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Safety when walking

In cooperation with: Cape Town Tourism
London
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Safety when walking

Me and partner (both in our 50s) were intending to spend 2 weeks doing Cape Town - Route 62 - Garden Route starting mid-March. Now my partner is getting worried about the safety angle, so I'd be grateful for any input. Although we'll be driving from place to place we want to spend most of our hols hiking together (without a guide) in the various wildernesses/hiking trails/beaches. Can someone give us an idea of how safe this might be in terms of crime? Places we were going to go: De Hoop Nature Reserve, Storms River Mouth, Plett and Victoria bay and Bontebok National Park. We were also going to spending time at Addo and Amakhala game reserves. Obviously you can't go walking around there by yourself in case a lion grabs you, but are there hikes outside the parks? Thanks for any tips.

Toronto, Canada
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1. Re: Safety when walking

I haven't been back since I was a little girl (I'm born in Cape Town).. I've asked similar questions to people who are living there now (on this discussion board) and it is so subjective. My mother will tell me that I'm crazy to even suggest doing things like hikes on deserted trails etc because random killings/muggings (violent crime) is, unfortunately, a common occurance. When I asked my dad if I could go to a secluded beach, his response was "sure". Other people, I guess in order to stay sane, will say these things are blown out of proportion and that South Africa is just as safe as any other country (which is BS... every single one of my relatives/friends has been held at gun point at least once in SA, unfortunately... This hasn't happened to me at all in Canada nor to any of my family/friends in Canada/US or Australia).

As i haven't been back for many years, I probably have no right to really express an opinion, but I would honestly -- taking into account that SA has a very high crime rate with many problems, not to do activities one would do in places such as Hawaii or... Toronto or whatever. Johannesburg is the second most dangerous city behind Baghdad.

Sorry if I have offended anyone... I'm just regurgitating what I've been hearing from my family, all of whom have lived/still continue to live in SA (Cape Town or Jo'Burg).

scotland
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2. Re: Safety when walking

we have just come back from 2 weeks in sa,1 week in capetown .and 4 nights in joburg .i felt safer ,than i thought i would.although ,my daughters room in the backpackers in capetown got broken into,and stuff stolen.i wouldnt go out in aberdeen after dark,its relative.so go ,but take normal precautions...

cape town
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3. Re: Safety when walking

I would not suggest you go hiking without a guide - definitely not. Driving around and going to Storms River and Plett etc no problem but you need someone to either go with you or for someone to know where youre going. You must come to cape town - its fine and just be careful - there is crime everywhere in the world. Just dont take chances.

Cape Town Central...
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4. Re: Safety when walking

Firstly, to TorontoJr, Sorry, but you have offended many of us with your comments - especially as you haven't been back since a little girl, so its all on hearsay and believe me, sensationalism is rather rife obviously. You paint an extremely, and in fact, completely untrue picture of South Africa. We can all make comments about other countries based on hearsay. Frankly I find it irresponsible and naive.

I am a born and bred South African, and the worst that has happened to me is that my car radio was stolen (left CT when I was 23) so haven't been in a small town all my life. There are so many posts on this, I won't go on except to say:

You will be perfectly safe on the garden route, and in Cape Town if you stick to the tourist routes. You can safely hike in all areas of the gardenroute - make sure you know where you are hiking; that is your biggest concern that you take precautions with regards to maps, staying on trails and enough water & warm clothing should the weather turn. Just the same as any hiking route in the world. I am not sure on hikes outside parks, but some parks have walk-in safaris where you will be with armed rangers. I would advise you book areas that have specific hiking trails and go from there eg Knysna forest, wilderness kingfisher trail, swartberg mountains, Titsikamma Nature Reserve. There have been some security issues on the Cape Town mountains, but these are rare in comparison to numbers hiking.

You will be fine, don't worry. You will leave at the end of the holiday with a grin like a cheshire cat!

Toronto, Canada
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5. Re: Safety when walking

Little Karoo..

My family owns an apartment in Sea Point and while I, personally, have chosen not to go back in a while.. My family returns at least once a year.

I was being honest... unfortunately, violent crime has impacted on my family as a result of living in SA (Joburg more than Cape Town) but it is actually naive to think that South Africa is as safe as Canada, because it is not. It is a country which has its issues, just like any other country -- I love SA (and I'm not shy to tell people I'm from South Africa) -- and my mother (born and raised in Cape Town) is a bit over-the-top in her fear, but going to a city where I can't even wear a necklace because it has a dimaond, isn't what I'd say constitutes as a safe place.

Cape Town
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6. Re: Safety when walking

A few points on the posts from our Canadian "Friend" :

1. There are no hiking trails in the middle of Johannesburg or even in some of the more dangerous suburbs.

2. Hundreds of Thousands ( I repeat Hundreds of Thousands) of South African and Tourists go hiking in National Parks and other specified Hiking Trails every single weekend. The number of crimes ON THESE TRAILS is probably at a similar level to Hiking Trails in Canada, the US or UK.

3. No one has said there are not high levels of crime in South Africa. But what those of us who live here say very strongly is that levels of Tourist crime in Cape Town are significantly lower than those in cities such as London, Rome, Naples and Barcelona - and who knows even Totonto if any tourists ever bothered to go there ( the only time I was ever there is was -15deg and I left as soon as I could!)

4. Please don't post hearsay on this forum. It is for interaction between people visiting our country and people who live here. As you admit you haven't been here since you were a little girl. If your relatives who live in Sea Point have experiences that they would like to share about the risks of hiking in our National Parks (or even safety in Sea Point) please contact them and ask them to become contributors on this forum.

5. Listen to your Father!

PS I am not posting this "Just to stay sane"!!

Somerset
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7. Re: Safety when walking

I can only speak as a tourist who spends a month every year travelling all over South Africa in a rented car. Of course there is crime in SA, just as there is in every country. Yes we take reasonable precautions but none of them restrict our travel and enjoyment. We have never had a moments worry over safety.I have stayed in Sea Point on several occasions, no problem. With all due respect to Torontob to even compare Johannesburg with Bahgdad is quite ludicrous and to think that Johannesburg is more dangerous than any number of cities - Kabul, Gaza City a range of African and South American cities, too numerous to list is equally ludicrous. Please, let us stay sensible and realistic and offer commonsense advice based on our own experiences.

Toronto, Canada
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8. Re: Safety when walking

1) THere are hiking trails in Cape Town. I was born in Cape Town.. I can't speak for Jo'Burg, though my husband is from Vereeniging.

2) Yes, the weather in toronto is crappy in the winter. I hate it, but i'd rather be safe and happy here and have a fantastic life and not have to worry about whether I'll have a leader like Zuma make life even more difficult for me, for instance.

3)It's sad that you can't admit that there is a serious problem with regards to crime in South Africa. I'm actually really astounded.

4) I left South Africa in the 90's, so I was a little girl. I'm now in my early 20's (incase you assumed I left in the 70's or something). I still have grandparents, cousins etc. there. My roots are South African -- 100%.

5) I will talk to my family and friends living here (all South Africans for the most part). Maybe they are deranged, though it's incredibly unlikely. In fact, many South Africans don't go to the police when something does happen because the police are not that helpful.

Secondly, I do sincerely apologize if anyone has been offended by my bluntness. I'm sure there are South Africans on tihs message board who agree with me. Btw, I'm not discouraging anyone from visiting SA. Cape Town is truly THE most beautiful place in the entire world -- but to live there is different than being a tourist, which is why my family left. Otherwise, we would have remained.

Vancouver Island
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9. Re: Safety when walking

I am no expert on hiking trails but as a Canadian who has had the pleasure of visiting South Africa 3 times now in the past 5 years, I can say that my husband and I have never had any experience that I could even remotely say felt threatening in Cape Town or any of the more rural areas we have visited in the greater Kruger area. I do not wear a lot of jewellery but I even took, and wore, more than I normally wear at home on our trip this past December because we were attending our son's wedding and I had no problem nor did I feel in any danger.

Our son has lived in Cape Town for 6 years and has married someone who is born and raised there. Yes, they have had experiences with crime but I honestly cannot say they are any different than they could have possibly experienced had they been here in Canada. Maybe I have a bias but I felt more threatened by the squeegie kids the last time I was, under duress, in Toronto than I have ever felt by the guys trying to sell me a bag of oranges at an intersection in Cape Town.

To the original poster, I'm sure you will probably be safer on hiking trails with a group or a guide but I think that may well be the case anywhere in the world, just from the point of understanding local weather conditions, etc. In terms of walking in Cape Town or other well-travelled areas, be just as vigilant as you would be anywhere else in the world and you will have a fabulous time. To miss out on the opportunity to experience South Africa and its wonderful people and scenery because of rumours would be an incredible waste.

cape town
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10. Re: Safety when walking

TorontoJr - no disrespect. You are still a little girl. Howcome there are so many s. africans returning to s. africa who left when there children were very little because they thought we would all be thrown into the sea. We are still here and we are one of the few countries that hasnt been severley hit by the credit crunch. So yes we do have crime but so do you in Toronto and all over the world. As so many of us who are born and bred capetonians and who still live here and have not fled say, be aware thats all.

What do you have in Toronto to look forward to when you wake up in the morning. I look out of my window and see the beautiful sea and the mountains so please dont put anyone off visiting our beautiful country. Its time you plucked up the courage to come home and see what you have been missing out on all these years.

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