Is Johannesburg Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Johannesburg, requires extra vigilance for solo female travelers. Although many visitors have enjoyable, incident-free stays, crime is a notable concern, particularly in certain districts after dark. It's vital to be aware of your surroundings, avoid displaying valuables, and use reputable means of transportation. Strive to stay in well-populated areas. As always, researching local customs and regulations can further improve safety.

Safety rating

2.9 /5

Based on 6 experiences

2.5 /5

Based on research and crime data

Safety overview

Safety at night:Unsafe

Johannesburg has vibrant nightlife with world-class restaurants and bars, yet it is advisable to be cautious when venturing out alone at night. Certain neighborhoods can be particularly risky and it might not always be safe to walk alone, especially in isolated areas. Prefer using a reliable taxi service or go with a locally known group. Always stay vigilant about your surroundings and avoid flashing expensive belongings. South Africa, in general, has high crime rates, and Johannesburg is no exception. However, many travelers also have safe, enjoyable visits with proper precautions. It is recommended to research what areas to avoid and always trust your instincts. Remember that safety can vary greatly from neighborhood to neighborhood in any city, Johannesburg included.

Public transportation: Unsafe

While Johannesburg does offer a range of public transportation options like taxis, buses, and the Gautrain, it brooks some caution. Commuting at night on your own can pose a safety risk. Taxis are a common choice but you should get to know the varying types of taxis, as minibus rides can be chaotic and sometimes dangerous due to reckless driving. The Gautrain and its buses are safe and efficient, but their routes are limited. It's advisable to avoid quiet, empty stations and always keep an eye on your belongings.

Street harassment: High

Johannesburg, as a major metropolis in South Africa, comes with its share of safety concerns. Street harassment can be an issue for solo female travelers, which may come in different forms such as catcalling, unsolicited comments, or more aggressive forms of harassment. Particularly areas like downtown Johannesburg, Yeoville, Berea, Hillbrow, and Observatory are known for higher levels of street crime. Always be aware of your surroundings and try to blend in as much as possible. Use a reliable taxi service, especially for late-night movements. Though most locals are genuinely friendly and helpful, it's always good to maintain a cautious approach.

Petty crimes:High

Johannesburg does have a reputation for petty crimes such as pickpocketing, purse snatching, and theft from cars. These crimes are mainly conducted by individuals or small groups, often in busy areas such as markets or public transport hubs where travelers can be easily targeted. It's essential to remain vigilant, keep personal belongings close, not to display expensive items, and be cautious of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas.

Tap water:Moderate

Tap water in Johannesburg can be generally safe to drink because it undergoes treatment in line with international standards. However, the safety can greatly fluctuate based on specific location and time due to potential issues with infrastructure and contamination. It is suggested to check with local sources or to boil water as a precaution. It’s also recommended to rely on bottled water, especially for individuals with sensitive stomachs.

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Travel experiences

Overall rating

3.7 /5

based on 6 experiences

Rating summary

Things to do

4.1/5

Safety

2.9/5

Food

4.1/5

Budget-friendly

4.3/5

Solo travel experience

I advise against going to Johannesburg solo - it's best to get around with locals. Ubers are safe, but avoid walking alone in the city.

Posted: November 6, 2023
Things to do: 5/5Food: 5/5Budget-friendly: 5/5Safety: 3/5
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Solo travel experience

I stayed in a hostel where the local staff clearly explained where it's safe, where you can go to the store, and where you absolutely shouldn't go. From my own experience, I can recommend the Apartheid Museum and Soweto. In Soweto, there's Mandela's museum and the street where he lived. Overall, I head good time but it's best if you have someone on the spot who can tell you what's safe and what's not.

Posted: November 4, 2023
Things to do: 4/5Food: 4/5Budget-friendly: 4/5Safety: 4/5
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Solo travel experience

I've been to Johannesburg as a solo traveler for 3 days. I joined two tours from AirBnB Experiences (Maboneng and Soweto) and loved them both. I recommend taking Uber directly from the hotel and not bringing valuables out of the hotel. I stayed in Rosebank and felt safe.

Posted: October 12, 2023
Things to do: 5/5Food: 5/5Budget-friendly: 5/5Safety: 4/5
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Solo travel experience

I traveled solo in Johannesburg but stayed in gated hostels and took a local guide to see the city center and then a bike tour of Soweto where the driver picked me up from my hostel and also took me to the Museum of Apartheid. Highly recommend visiting Kruger Park. I quite liked Johannesburg but I was ultra careful and picked a hostel with a bar and cafe so I had no need to go out at night.

Posted: October 12, 2023
Things to do: 5/5Food: 5/5Budget-friendly: 5/5Safety: 4/5
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Solo travel experience

I spent 6 weeks in South Africa traveling solo and loved it. Lots of history and great neighborhoods to explore. The craft markets are great too. I recommend taking the Hop On and Off bus to orient yourself. Some areas are better to walk around in, and in some, I used Uber or the Gautrain. Transport is easy, plus most places are walkable. Safety-wise, ask the locals to guide you on where it’s safe to walk alone (sometimes daytime only).

Posted: July 26, 2023
Things to do: 5/5Food: 5/5Budget-friendly: 5/5Safety: 4/5
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Group travel experience

I was there in May. Stayed very close to O. R. Tambo International Airport and it was safe. However, we did very few trips out of Johannesburg, even the locals told us it is not very safe. We went to Durban with a Taxi for the day.

Posted: July 23, 2023
Things to do: 4/5Food: 4/5Budget-friendly: 5/5Safety: 3/5
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Local experiences

The vast city, without public transportation, and where you need a car to get around everywhere, is not like Europe, where you can walk everywhere. Uber saves the day there - it's safe, the cars are super clean, and the service is courteous and affordable. I recommend visiting the Apartheid Museum - it's a must-see for every person. This city has a very dynamic pulse, great clubs, fantastic restaurants, and excellent services.

Posted: November 2, 2023
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Sandton is the safest area to be, still not 100% safe so when you are out make sure that you are aware of your surroundings. Please do not go anywhere near Johannesburg Central Business District as it is very dangerous there. There are plenty of good places, restaurants, and clubs around Sandton. Definitely do not stay in a hostel, staying in a hotel it’s much safer.

Posted: October 10, 2023
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Meet locals in Johannesburg

Mia

Mia

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About Me

I am a student who’s saving up to hopefully travel someday!

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Kerryn

Kerryn

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About Me

Hi my names Kerryn. I currently traveling france. I have a bubbly personality and welcoming to all. I work hard and always ready to learn new skills. I love getting to know new people and Sharing stories and experiences.

Countries I’ve Visited

🇧🇼 Botswana, 🇲🇿 Mozambique, 🇿🇦 South Africa, 🇿🇼 Zimbabwe, 🇿🇲 Zambia, 🇫🇷 France

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Stay with locals in Johannesburg

Tamsin

Tamsin

Speaking

You can stay for:

7 days

About me

I’m new to couch surfing and in Europe on vacation! I love everything fun from hiking to partying, to chilling and listening to music. I would love to share music and learn about your views on life. I will be very happy for you to share your hobbies and interests with me. I can cook up a storm! I love to cook for my friends and family. I would be very happy to share my love of food with you.

Countries I’ve Visited

🇫🇷 France, 🇬🇷 Greece, 🇳🇦 Namibia, 🇲🇿 Mozambique, 🇲🇺 Mauritius, 🇳🇱 Netherlands

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Tumi

Tumi

Speaking

You can stay for:

3 days

About me

My name is Tumi, pronounced as “To Me”

Countries I’ve Visited

🇧🇼 Botswana, 🇩🇪 Germany, 🇰🇪 Kenya, 🇱🇸 Lesotho, 🇲🇺 Mauritius, 🇲🇿 Mozambique, 🇿🇼 Zimbabwe, 🇿🇲 Zambia, 🇹🇫 French Southern Territories

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Precious

Precious

You can stay for:

7 days

About me

Hey!, My name is Precious and I live in Johannesburg

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Safety in South Africa