Is South Africa Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

South Africa can be a challenging destination for solo female travelers due to concerns around crime. However, it's important to note that many visitors have safe trips. It is advisable to be vigilant, avoid isolated areas, particularly at night, and use secure transportation options. Moreover, staying in reputable accommodations and following the advice of local contacts and fellow travelers can seriously enhance your security. Take all the normal precautions you would in any other country.

Safety rating

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Safety index

Safety at night:Unsafe

South Africa, like any other country, does have areas which can be unsafe, especially during the night. It is advised not to walk alone after dark, particularly in secluded or less populated areas. It's a good idea to arrange for reliable transportation if you're out late. Always remain aware of your surroundings and take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety.

Public transportation:Unsafe

Public transportation in South Africa varies wildly. The Gautrain and buses in major cities tend to be reliable and safe. However, minibus taxis, which serve as the main form of transport for many locals, can often be quite hazardous due to reckless driving and overcrowding. It is recommended to use Uber or a well-known cab company where possible. Safety can also be influenced by time of day, it's generally safer to travel during daylight hours. Always maintain alertness, keep your belongings secure, and try not to travel alone late at night.

Street harassment:High

Street harassment can be an issue in South Africa. It's not uncommon for women, particularly solo travelers, to receive unwanted attention or comments in public places. Although these incidents are often non-violent, they can still be upsetting and intimidating. It's important to remain vigilant, avoid walking alone at night if possible, and to always be mindful of your surroundings. If you ever feel threatened, seek help from local authorities or a trustworthy local person.

Petty crimes:High

South Africa, particularly in its major cities like Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Pretoria, sees a rather high occurrence of petty crime. Muggings, pickpocketing, and purse snatching are common in busy and populated areas. While the authorities are certainly working towards decreasing the crime rate, it is advised that tourists stay vigilant, avoid displaying wealth openly, and be conscious of their belongings at all times.

Tap water:Moderate

Tap water in urban and developed areas of South Africa is generally regarded as safe and high-quality. It undergoes treatment to kill off harmful bacteria and other microbes making it safe for consumption. However, in rural or less developed regions it is less reliable and may be contaminated. So, it's best to consume bottled water in such areas. It would be wise to check water quality updates for your specific destination before your trip.

Is South Africa safe to travel?

3.2 /5

Based on 7 experiences

Haley

Haley

United States

Family travel experience

4 nights in Cape Town and 4 nights in Sabi Sands at Umkumbe Lodge We had a wonderful time overall! I would recommend flying directly to the skukuza airport near Kruger National Park and having your lodge pick you up. We opted to rent a car in Johannesburg and self-drive - this was a mistake. We did not feel safe and ended up getting lost. We pulled into a gas station and actually spoke with a private investigator who told us to turn around immediately and not stop for anything until we got to our destination. This was incredibly unnerving. There were a few other parts of the trip where we felt unsafe (as there were protests going on at the time we were there). We were warned by locals many times to never stop the car, always keep the windows and doors locked, only take premium Ubers, get back to the hotel before dark, etc. All things considered, I would not recommend a trip to Africa as a solo female traveler. But, if you have a travel buddy, I would definitely recommend it provided you are vigilant.

Posted: February 1, 2024
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Family travel experience

I traveled to South Africa with my sister. We visited Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban and had a great time there, we did not feel unsafe at all. We took part in a Hop On, Hop Off bus tour and we had a private guide in Cape Town, who was really charming.

Posted: July 30, 2023
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Solo travel experience

I went to South Africa in November of last year. I landed in Cape Town, and then I flew to Kruger National Park. The whole trip was absolutely amazing. I never felt in danger. It was so wonderful, and the people had the most beautiful souls.

Posted: July 26, 2023
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Solo travel experience

I travelled around the east coast for 5 weeks with a backpack. I really didn't stop in bigger cities, so I can speak for smaller places close to nature. It was beautiful there, I felt safe, nice people, good places to surf (really cheap lessons) and beautiful hostels that were quite inexpensive.

Posted: June 9, 2023
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Is South Africa safe for women?

Not safe for solo female travelers unfortunately. South Africa is beautiful so I would definitely recommended going but rather in a group and even then I would recommend being careful in all areas, even the “good” areas.

Posted: March 30, 2024
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Is South Africa safe right now?

Before your visit to South Africa, it's essential to check travel advisories for South Africa, including your home country's official travel advisory. These advisories can provide up-to-date information on safety, health, and any specific considerations for travelers.
🇺🇸

United States Travel AdvisoryExercise a high degree of caution

The United States Government advises exercising increased caution in South Africa due to crime and civil unrest. Check the full travel advisory.
Last updated: February 5, 2024
🇨🇦

Canada's Travel AdvisoryExercise a high degree of caution

The Canadian Government advises exercising a high degree of caution in South Africa due to the significant level of serious crime. Check the full travel advisory.
Last updated: March 13, 2024
🇦🇺

Australia's Travel AdvisoryExercise a high degree of caution

The Australian Government advises exercising a high degree of caution in South Africa due to the threat of violent crime. Check the full travel advisory.
Last updated: February 21, 2024

Is South Africa worth visiting?

Overall rating

4.2 /5

based on 7 experiences

Rating summary

Things to do

4.6/5

Safety

3.2/5

Food

4.6/5

Budget-friendly

3.6/5

Solo travel experience

I had a personal tour guide that brought me to Kruger National Park to experience the safari and Cape Town for sightseeing. It was a fulfilling introduction of the country. I am definitely going back for more!

Posted: December 28, 2023
Things to do: 5/5Food: 5/5Budget-friendly: 3/5Safety: 4/5
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Family travel experience

A few years ago, I went with my family to South Africa on the Rainbow Route! It was incredible and our guides took great care of us. I was with my family, but there were also women traveling alone. The bus was small, so we got to know everyone very well!

Posted: November 10, 2022
Things to do: 5/5Food: 5/5Budget-friendly: 4/5Safety: 4/5
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hi i’m nina! i love travelling, making memories and adventures. i would love to meet up with other travelers and form long lasting friendships. i’m outgoing, funny and i’m super excited to see the world. i’m looking to meet up with people who are willing to live life like they are the main character in everyone’s story

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Safety in South Africa