It’s certainly something to be envied if you’re going to be watching from your TV or computer, not only because of the wonderful football on offer, but also because of all of the attractions that South Africa has to offer as well.
However, one thing that shouldn’t be lost in the excitement of seeing the World Cup and a beautiful country is safety. That’s a topic that has received a lot of attention in the lead-up to the World Cup, and while some things may be, as one can expect when media is involved, overblown, there are some legitimate concerns for visitors.
There are a lot of safety tips that are common knowledge when it comes to travel, whether it’s to South Africa, South America, or South Beach, but here are some tips that will go a long way in ensuring that your trip to the World Cup is memorable for all of the right reasons.
Disclaimer: The purpose of this guide isn’t to make you paranoid about your trip or to spread any falsities about South Africa. It’s intended to help those visiting know what the most significant risks are and the measures that can be taken to try to make their stay as safe as possible.
Nothing can put a damper on a trip like getting sick, so here are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to helping you avoid any short or long term health issues.
– Get your vaccinations for typhoid fever and hepatitis A and B. They are a must.
– Malaria isn’t as serious of an issue as some might think, but it’s still important to take every precaution to ensure your chances of getting malaria are minimal.
– Always keep your hands clean, whether after you use the bathroom or before you eat. That goes without saying for anywhere these days, but there are plenty of people who need to be reminded.
– It might seem unnecessary or frivolous to mention, but it’s as important as any other item here.
If it so happens that you choose to use the services of one of South Africa’s ladies of the night (or day, as well) or happen to hit it off very, very well with a nice stranger, DO NOT ignore the need for protection.
South Africa is home to the world’s largest amount of AIDS patients, and nearly half of the country’s female prostitutes have the HIV virus. Don’t put your long-term health and well-being at risk for any reason. If you do, you might as well be playing Russian roulette.
TOURISM AND TRAVEL
There’s no shortage of attractions in South Africa, whether you’re a shopper, a foodie, or a sightseer. Here are some tips to help keep you safe while you’re out and about.
– When visiting cities, find out which areas you should avoid or not enter without a guide. Ask hotel personnel, call the local police station, or ask a few extra questions of your tour guides.
– On that note, get and keep the numbers that could come in handy in case of an emergency or in a pinch, from the hotel, to local law enforcement, to tourism/city information services.
– Carjacking is a serious issue in South Africa, so if driving, be careful, especially in remote areas. Keep your car doors and windows locked at all times, and do not leave valuables in plain view. If you have to stop for gas, don’t leave your door open or unlocked.
– If you need to stop and ask for directions, stop at a restaurant, gas station, store, or even call the hotel you‘re staying at to ensure that you‘re given proper directions. As friendly as people can be, you can’t trust everyone.
– If you are walking, keep your eyes open, and be aware of your bearings at all times. And if you’re in groups (which is a wise idea, even during the day), stay close together and make sure no one gets separated.
– Naturally, bigger cities have more trouble spots and higher crime numbers, so when in Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg, exercise the same caution as you would in most other big cities around the world.
– Heed the tips that will be listed below in regards to valuables.
– Limit the amount of actual cash that you have on you at all times.
– Don’t draw attention to yourself by openly having a large sum of money, extravagant jewelry (might be the one time that the wife won‘t get mad if you leave your wedding ring at home), or extravagant electronic equipment, or with talk about how much money you might have.
– Don’t hand out any personal information to strangers, and that could even go for where you’re staying or where you might be going. The right people will use that info for their good and your detriment.
– Don’t keep your valuables out in the open in your hotel room. Make sure that they’re stored away in a safe whenever you leave your room, even if it’s to leave your room for a half-hour.
– If using a credit card at a restaurant, ask for a portable credit card reader if you‘re paying at your table.
Also read: World Cup Safety Tips for Fans