Travel in South Africa is safe provided you take reasonable precautions and are travel-wise. The Garden Route is one of the safest places in South Africa to visit. We want you to have a wonderful experience and to come back soon to visit us again.
The Garden Route is made up of small towns interspersed with rural villages. As such, you don’t encounter cities once you leave Cape Town or Port Elizabeth, so these guidelines are tailored for getting around smaller towns and villages.
Travelling around on our roads
Whilst travelling between our towns, be sure to fill up with sufficient petrol at one of the garages as in some places, there is quite a distance between stops. If you do this, it is not necessary to venture too far off the beaten track to get petrol. If you do get stuck on the side of the road, you will find that South Africans are very friendly and will often stop to help. The same goes for a technical problem with your vehicle. Don’t wander away from your vehicle in search of assistance, be patient and someone will stop to assist.
Unless you have checked with your guest house, it is generally wiser to drive around in our towns and not walk at night. Use your common sense and plan your trip so you don’t have to venture down deserted roads in search of your destination or get lost. Travel during the day, is generally safer than travelling at night and in the wee hours of the morning.
Lock your car doors when you get in the vehicle and check that all passenger doors are locked too. Don’t leave your cellphone, cash or bag visible on the seat, especially if you park and leave your vehicle. Don’t pick up hitchhikers.
Visiting local communities is a wonderful way of learning about our South African culture, but it is best done through a local tour-operator who will ensure that it is a safe experience.
Safety of your possessions
Don’t leave your luggage, cellphone or laptop unattended. Most rooms have a safe or a place where you can lock valuables away. Do not leave money or jewellery in your luggage. Carry your passport and/or travel documents only if you have to, alternatively carry certified copies. Keep your room locked at all times. Be observant when entering parking areas, and don’t have your wallet in your back pocket or your cellphone visible when walking in the street.
A camera around the neck identifies you as a tourist. Rather pop it inside a bag if you are walking in the street. Carry your bag close to your body and not loosely slung over your shoulder. Same goes for a cellphone, they are tempting for snatch & grab petty thieves. Whenever possible, stay in groups and don’t venture down dark alleys! If you get lost, look for a police or traffic officer or approach a shop assistant for assistance. Keep your credit cards and notes in an inside pocket - never in the back pocket of your trousers.
The Garden Route has some of the most beautiful and spectacular scenery in the world, but we have many people who live below the breadline. It would be a shame not to experience our natural splendour and fascinating country because you are scared for your safety. In all the towns and wild places along the Garden Route, we are working with our communities to demonstrate that tourism does benefit disadvantaged communities, so where-ever you are, make sure that you support responsible facilities who have communities involvement and upliftment programs in place.
If you see any suspect activity, or experience an emergency please call the police emergency number: 10111
It is also a good idea to carry the name and telephone number of your accommodation facility with you where-ever you go.