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Mother travelling with two daughters - is it safe?

Christchurch, New...
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Mother travelling with two daughters - is it safe?

Hi All, I am going to SA in OCtober with my two daughters aged 7 and 8. I have not been back since 2002(left in 1995), and am fully aware that things have changed. At the moment I am getting quite a bit of heat from family and friends re my travelling with two kids as a woman on my own! I will rent a car in Jhb, and plans are to drive to Kruger for 4 nights, then Drakensberg, Bloemfontein, Nieu Bethesda and ending in Cape Town; taking the train back to Jhb. We have booked accommodation for most areas, I will only drive in daylight, will only go out at night to safe areas and generally think I am a safe traveller! So.. the question is how can I reassure my friends that I we will be fine as we won't be stupid in where we go ie no-go areas. I cannot believe that SA has become so unsafe since I have been there last. Honest opinion and feedback will be most appreciated! I would rather go to SA where I know my way around and still have the '6th sense' re safety, than taking my girls to a new, foreign country. Thanks!!

Pretoria, South...
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1. Re: Mother travelling with two daughters - is it safe?

I doubt that you can reassure your detractors - holding on to the erroneous perception that this country is a hellhole seems to be too important to many ex-South Africans. You could suggest they visit this forum, type "Safety" in the search box and read through the many pages of overwhelmingly positive feedback that will be returned. Who knows, it may help.

With the usual caveats - the ones you have already mentioned - I don't think you should hesitate.

Christchurch, New...
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2. Re: Mother travelling with two daughters - is it safe?

Thank you so much!! It is very reassuring to hear others say the same as me! I am very much looking forward to the trip - especially Kruger!

Tempe, Arizona
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for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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3. Re: Mother travelling with two daughters - is it safe?

This may sound like "more trouble than it's worth" - but I actually use Google Earth or Google Maps to look at the roads. And show clients photos of the roads that are easy to save off these sites. Your friends and family would likely be surprised to see how good the roads are.. you might even say, how ordinary they are. Could add some comfort to help offset their concerns.

Pickering, United...
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4. Re: Mother travelling with two daughters - is it safe?

My daughter is nearly 14 and going on her 7th more than month long safari in South Africa (all self-drive). Until recently we have also taken grandma (in her late 70's). We have driven widely around SA including Jo'burg, Durban and CT. We have never had any problems even driving all of the way from CT via Durban to jo'burg on one trip. like yourself, our family and friends were not always supportive but we have persisted and slowly converted them to such an extent that they now join us on trips to places they would not go without us! Go, play safe and enjoy.

Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: Mother travelling with two daughters - is it safe?

Suzie

Some practical advice FYI, which may or may not be of use for your upcoming road trip

We drove over 5,000kms from Jburg to Cape Town via Kruger, St Lucia, Battlefields area, Drakensbergs, Karoo, Paarl, Franschoek and surrounds to Paternoster on the west coast ending in Cape Town. No problems at all. Take the usual precautions. As you have planned, do not drive at night, we did once and never again. Do not speed, there are traffic police patrolling even in the remote areas. Stop dead at the 4 way intersections. We were picked up on the last 2 but let off when they checked our international drivers license. Book accommodation in advance, where possible. Plan your route before starting out and ask your local accommodators about your proposed route/state of roads. We had a SA glove box road atlas pre purchased plus we brought the Tom Tom with us, this had the SA map preloaded before we left. The latter proved very handy in large cities and towns, although I guess you could get away without one. Do not leave anything visible inside the car, use the boot. Pay the parking patrol attendants say R5-10 to keep an eye on your car if they are around, usual in the shopping centres and touristy spots. Make sure you have the petrol topped up, we never let in go under half full, particularly when out in the remote areas. Lock all doors when driving and be vigilant. Take a mobile phone with a prepaid local sim card which you can get at the Vodashops at airports for emergencies. We had a handy information sheet we had prepared before leaving with local emergency nos, police, medical, car rental, plus our accommodation providers phone nos, which we kept in the glove box. We did need it and the phone to ring Avis when the car gear box went on the 2nd day as we were nowhere near any town.

Hope this helps with your planning.

Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: Mother travelling with two daughters - is it safe?

The previous poster has offered a lot of good practical advice, however, another thing you might like to consider is registering your travel plans with the appropriate government department. I am assuming you are NZ resident and like Australia , the Foreign Affairs Dept. encourages all residents travelling abroad to register their plans in case of emergency situations so they are be contactable. I make this a habit before heading off on my overseas trips and as well as the practical reasons for doing so, in your case, it may lessen your family’s concern somewhat.

http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/register.shtml

The Kiwi link above has all the info. Have a great trip !

Christchurch, New...
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7. Re: Mother travelling with two daughters - is it safe?

Thank you so much everyone! I needed some reassurance that I am not insane doing what I am planning to do! I am very much looking forward to smelling rain on proper dry, dusty earth!

Randburg, Gauteng...
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8. Re: Mother travelling with two daughters - is it safe?

Hello Suzie, you have been given good advice, and as a tour guide, i travel around the country all the time. I meet visitors from all over the world and they all have the same story about their friends warning about coming to South Africa. Once they are here, they say they cannot believe that they feel so safe, one USA clients walking down the street in Soweto, commented she had never felt so safe in her life!. Her friends told her to make out her will before she came here! Things HAVE changed here. It is much better, i am a female and drive around at all hours even late at nite. But commensense must prevail, dont take any trips into areas that you dont know or have not done investigation about your proposed trip. Ask around, dont be shy. As you know South AFricans of all races are very friendly and will not hesitate to assist you.

Lyn - Owner - Thorntree Tours and Safaris

Johannesburg, South...
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9. Re: Mother travelling with two daughters - is it safe?

SuzieS - South Africa is just like any other big country with big cities anywhere in the world! You have your safe spots and your unsafe spots,m there are roads you should travel and those you should not. Be sensible, use common sense, as I think you are, and you will be fine. Keep your doors locked, your windows closed 9therefore make sure your car has aircon), dont leave anything on a seat or exposed (keep all your stuff in the boot/trunk). Most of our roads are really good. In the smaller towns, the locals could not be more friendly and helpful, and you will feel really safe going out at night. In some places we have even walked from our accomodation to the eatery and back with no problem at all. I am a single white female and drive both during the day and at night to various places, I travel with my little ones, my father, friends and foreign family often around our local roads and cities. Yes, crime can happen anywhere, at anytime, just like anywhere in the world, but if you keep your eyes open and generally follow simple safety principles, you will be absolutely fine!

Some posts on TA that will also give you some info and insight as they also talk about safety and what to be aware of:

tripadvisor.co.uk/…51122656

tripadvisor.co.uk/…51124847

All the advise and suggestions above from fellow posters are fantastic. You are not going insane - remember that the international media can also really hype things up, but the reality is that we live here, and if it was so bad, would we still be living here? Congrats on being so independent and choosing our wonderful country to come and visit :)

Sydney, Australia
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10. Re: Mother travelling with two daughters - is it safe?

I think we can close this post. Put Suzie at ease all good info all have given.... why re flog same info over again ~~