For visitors planning their World Cup experience in South Africa this year, being prepared is key to ensuring a fun, rewarding and safe trip. While South Africa may have a crime rate that is often exaggerated in the media, visitors to the country do not need to fear for their safety – the major towns and cities are generally safe to visit, as long as visitors follow basic safety precautions to keep safe and secure when traveling across the country. You will also be able to see and do a lot more if you plan your trip well – giving you time to enjoy a host of world-class activities and attractions on days that you are not watching the games.
Key travel tips to consider during your visit include the following:
- Be cautious with valuables. Don’t walk around with your camera hanging around your neck in the busy cities, don’t fall for money-making scams or potentially suspect cheap ticket sales, avoid walking around alone in remote areas, remember to lock car doors and keep an eye out for anything that seems amiss.
- Consider car hire for a convenient and flexible way to get around. Prices vary depending on the operator, with excellent deals for longer term hire. Hired cars mostly come with GPS installed, helping you get around the various World Cup destinations easily without getting lost. This also gives you the freedom and flexibility of being able to go wherever you wish rather than relying on structured tour groups. Plus, you will not have to worry about navigating the public transport system.
- Be prepared to be charmed over. South Africa has a number of street children, especially in the larger cities. These children are heartbreakingly charming, and it can be very hard to resist the urge to give them money – adding to the problem, and continuing the cycle of begging and stealing. There are many organisations working with the street kids across the country however, and supporting these organisations will make a huge difference. Visit www.myggsa.co.za for a list of charities dealing with homeless children.
- Purchase an up to date street map book. These include street maps for every town and city in South Africa, and are a great way to find places and get an idea of where the major roads, highways, cities and suburbs are situated. While a GPS will obviously be just as good, for those who don’t have that luxury, a good map book is your best bet.
- Choose your accommodation according to your budget. But do a bit of research in advance, and if possible, try and make your booking ahead of time. This will save you a lot of hassles and stress trying to find accommodation at the last minute – you will also avoid the inflated price rates that will be in effect from June to July. Generally, you can find a decent guest house, bed and breakfast, hotel, backpackers at fairly reasonable prices. If budget is not a concern, you could also find a beautiful villa in trendy areas such as Camps Bay, Sandton or Durban.
- Taste, try, see, do and experience as much as possible. South Africa is a beautiful country, with a host of attractions on offer. With delicious food, a vibrant nightlife, stunning beaches and so much more, you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to things to do during your stay. Get out and about, and experience the famous friendly South African culture for yourself!