|Sunset Beach, Milnerton, Cape Town|
We run a guest house and we have noticed some visitors are nervous of South Africa. Traveling can present challenges. Fears usually relate to quality of food and water, crime, insects such as mosquitoes, roads, Hepatitis A or B, parasites and HIV AIDS.
In rural areas where there is stagnant water and poor living conditions there can be some risk of diseases such as cholera, bilharzia, typhoid and rabies. But in Cape Town it is very unlikely.
Since my blog is focused on Cape Town I am not going to even talk about that sort of travel.
Firstly tap water in Cape Town is perfectly safe to drink. Mentioned this topic before in another post see here – tap water. Malaria does not occur in Cape Town. Spoke about this in more depth here – malaria.
Here are the safety precautions I would suggest.
- Don’t swim in the sea without a lifeguard present. The current and backwash off the Cape Coast can be strong. And we have sharks in False Bay.
- Do not have unprotected sex with a stranger. HIV AIDS rates are high in this part of the world and Hepatitis is also sexually transmitted.
- Do wear full factor sunscreen, a hat and body covering clothing if you are out in the sun.
- Do not flash valuables and be careless with your handbag, cellphone, laptop or camera.
- Don’t go wandering to known unsafe areas or darkly lit places alone at night.
- Keep an eye open for wild animals on road trips. Baboons for example can get violent. Read here – Chacma baboon.
- Mini bus taxis are a law unto themselves. Just let them go and know you are a better person for it.
- Don’t go up the mountains alone or unprepared. The weather can change in minutes and the heavy cloud makes it impossible to find your way home. There have been muggings on the mountains.
- Avoid street kids and beggars. They will try and engage you. Just ignore them and walk on. If you want to make a difference rather make a donation to a place of safety or rehabilitation centre. Those sad looking kids are accomplished pick pockets.
Luckily we aren’t likely to have natural disasters. We hardly ever get lightening and thunder storms in the Cape. No fault lines here, so we don’t fear earthquakes. We don’t have volcanoes and we don’t get tsunamis. It seldom snows here, so no avalanches or blizzards either. It can get windy and it can get hot. Mountain fires can get fierce at times. In winter it rains a lot. But we’re pretty lucky here when it comes down to it. For more travel and safety tips follow this link – Travel and safety tips.
|Camps Bay beach|
First lets deal with visas. Some nationals may require visas and others not. You will need to refer to either your local embassy. Another handy site is this SA Tourism.
You could also utilise an agent who deals with foreign visas and they do all the leg work for you. For a fee of course, but hey, they know the business.
Next vaccinations. Depending on how you enter South Africa, you may require a yellow fever vaccination. Do an Internet search for a list of possible entry countries. If you have travelled through them, then you need the jab.
The list includes most of Africa and a few South American countries.
Malaria does occur in South Africa but not in Cape Town. It’s possible to find maps showing high, medium and low risk areas as well as maleria free areas.
As a rule of thumb, the tropical bush camp areas on the east coast are where you need to be cautious. The recent high profile case of Cheryl Cole is proof that malaria does happen to visitors. That said, I will not take some of the new generation anti malarials.
I have seen too many people get very, very ill on them. The older generation anti-malarials are no longer effective against the new strains of malaria so you can’t rely on them. I prefer to practise extreme vigilance and take my chances. I do not recommend my approach. However I refuse to be struck down by medication and ruin a holiday.
Here’s how I do it.
Always cover your arms, neck and legs with light cotton clothing. Rub insect repellent gels and lotions all over exposed body parts regularly. I like Citronella oil. You won’t smell good to your travel mates but the mosquitos will be put off you as well.
Sleep under a net. Eat loads of garlic and drink gin and tonic. Apparently tonic water has quinine which is supposed to be an anti malarial. I also take a few drops of the herbal extract of Artemesia three times a day in water.
Lastly I take homeopathic China. You can use search terms such as Cinchona bark or China malaria to find out more.
You should have plenty ideas to keep safe from malaria.
|My CiTi bus|
The My CiTi bus service is now well under way. The first route to get going was from the the airport to the city centre. At R50 for the trip, it’s a bargain. We’ve used the bus a few times now, and I can see no reason to spend, what in comparison is a fortune, on one of the shuttle bus services or taxis. A shuttle bus or taxi costs around R250 to R300 for the same trip. The embarking process is designed so that you can roll a wheelie suitcase right into the bus. Perfect!
More good news is that the next route which is from Table View to central Cape Town is about to open. Interim fares are also excellent value at R10 per trip.
The My CiTi bus is based on a similar concept that has been in effect in Brazil for a while. The buses will ultimately run in and around the city and to Hout Bay. Can’t wait.
For more on what the Cape Town City Council have planned and plenty of useful information for visitors or potential investors, visit their website Cape Town City Council. Train timetables, news, a map of all green services such as public parks, farmers markets and more can be found on their website. Very handy!
|Golden Arrow bus|
Lastly you could also take one of the Golden Arrow buses to get around. Visit the – Golden Arrow Bus – website for timetables. I don’t find the website particularly user friendly but maybe it’s just me.
Find the link at the top of this page for travel tips relating to Cape Town in particular and travel in general.
Go to – My Holidays and Trips – at the top of this page to read about other places we have visited. Or just click on – this link.
Photo of My CiTi bus c/o City of Cape Town website
|View of Ritz Plaza Hotel and Sea Point area|
The usual top five must-sees in Cape Town are:-
1. Table Mountain Park and cable car
2. Robben Island and V and A Waterfront
3. The Cape Peninsula and Cape Point
4. Kirstenbosh Botanical Gardens
5. The Winelands
It’s what all our B and B guests come to see. That is apart from soccer during the Soccer World Cup. Needless to say these excursions are very popular. A word of advice. Book trips like Robben Island and Table Mountain in advance if you can at webtickets. That way you can avoid the queues and hopefully make sure you get to see them. One more word of advice. Check the weather before you head out. If the weather is wet and windy, phone first. Both Robben Island ferry and Table Mountain cable car do not run in bad weather
One of Cape Town’s not to miss experiences is the glorious sunsets. A stroll along Sea Point Promenade is a perfect way to observe the fiery skyline. Or you could find a place anywhere along the coastal road to stop and sip a cocktail with the setting sun as an accompaniment. Just be aware that the new drink driving laws are being enforced with a vengeance.
|View from Table Mountain|
In my last blog I was waxing about how incredibly wonderful South Africa and South Africans are. Funny thing is, the rest of the world don’t see us like that. I can’t count the amount of times after I was asked where I was from, people would ask me about crime and how I manage to live with it. It’s almost as if they think we’re all living in fear here.
I can’t lie and say we don’t have crime. We’re definitely at the top end of the statistics lists. And while most of the people I mix with have not been affected by crime, I do know some people who have. Crime happens in hot spots and for the most part – to people who don’t take proper care. If you leave a laptop on the passenger seat of your car, well don’t expect to find it when you come back. If you get blind drunk and walk off in a dark alley, there is a chance you will be attacked. If you don’t do stupid things you should be fine.
But there is good news. Crime in SA is coming down. National Crime Statistics showed our murder rate had dropped by 8.6% since last year. Soccer Cup went off with hardly a glitch. Except for the soccer team that invited ladies of the night into their hotel and left cash lying around. Then wondered why their money got nicked. I can tell them why. But then what do I know?
Visit this site for a collection of health and safety travel tips as well as money saving holiday advice – money saving, health, safety and travel tips.