Men and women aren’t the only ones who rule the land in South Africa, the wildlife does too. Just venture anywhere near Kruger National Park to see 140+ mammals and more than 500 varieties of bird to see what we mean.1
Anyone wanting a touch of class should head to Boland: the wine-producing capital of Africa. Or, venture south into Cape Town, and experience a coastal city bursting with activity. There’s plenty to see, eat and experience in a nation like South Africa. If you’re going to journey across such a country, however, you should first take out a travel insurance policy.
How to travel safely in South Africa
You will need to take caution during your travels to South Africa (as you should when travelling anywhere). While it is certainly a country that begs to be explored, you should do so with a certain amount of preparedness.
When you’re driving…
- drive on the left side of the road,
- do not stop to feed any wild animals,
- carry extra fuel with you, as petrol stations are scarce the further away you are from populated areas, and
- always lock up your vehicle, leaving nothing inside the car that can be spotted from outside.
If you’re involved in a car accident, your rental car excess may be covered by your travel insurance, depending on your policy.
Consider the following vaccinations before you leave
- Rabies, and
- Hepatitis A & B.
Ask your GP for up to date advice on which vaccinations you may require, and get them at least 8 weeks before you depart.4 Failing to get inoculated may mean you cannot claim on your insurance. Lonely Planet also warns tourists about the threat of Malaria – especially in the north east. Tap water should be fine to consume, but consider carrying bottled water in rural areas.3 And finally, be mindful also that the rate of HIV/AIDS in South Africa is extremely high.4
One good thing about getting travel insurance is that you’re financially covered in the event you get something as (relatively) harmless as the flu, or something serious like a broken arm. Hospital expenses, medical evacuations, and more could be covered by your policy – all of which can be expensive to pay for outright.
Avoiding theft, robbery and scams
There are a number of ways that tourists are targeted by criminals in South Africa,2 but so long as you remain vigilant and exercise caution wherever you go, you should be fine.
- Violent crime typically increases at night. Never travel alone, and stick to crowded, well-lit areas.
- There’s no such thing as ‘Tourist Police’. It’s just criminals looking to steal your belongings and cash.
- ATMs located in busy locations may be targeted as ideal placers to skim credit card details. Be wary of this.
- Watch your drinks. Criminals have been known to spike beverages, and then rob incapacitated individuals.4
If you’re worried about the cost of replacing your belongings, then travel insurance is a smart idea.
Going on an adventure
A spot of excitement is healthy on your holiday, but make no mistake – some activities are more suitable than others on your holiday.
Take the wildlife, for example. You may want to go looking for certain animals, and decide to go on a Safari. If it’s not a properly licensed tour, or you fail to follow the advice of your guides, you risk not being able to claim on your travel insurance in the future.
Or, maybe you want to 5
- climb the Drakensberg peaks and soak in the scenery,
- try white water rafting on South Africa’s longest river: Oranjerivier (Orange River),
- shark dive for great whites off the coast of Cape Town,
- jump off the world’s highest commercial bridge bungy, in South Africa’s Garden Route, or
- ride an ostrich (yes, you can really do this).
In any case, you should check that such adventure activities aren’t excluded under your travel policy. You may be able to add them as extras for an additional cost, depending on how risky they are.
Wild at heart and ready to travel? Our guide to getting covered in other countries is for you.
N.B. Please refer to or speak with you insurer about limits, sub limits, restrictions, limitations and additional cover options.