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UK Establishments KEEP making you feel South Africa unsafe

London
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UK Establishments KEEP making you feel South Africa unsafe

Finalising things for our trip in 2 weeks and I contact my banks to make them aware I will be using cards abroad. Both national establishments said "please take extra care with your cards we had unprecedented reports of stolen cards over the last 6 months so please take even more caution in South Africa than you have in the past"

No wonder you see so many safety questions here!

Also when in a store buying an adaptor even the assistant piped up " be careful if you are driving there they are total lunatics on the road only 40% have genuine licences, true Mate I lived there for a few years"

This has never happened to me travelling anywhere else, even last year in Kenya!!! Grrhhhh of course the Mrs in panic overdrive again!

Cape Town
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1. Re: UK Establishments KEEP making you feel South Africa unsafe

Just read the comments on the forum from people who have visited South Africa and i am sure you will be re-assured.

Mark September

Small World Tours

Newcastle upon...
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2. Re: UK Establishments KEEP making you feel South Africa unsafe

While I can understand your concerns as we had similar thoughtgs ,though not quite as bad. before we visited for the first time what I can tell you is I think the safety issue is overplayed in south africa.

We have visited 3 times and plan to visit lots more and have never had the slighest thing happen to alarm us. The driving is easier than in the UK and if you just follow the guidelines and use common sense you will be fine so my advice is dont worry and enjoy the experience.

Stanley, Falkland...
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3. Re: UK Establishments KEEP making you feel South Africa unsafe

Yep - its a nightmare, right enough.

Not like the UK, where no credit cards are ever stolen and there are no road accidents.

Paris, France
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4. Re: UK Establishments KEEP making you feel South Africa unsafe

My advice would be, as in anywhere else in the world, never let anyone take your credit card away for a transaction - this is where a lot of the fraud occurs in SA. The roads are very easy to drive on and, again as in other countries, you do have some bad driving. You will have a wonderful holiday and once experienced the 'Mrs' will be wanting to go back again and again to repeat the best holiday she ever had! We do every year and am now busy planning our 6 weeks in February.

Edited: 03 September 2010, 09:43
London
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5. Re: UK Establishments KEEP making you feel South Africa unsafe

Not that many replies are tinged with sarcasm but I dont think the snappy retort of PeterScot is required. Travel takes more thought now that I have a disabled wife but by the same token we have been determined not to let certain problems hinder us in being able to fulfill ambitions.

Not everyone is fortunate to jet around the world with frequency and some of those who save and plan for an occasional special holiday are often lacking in info and turn to these pages for help and useful assistance and in most cases i see that is what most contributors do patiently and with great knowledge and many 1000's like me thank them for their time and effort.

We all know there is major crime everywhere especially in the UK now but what people must remember is that when on holiday away from home some problems become magnified as the ease of contact/support you are used to is not there especially as you get on in years. I never thought in my teenage years hitching round India that I would ever be concerned about issues that are raised now.

My post was stating mainly that there still remains this attitude that South Africa is so dangerous for some reason hence the post title. It can only be the media in all its glory but Its the only country we have ever booked to travel in that seems to raise the instant "Oh dear will you be safe" reaction at almost every instance.

I must admit the place I have travelled to where I felt most ill at ease was Kingston in Jamaica so Im aware of other situations . Please dont be offended by peoples worries hopefully most of us will return having had a wonderful trip to add our voices to those praising the country.

Greater Sydney...
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6. Re: UK Establishments KEEP making you feel South Africa unsafe

Dear wobblytrav,

I am getting the same safety questions raised here in Aust when I mention travel to South Africa. We are in our early 60's, but still fairly able, and I have no concern whatsoever provided we do not wander into unsavoury areas as may be found in any country.

There was an inquiry on the Sydney forum very recently about safety, which the locals here gave similar advice to as the great posters so far on this thread, but then a fellow country-person of yours came on to say how unsafe Sydney was as she was groped around the breasts and her boyfriend punched in Sydney, so it was very unsafe. They were however in the nightclub/red light area of Sydney at 3am. I am sure that neither you nor I will be in that situation in South Africa, as I have never been in Sydney, nor ever would due to the drunkenness of patrons to that area.

We had all the "safety" issues regarding South Africa raised on the sensationalising quasi "current affairs" type TV programs here prior to the World Cup, as you probably also had there, but there has been nothing but positive feedback from those visiting.

So, my plan, take usual precautions the same as I would in any other country.

Stanley, Falkland...
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7. Re: UK Establishments KEEP making you feel South Africa unsafe

Dear wobbly,

I really couldn't work out if you were reporting other people's fears, or were looking for reassurance that South Africa is safe.

I wasn't being sarcastic - I was being ironic, although its irrelevant. My aim was to lighten the message, as I really get fed up seeing posts with 'safe' 'is' 'south' and 'africa' in the title.

Before the World Cup, there were hundreds of such posts and people were predicting hundreds of fans would be attacked for their wallets. And look what happened. Not one English fan hurt or robbed or murdered. It was probably safer than Germany!

Yes, it's right to be concerned and take precautions, but I wouldn't let others, who seem to know very little about the country, scare you .

"They are total lunatics on the road". I mean, does that sound likely? I'm not saying road accident stats aren't bad, but that comment is a bit over the top.

Enjoy your trip. It's a beautiful country.

Market Bosworth...
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8. Re: UK Establishments KEEP making you feel South Africa unsafe

wobblytrav I do have to agree with Peter, there are so many posts on here with people asking is it safe to go to SA are the roads dangerous etc etc. I will be honest I sometimes wonder why some people do post the same question as some one has 3 posts previously as they get the same answers as all the other previous posters have...

I have had my card cloned in the UK, I have been hit by idiot drivers in the UK in fact I have just got back from going to the Physio to help neck/shoulder pain from being hit by a numpty trying to cut someone else up and narrowly avoided being taken out by another idiot...

Now I live here so there is more chance of things happening to me in the UK by the law of averages but the whole time we were in SA no issues with saftey or driving.

Hope you and your wife have a wonderful trip!

Cape Town
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9. Re: UK Establishments KEEP making you feel South Africa unsafe

Hello again WT.

I have not responded on this thread because I hoped that I, and many others, had given enough reassurance for you, and your wife, in your previous posts on here about safety. I was hoping that the links we gave you to dozens of different posts, from people who had been here during the World Cup and over many years previously on Holiday, and had no problems whatsoever, might have allayed you fears. However now you bring up a couple of more points maybe I should add to the positive comments in this thread.

Firstly credit card crime, as others say, occurs increasingly all over the world. But then - “we had unprecedented reports of stolen cards over the last 6 months”. Did nobody tell him that in the past couple of months South Africa hosted the World Cup with half a million overseas football supporters all over the country! Football fans are not the people that I would think were most careful with their credit cards! Especially when drinking to celebrate their teams great victories. Or in England’s case trying to drown their team’s abysmal performances!

There is no doubt, in my mind, that the thousands of positive comments on the TA South Africa and World Cup forums should reassure you. Internet forums are notorious for attracting complaints and moaners. We get our share on here complaining about hotels, car hire, shark diving, the weather and all other subjects under the sun. However in over 100,000 individual posts on these forums I can only remember two in the past few years, where posters have been the actual victims of crime. One was an American couple who heard “someone moving around outside their chalet one night”. The next morning their daughters bathing costume which had been hung on the terrace outside the chalet was missing. Proved to them that the whole of the province of KwaZulu-Natal was a criminal hotbed! Secondly, and more serious, a lady from Wales was threatened abusively near the Waterfront in Cape Town. She ran away and while running tripped and dislocated her shoulder and ended up in hospital. Nothing was stolen although she was badly shaken up, the guy then picked up her sunglasses and said "Sorry".

I stress that out of tens of thousands of visitors posting on here these are the only two actual reports of crime that I can find!

So if this is the level of crime against tourists why does South Africa have this press vendetta against us?

There ARE issues with general crime in South Africa – although they are by no means unique in the world. In a young democracy still transitioning from a racially based police state, based on institutional violence and terror, this is probably inevitable. However this crime is very different from crime or terrorism specifically directed at tourists, in countries like Egypt, Indonesia and Colombia and theft and pickpocketing, specifically of tourists, in the cities of Italy and Spain. In South Africa the vast majority of crime is in parts of the community that you would never visit or have any involvement with. South Africa has a very high murder rate. But the huge majority of this violence is between family members and people well known to each other. So, if you and your wife are an good terms and you are not travelling with a big group of friends from home – you should be perfectly safe!

In fact the figures of crimes AGAINST TOURISTS are very low here. As I pointed out to you in one of your earlier threads the total number of tourists murdered in London over the past ten years has been nearly four times higher than the total from Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban combined. This is why people coming to the World Cup were astounded. After a constant diet from the British press (not just the tabloids) that many of them would be subject to violent crime – as peterscot points out – the crime rate during the World Cup was way lower than the 2006 tournament in Germany!

However every single crime against a tourist in South Africa is picked up by the UK press and splashed all over their pages as “proof” of what a terrible violent country South Africa is and why no-one in their right mind should think of going there. Of course the person who wrote the article certainly has never themselves been! If they can’t find crimes they just make them up! There is the notorious collaboration between the Daily Mail and a B list Irish TV actress last New Year who claimed she was shot at in Cape Town. Just because New Year was “Kill a Tourist Day”! Surprisingly this was not revealed until she returned to Ireland 10 days later and sold her story to the Daily Mail. This was quickly proven by the police to be a complete setup and an insurance scam and the whole case was quickly dropped. The Daily Mail, of course, never apologised. Less violent but just as much a set up was the Sunday Mirror’s “Fan in the England Dressing Room” scam during the World Cup. The journalist admitted the set up but claimed everything was fine in the course of “investigative journalism”!

Unfortunately, while journalism used to be a highly regarded profession in the UK, when you and I were younger, this is no longer so. I remember when the best graduates of the British Universities used to aim high for a junior position on the foreign desk of the Times or the Daily Telegraph (even the Daily Mail!). This is no longer so. Journalism is now a pursuit after sensationalism and the most blood curdling headlines – truth and well researched factual reporting has long gone out of the window. So South Africa’s high murder rate is immediately linked to tourists travelling to South Africa or the World Cup. Whether there is any relationship between them at all is immaterial – who wants to spoil a good headline!

Then South Africa makes a good story because – well, they are a lot like us! English is a major language which nearly everybody understands. We play cricket and rugby, tennis and golf – mostly quite well! A lot of the country seems a bit like Britain with the exception of the sunshine, the spectacular scenery and wildlife and the smiling faces! Much better to have South Africa as a demon rather than Cambodia, Afghanistan or Rwanda.

Then one more thing. The UK, alongside, Australia and Canada, has many expatriate South Africans. Many of these (by no means all) left South Africa in the early 1990’s when it seemed that “their way of life” was over. They spend large amounts of their time bad mouthing every single thing about this country. The South African News Internet Forums are full of their uncompromising hate on any and every topic.

Many a post on here starts – I plan to go on holiday to South Africa and a colleague at work / guy I met in a pub, who used to live there, said I would be crazy to do so. The posts never start - I plan to go on holiday to South Africa and someone who had just returned from holiday there, said I would be crazy to do so!!

So come and, as everybody else says, you will have a great holiday. Just don’t come in fear. If you are looking at every person you see as a potential mugger, rapist or murderer then you are simply frightened of fear itself. This a wonderful country - come and embrace it!

10. Re: UK Establishments KEEP making you feel South Africa unsafe

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