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Student safety in Onderstepoort/Pretoria

London, United...
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Student safety in Onderstepoort/Pretoria

Hi, any comments or advice would be welcome...

I am the father of an attractive white daughter (mid 20s) who is keen to study at UP at the Onderstepoort campus - a long way from home in London, England. My wife is dead against her going to RSA for safety reasons with crime rates reportedly very high resulting in some/many feeling the need to live in secure enclaves & gun ownership being common, carjacking, etc. She currently doesn't have a driving licence & posts about safety usually say it is best to have your own transport. She does have common sense and is after all an adult. The obvious advice would be to travel about with friends made at the university. I assume the campus where she would be living is a bit of a world of its own anyway. I travelled on foot, bus, lorry, ferry, whatever from Alexandria to Cape Town thirty years ago & never really had a problem but that was a long time ago & am male which probably makes a big difference. I thought there should be potential for a great learning & travel experience but have to reassure/convince my wife!

Does anyone know anything about the area or campus other than what is on the official website and have thoughts on safety related issues? Thanks in advance.

Johannesburg, South...
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1. Re: Student safety in Onderstepoort/Pretoria

I cannot speak specifically about Onderstepoort, but, in general, with regard to South Africa as a whole, and Johannesburg / Pretoria in particular, the safety issue is greatly exaggerated, and blown out of all proportion.

Most crimes occur in the so called "townships" and depressed areas, same as any country anywhere. These are areas one would stay away from, in any event,whatever the country. They are easy to recognise.

By way of getting some perspective, let me say that my niece has recently returned to South Africa after a 2 year sojourn in Europe ( Holland, in particular)

Happy to be back, she is 29, single, drives herself wherever she wants to go, day or night, and tells me she feels much safer here, than she did in Holland.

She is a schoolteacher, and says the degree of hooliganism, and aggression, on the part of young people she saw in Europe far exceeds anything she has ever seen at home, in South Africa.

Please follow the link below,read the thread, and pay particular attention to post #8.

Your daughter will have an amazing experience in our amazing country, and probably learn about how good our veterinary training is, compared to other countries ( as good, or better, than anywhere!! )

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g312578-i9273-k599…

Regards

Gavin

PS, I am not a vet!

South Africa
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2. Re: Student safety in Onderstepoort/Pretoria

Why did she feel not safe in Holland Gavin??

Hazyview, South...
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3. Re: Student safety in Onderstepoort/Pretoria

could that perhaps be your answer poster No.2???

.....<She is a schoolteacher, and says the degree of hooliganism, and aggression, on the part of young people she saw in Europe far exceeds anything she has ever seen at home, in South Africa>.....

Klaus

Owner Abangane-

Hazyview

Pretoria, SA
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4. Re: Student safety in Onderstepoort/Pretoria

That is the vet campus I believe and is out in Pretoria North. The main campus is in Hatfield (where I work). Being over on that side of town away from the main student area, having no driving license will I believe be a hindrance. A fair number of students will club together if they cannot afford their own vehicle and purchase one between say three or four to car share. I do not know that area well however.

Being a white female in Pretoria in nomore of a risk than anywhere else, you just get a lot of people asking you where you are from when a non-afrikaans accent comes out of your mouth.

I am an expat in SA from the UK. We have been here for 5 years and love it.

Johannesburg, South...
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5. Re: Student safety in Onderstepoort/Pretoria

Hi

She will need a drivers licence and if you can afford it a car. It will be incredibly limiting for her without one and you can't always rely on friends or public transport.

I would recommend sending her for a basic self defence course for your and her peace of mind, and if you have the time and money a defensive driving course. If she is not a confident driver then she will struggle with South African driving. So just make sure she is prepared.

Having said this Pretoria is a great place to study (I work and study here) and she should just take the usual precautions you would take anywhere.

Cheers

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6. Re: Student safety in Onderstepoort/Pretoria

If she is dfrom London she will find driving in Pretoria an absolute breeze - 10 times fewer cars than London too!

Pretoria, SA
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7. Re: Student safety in Onderstepoort/Pretoria

Not if she doesn't have a license in the UK. I passed my test just before coming out from the UK and the difference between learning to drive and heading around town and on the motorways in the UK to negotiating taxis and some awful drivers in Soth Africa (specifically driving through central Pretoria) is a large jump.

Leicester, United...
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8. Re: Student safety in Onderstepoort/Pretoria

I am also from the UK and moved here 3 weeks ago to work at Onderstepoort. I also heard all the horror stories before I came. Howevere, as long as you are careful I don't think the risks are that high. The campus itself is safe but there is not much here in terms of facilities ie no shops or restaurants etc. There are no public transpot links to the campus and local busses/taxis are definitely not safe so it would be very dificult without a car. Priavate hire taxis (called shuttles) are fine but are expensive and not widely used. The driving here is much more eratic than at home and the taxis especially can be very unpredicatable (driving tests are very basic!) so it might be a bit intimidating for an inexperienced driver, and second hand cars are much more expensive (you need to pay around 5000 quid for something half decent and safe!). Having said that there are plenty of good shops etc very close by so you don't need to drive far to get what you need. My wife moved here on here own in Feb and managed OK living in residences without a car before I came out too but it was a bit limiting. In terms of carjacking etc, it certainly does happen but by driving with the doors locked, keeping valuables out of sight and being aware of your surroundings you are very unlikely to be at risk. On the whole the main problem in Pretoria (vs Jo'burg) is petty crime rather than violent crime which tends to occur more in rough areas (just like at home). If you have any more questions I would be happy to answer them.

Johannesburg, South...
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9. Re: Student safety in Onderstepoort/Pretoria

I am a single white female living in RSA. I travel all over the place on my own at all times of day and night. The trick is - just be aware, be sensible - just like you would in any other country in the world. Have nothing showing on your seats, handbag and valuable in the boot/trunk, doors locked and you are fine. Local drivers can be a little hectic, and our local "taxi's" have a mind of their own, but you soon get used to it, and learn to just give them room and berth!

I honestly suggest getting a licence and a car. Not having transport is very limiting in RSA - unlike the UK where you often never need a car!

South Africans are friendly and helpful in general. Crime is generally blown out of proportion to the rest of of the world. Agree with the post above about perhaps doing a self-defence course, as well as readying up on some anti-hijack awareness tips, and general safetry tips (which you can apply just about anywhere in the world)

Pretoria, South...
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10. Re: Student safety in Onderstepoort/Pretoria

Hi MJS,

I live near Onderstepoort and I don't think she'll have any problem at all. The last two posters on this thread have given excellent advice based on personal experience, and I think they've provided a lot of peace of mind.

It is important that your daughter get a licence and a car (a UK licence is fine). Yes, some of our drivers are a little intimidating, but the routes your daughter can use between campuses and generally are pretty safe and easy to use. There are freeways connecting the two parts of Pretoria and she should experience no problems at all.

I'm not sure about the advice regarding a self-defence course being a necessary recommendation for coming here, specifically - maybe it should be a recommendation for all travellers everywhere.