Top safety tips for exploring Cape Town’s neighbourhoods, surroundings & destinations
Is Cape Town safe is undoubtedly one of the most frequently asked questions amongst tourists and avid travellers eager to visit the Mother City. How safe is Cape Town really? How safe is it to explore the city as a solo traveller? Where are the no-go zones and which neighbourhoods should you avoid at night? What important safety tips and need-to-know information should you keep in mind when you decide to take to the Cape Town city streets & venture out & about to discover, explore, and experience all the countless landmarks, attractions, natural gems, culinary hotspots, cool cafés, trendy coffee shops, vibrant markets, beautiful beaches, stunning parks, amazing array of shops & beachfront spots, must-visit museums & historical sites, and not-to-be-missed destinations (to mention merely a few) the glorious & wildly diverse city of Cape Town has to offer? These are all valid questions. So, lets address them!
First and foremost, Cape Town is a safe place for travellers & tourists to visit. Every year approximately 1.8 million travellers will be able to tell you the exact same thing.
Known as one of the most beautiful, vibrant, exciting, captivating, and culturally diverse cities in the world, Cape Town has loudly and proudly established itself as one of the top travel destinations in the world for tourists, travellers, adventurers, and avid holiday-goers from around the globe – and it certainly isn’t hard to understand why! Beyond its unapologetic natural beauty & highly sought after travel destination status, Cape Town is a major, modern cosmopolitan South African city and, as such, travellers are advised to exercise the same level of vigilance they would when visiting any other major city in the world.
When it comes to safety & touring & exploring the breathtaking and lively city of Cape Town and everything it has to offer – all of which are bound to exceed your every expectation – it is absolutely NO different to touring, discovering, and exploring any other major city anywhere else in the world. In fact, the only difference is the location & co-ordinates on the world map. With that being said, irrespective of which global travel & tourist destination you choose to visit on your next trip or travel adventure, whether it be the exciting and extraordinary city of Cape Town or not, it is ALWAYS important to keep your wits about you and to constantly be / remain aware and vigilant of your surroundings regardless of the destination or location you choose to travel to, visit, and explore.
Here are a few helpful safety tips, need-to-know information & important factors to keep in mind when visiting and exploring Cape Town and all its countless unique & diverse neighbourhoods, iconic landmarks, amazing attractions, stunning surroundings, and widely sought-after destinations. This will ensure that your Cape Town trip, blissful & breathtaking breakaway, action-packed getaway, fun-filled family holiday, thrilling solo travel adventure, romantic escape, wonderful Cape Winelands weekend away, and bucket-list worthy travel experience is every bit as safe, enjoyable, stress-free, exiting (in ALL the best ways of course), and unforgettable as you can and / or could ever imagine it to be.
Here is a list of easy, essential, no-nonsense Cape Town safety tips for travellers & tourists:
**At the end of the day these Cape Town safety tips are the same ones you should use when visiting any popular city in the world; if you practice general street smarts, you’ll never have cause to feel unsafe.
#Always be aware of your surroundings:
With a city as beautiful and unique as Cape Town, it’s easy to get distracted by its beauty, stunning surroundings, world-renowned landmarks, sought-after attractions, breathtaking beaches, majestic mountains, pristine natural gems, thriving & flourishing cityscape, and vibrant energy. However, it is absolutely essential to always be aware of your surroundings and what is happening around you regardless of the neighbourhood you choose to explore. Always trust your instincts and be vigilant of anything that seems out of the ordinary.
#Stay in a group:
As the age-old saying goes, there is safety and strength in numbers. And this age-old statement still stands true today. Regardless of whether you’re exploring your own neighbourhood or an entirely new city like Cape Town for the first time. That being said, it’s always better to explore Cape Town and all its vibrant and culturally diverse neighbourhoods, top attractions, and must-visit local spots in a group instead of walking the streets alone. We strongly advise you to not wander off on your own, especially into areas and neighbourhoods you’ve never been to before or seem unsafe. However, if you need to go somewhere alone, stick to busy areas during the day and share your location with a friend or family member.
But what if you’re a solo traveller? Travelling to and exploring an entirely new city on your own can be pretty daunting. But don’t worry, the city of Cape Town definitely has your back! Offering a variety of thrilling adventures and an exciting array of different tour options, you’ll be able to explore the Mother City like a real local with an incredible group of people from all around the world, and some locals too of course, with a knowledgeable and street-savvy local tour guide to lead you every step of the way. Thereby making it a great, and incredibly fun & exciting, way to explore and experience everything the lively and diverse city of Cape Town has to offer without having to worry about your own safety when exploring it on your own. Plus, you get to meet some REALLY cool people too! And there truly is nothing quite as rewarding as meeting fellow travellers, explorers, adventurers, and like-minded people from around the world. Some of which may even become life-long friends, how incredible is that?
#During both the day and night it is important to stay clear of dark and isolated areas and stick to exploring well-lit and busy streets (especially at night). If the neighbourhoods seem busy with plenty of people around, stick to those areas. Above all, we FIRMLY advise you to stay on the main streets, avoid any suspect side roads, or dubious shortcuts. If you’re an eager & curious explorer by nature, we STRONGLY urge you to resist the urge to wander off the beaten path into dark ‘dodgy’ areas that don’t seem safe – Don’t you dare risk it – that’s an order! It is also important that you avoid any and all townships at night.
#When exploring Cape Town on foot, make sure you ONLY take the essentials along. Exploring Cape Town on foot is one incredible adventure filled with tons of beauty and excitement, BUT that doesn’t mean you need to take all your worldly possessions along for the ride. It’s therefore important to plan your trip / route carefully and take ONLY what you need And better yet, join a tour group or connect with some fellow solo travellers. That way you can have each-others backs and make sure your belongings are kept safe. All while having tons of fun and an incredible time exploring the most beautiful and exciting city in the world!
#Important Outdoor Safety Tips:
- Don’t flaunt your wealth, conceal your cameras, mobiles, laptops, wallets and any and all expensive accessories you may have and don’t carry large amounts of cash with you.
- Make sure you zip up your bags and put a lock on it if possible. Ladies, make sure to keep a firm hold on your handbags. If possible, make use of a cross-body bag. Not only are they great for walking around and exploring but all of your valuables are kept close to you and it’s not easy to grab.
- Always be wary of opportunistic pick-pocketers when walking on busy streets or in crowds.
- Park as close to your destination as possible when driving.
- If you are approached by a vagrant, give them food rather than money, however you are not obliged to give them anything.
- When exploring Cape Town’s renowned landmarks, attractions, and sought-after hotspots, it is important to take note of the specific opening and closing times of these popular tourist spots to avoid being stranded.
#If you’re lost, confused or uncertain of your current surroundings, feel free to ask a friendly local, welcoming shopkeeper, information centre, police officer or security guard present in your vicinity. They will be happy to assist you with directions and what the best and safest way is to reach your desired destination.
#HOWEVER, it is very important to be aware of the “friendly helper”. Many of those who look homeless, their help comes with a price at times. And although they may seem to have the best of intentions, it unfortunately doesn’t always work out in your favour. It is therefore best to avoid seeking help from anyone who may seem suspicious.
#Cape Town is home to an exciting nightlife scene filled with tons of sought-after bars, hip hangouts, cool rooftop spots, trendy clubs, and world-renowned restaurant. Each of which is worth every second of exploring & experiencing. If you however do decide to do a bit of night-time exploring, you most definitely need to take EXTRA precaution and be hyper vigilant of your surroundings as this is often the most vulnerable time. For this reason, going out with a group of people (as opposed to wandering the Cape Town city streets on your own) is highly advised. If you are planning a night out on the town, making use of reliable and safe transport methods like Uber is an absolute MUST – whatever you do, do not walk, especially if you are intoxicated.
#Car Safety Tips:
- Keep your car doors locked.
- As an extra precaution wind your windows up when in a stationary position.
- Put valuable items in the trunk and glove compartment.
- Don’t leave your GPS accessories or any valuable items in clear view when you are away from your car.
- Ensure rented cars are fully serviced and topped up on fuel.
- If you are lost, stop and ask for directions at the nearest fuel station.
- Be wary of loiterers at traffic lights.
- Park in secure parking lots or where car attendants are present (remember to tip them only once you have returned to your).
- Manually check your doors are locked – it never hursts to double-check!
- Keep enough distance between your car and the one in front to enable you to change lanes and drive away in a hurry.
- Don’t give lifts to strangers.
- Look around before entering your driveway.
- Never open your window when approached by a stranger.
- If you think you are being followed drive to a busy place or a police station.
- After you’ve parked your car, make sure it is properly locked before you walk away, to ensure you don’t become a victim of thieves who use “remote jamming” devices.
#Are Cape Town’s Hotel or Accommodation establishments safe?
Cape Town offers a range of tourism accommodation options catering to all markets. These include luxury hotels, budget establishments, guesthouses, and Airbnb accommodation. Tourism is one of the major industries of Cape Town and the Western Cape. As such, formal tourism establishments largely take the safety and comfort of their guests very seriously.
When deciding on an accommodation option, use the same vigilance you would when selecting accommodation elsewhere in the world. Should you be concerned about the property’s safety measures or the location of the property, do not hesitate to contact them for further details, check whether they are a member of a tourism association or organisation and make your enquiries there.
#Cape Town #ComeIn Safety initiative
In order to ensure the safety of each & every local, tourist, and traveller visiting the Mother City, the incredible city of Cape Town has recently launched an amazing initiative called the ‘Come In’ policy – #ComeIn. This remarkable initiative enables several of Cape Town’s top restaurants, cafés, coffee shops, and destinations to offer and provide any and all locals, tourists, and travellers who may be feeling unsafe, uncomfortable, uneasy, on-edge or vulnerable at any point in time with a safe, secure, soothing, and comfortable space and environment where they can feel fully protected and completely safe & secure from any potential danger.
Among these Cape Town restaurants is the Raptor Room, La Mouette (a restaurant in Sea Point), Upper Bloem Restaurant (Green Point), Obi Restaurant (Long Street), Toscanna (apizzeria in Claremont) and Den Anker (a sought-after restaurant in the V&A Waterfront). This brilliant initiative has in turn led to countless other Cape Town establishments following suit. It truly is beyond remarkable!
So, how exactly does the process work? Simply put, if there is ever a time, location, or encounter that makes you feel unsafe, uneasy, or even slightly uncomfortable, regardless of the situation or surrounding circumstances, all you need to do is ‘Come In’ t any of these above-mentioned establishments. You don’t need to buy anything. In addition, if you need to walk to your car alone, they will even accompany you right to your car door to ensure you are safe and sound. How incredible is that? It’s just another one of those beyond extraordinary and empowering initiatives where Capetonians are uniting and standing together to ensure everyone who visits our beloved city of Cape Town feels safe & supported at all times.
#Extra Safety tips:
- Heed the advice of your hosts, Visitor Centre staff, or locals on where to go after dusk.
- Never allow strangers to assist you in any way at ATMs or cash points.
- Street children and beggars may approach you for a handout. If you wish to help, consider giving food, donating to a registered charity.
- Keep copies of all valuable documents in a safe place.
- When exploring Table Mountain National Park, take a map, comfortable walking shoes, a few friends, and a charged mobile phone.
- When hiking, be prepared for weather that can change rapidly, even in summer. Bring along enough water and sunblock, as well as something warm to wear. Start heading back well before dark and don’t venture away from the demarcated paths. Tell a friend or your host where you are going and when you expect to be back.
- Load the Table Mountain National Park emergency number 0861 106 417 into your mobile phone before departing on a hike. Emergency Services run a Visitor Support Programme to assist you, should you be involved in any incident during your stay.
- Emergencies from a mobile: 112
- Emergencies from a landline: 107
- South African Police Service: 10111
- Medical & Fire Emergencies: 021 535 1100
- Table Mountain NP Emergencies: 021 480 7700
- Sea & Mountain Rescue: 021 948 9900
- National Sea Rescue Institute: 082 911
- Baboon Monitors: 071 588 6540Shark Spotters: 078 174 4244
- Ambulance: 10177
For the overwhelming majority of foreign visitors to the Western Cape, a visit to Cape Town and the Western Cape was a positive and memorable experience. Cape Town is frequently cited as among the world’s best holiday destinations and has a high return visitor rate, proving that those who visit our destination once, fall in love with it, and want to discover it again.