Woman travel to Cape Town, South Africa

Woman travel to Cape Town, South Africa

Woman travel to Cape Town, South Africa

How safe is South Africa to travel solo as a female?

South Africa is an amazing, beautiful country with experiences to fit nearly any interest. Compared to much of the world it’s an easy place to travel. I don’t feel as though my life is limited or scary – I just feel lucky to be in a place where I can do so many spectacular hikes and drink so much great (and incredibly affordable) wine. I’ve had lots of people visit me here, both on their own and with others, and they have without exception had an amazing time. If you get to the point when you’re looking for recommendations on what to do, PM me and I’ll talk your ear off.

That said, it’s not Switzerland. As a traveler, you’ll have to take precautions that you might not in your home city (depending on where that is, of course). You can walk down some of the busy streets at night without worrying much, as long as you aren’t incapacitated by drink or drugs, but in general as a woman I don’t walk alone at night in places which are not familiar (and that includes places that *feel* safe. One of the things that’s hard for foreigners to recognize, at least in Cape Town, is that there are lots of beautiful and prosperous areas that feel safe from your frame of reference, but that doesn’t mean that that’s the case). Home invasions happen even in gated communities (in almost every case, you pretend to be asleep or otherwise make it clear that you aren’t going to inhibit the theft and you won’t be at risk of physical harm. Plus if you’re in a hotel this doesn’t apply). You should never drive down the street with your handbag on the passenger seat and the window down. To me, these are manageable risks that wouldn’t prevent me from visiting or recommending that my family and friends do so, but everyone has their own calculus.

No matter your personal security calculus, you should have very few worries about arriving, finding a place to stay, and joining up with a tour group the next day. I think you should totally do this trip, and, in order to be extra conscientious on the safety front, you should take these basic steps (many of which apply everywhere in the world, and most of which are moot if you’re with a tour group the whole time):

Keep your bag/possessions in a sheltered, visible place at all times.

Don’t get inebriated in public, unless you have a trusted car and driver waiting to take you home.

Don’t walk around with your fancy camera strapped across your chest. Avoid using high-end technology when you’re alone in unfamiliar/vulnerable places (street corners at night, sparsely populated stretches of road, things like that. You can pull out your camera all you want when you’re on safari or inside a restaurant or whatever).

Don’t walk alone at night. Try to stay in groups where possible during the day if you’re unfamiliar with the area.

This may be controversial, but don’t do a township tour/township voluntourism. Crime in these areas is a real concern, and poverty tourism isn’t cool. Find one of the many other ways to explore the different strands of South African society, and if you feel moved to help, find a good recipient of your money rather than volunteering to play basketball with kids for a couple hours in Khayelitsha.

If you stay in an airbnb, make sure it has basic security features – a gate or bars on ground floor windows, an alarm, things like that.

Uber is safe and affordable, so are the citibuses. The train to Muizenberg is nice on the weekends. Avoid other forms of public transport.
Woman travel to Cape Town, South Africa