Cities and urban areas: Safety precautions

How to limit dangers and annoyances

Please note: by reading the advice below you might get the wrong impression that the countries covered on SafariBookings are unsafe for travelling. In general, that is not the case. Outside of specific disturbances, often linked to political events which are rare and well publicized, the countries in our opinion can be considered safe. This is even more so the case if your visit is primarily an organized safari or tour – your safari operator is there to ensure your safety.

Please do remember though that this is general advice only. For cities with well-known crime problems, such as Johannesburg or Nairobi, you should be more strict.

The advice below will help further decrease the already small risks.

  • Don't wear valuables like jewelry, expensive watches or money belts visibly. Only carry the valuables you need for that day and leave everything else in the safety deposit box at your hotel, including your passport and bank cards.
  • Keep a small stash of cash at hand separately so you don't have to reveal where you keep the rest of your money when paying for small things on the street.
  • It's always safer to walk in a large, unfamiliar city with at least two or more people.
  • Don’t walk around at night; take a taxi.
  • When taking a taxi without a meter, always get information about the trip price up front, before you get in.
  • Try not to look too much like a typical tourist by wearing special safari clothing, openly carrying a guidebook, placing your camera around your neck, etc.
  • Reading a guidebook or looking at a map on a street often attracts unwanted attention.
  • Don't be afraid to be firm with people who sell things on the street. An effective approach is to look disinterested, say 'no' once or twice and ignore them after that.
  • Without being paranoid, be skeptical of people approaching you with a sad story that plays on your emotions. These stories usually aren't true and, in most cases, end in asking for money.
  • It is always good to be aware of your personal space – get used to knowing what people are around and behind you (again, without being too paranoid about it).
  • Be very careful when drawing money from an ATM. Go elsewhere if you suspect people hanging around. Don't let anybody help you or talk with you at the ATM. Always cover the number keys with one hand while entering your personal code with the other. In cities it is always good to go to an ATM with a friend so they can keep an eye on things while your back is turned.
  • When having a meal or a drink it’s good to get in the habit of tying your bag to your chair or secure it by putting the bag handle under a chair leg while sitting on the chair.
  • On public transport keep your bag within sight at all times.
  • When traveling with all your luggage and belongings, always carry your passport and bank cards on you using a money belt and make sure you wear it underneath your clothes, not visible to outsiders. This way, in case your bags get lost or stolen, you'll still have what's most important. Travelling this way is also recommended for domestic and international flights, since luggage can get lost.
  • Always lock your car doors and close windows when driving in busy towns. Never leave a car unattended with valuables or luggage visible. If somebody walks up to your car unexpectedly and wants to talk to you, stay in the car and open your window just enough to be able to communicate, but not far enough for them to put their hand in.
  • Ask the hotel if it is safe to walk around the local area – when new in a place it’s always good to seek local advice on safety issues.