While there is a large gulf between black and white there,you certainly wont feel resented as a tourist.Most hotels,guesthouses you will stay in will be white owned/managed,just the way it is.You should avoid townships however,for obvious reasons.Making friends with local people is no problem,black or white,a simple smile opens a lot of conversations.

All in all SA is an awesome place to visit,if i was you,i wouldn't worry in the slightest.If you need any info on best sights,experiences etc,let me know.Happy travels!