Is Cape Town A Safe Place to Visit or Live In?

Cape Town is a port city on South Africa’s western coast and the second-most populous city in the country. Significantly, the city is also the legislative capital of South Africa and home to most political figures in the country. Popularly known for its natural resources and attractions, including its beautiful beaches and landscapes, Cape Town is considered one of the best tourist cities in South Africa. It was named the best place to visit in the world by The New York Times in 2014. The city currently has a population of approximately 4,709,990 and a racial makeup of about 42.4% colored, 38.6% Black, and 1.4% Asian.

A Look At Cape Town’s Safety Index

Cape Town is currently one of the cities in South Africa with a high crime rate. Common crimes people commit in the city include burglary, robbery, car theft, stealing things from cars, physical attack, insults, physical attack because of one’s skin color, ethnic origin, gender, or religion, drug business, assault, bribery, corruption, vandalism, violent crime, armed robbery, amongst others.

With the rate of crime in Cape Town, it is natural for tourists to have reservations concerning their safety in the city. However, regardless of the rate of crime in the city, you can be safe if you choose to take heed to the general safety measures outlined in the paragraphs below.

Things are not entirely bad as reported by some sources on Cape Town’s safety index. A school of thought believes there has been a decline in some of the crimes committed in the city, especially cases of murder and other related violent crimes.

Recently, the Numbeo Crime Index listed Cape Town as one of the major cities that has corruption as its worst crime. The city’s crime index ranked over 70 percent while its safety index sat below 30 percent, precisely 26.22 percent. Below is the table.

# City Crime Index Safety Index Worst crime
3 Pretoria 81.94 18.06 Corruption
4 Durban 80.84 19.16 Corruption
5 Johannesburg 80.65 19.35 Corruption
7 Pietermaritzburg 79.73 20.27 Corruption
14 Port Elizabeth 75.92 24.08 Corruption
19 Cape Town 73.78 26.22 Corruption

The City Is Not Entirely Safe At Night

Like any other city, Cape Town is not entirely safe at night. It is not advisable to move around the city at night unless you’re lodging in a resort. Also, it is not always safe to stay in quiet places or dark streets in Cape Town at night alone.

If you do that, you might get into trouble with some people or get hurt. This shouldn’t deter you from making your travel plans and getting to explore the city and also enjoy their food and hospitality.

If you must move out at night, ensure to go out with some friends or someone who knows his way around the city. You must also learn to be friendly and avoid unnecessary contact with unfamiliar faces. Lastly, get to know about the city’s help desk and how to contact them in case if you need urgent help at any time.

What Every Tourist Must Know About Safety In Cape Town

Cape Town serves as home to a lot of people, both visitors, and local residents and most crimes you know about are trendy in the city, as it is in other places. However, research and experience have shown that the poor communities of Cape Town get to experience most of the violent crimes while the suburbs and city centers are relatively safe.

There have also been incidences of drug-related crimes and gang violence, mostly in Cape Flats but as far as tourists are concerned, they have little or no business going to the poor communities.

Most of the tourist sites and holiday spots are located in the city centers and even if they are not, most tourist sites have a way of bringing civilization to areas where they are located. Clifton and Waterfront have been marked as some of the safest places for tourists to reside in if they intend to enjoy their visit to Cape Town.

On the flip side, some of the no-go areas for tourists include Cape Flats, Langa, Nyanga, as well as the township areas. These are places known for high crime rates, often as a result of the high rate of poverty inherent in those areas.

Accessing ATM machines at night is not such a good idea, especially in deserted places. It is also advised that one does not accept help from strangers, especially when they offer to help out with operating the ATM. Tourists are encouraged to make use of ATMs situated at upmarket shopping areas where there are security guards around. It is also advised that withdrawn cash should be put away safely from public view and most especially, suspicious spectators loitering around.

While driving is also quite safe in the city center, it is always advised that car locks are engaged at all times, car windows should be wound up at all times, and valuable items or things that could easily be stolen such as cash, handbags, wallets or cell phones be stowed away safely in the glove compartment or the trunk of the car.

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Interacting with beggars is also not such a good idea. As tempting and vulnerable as they may look, begging is considered a vice in Cape Town as there are agencies and organizations that take care of the homeless and vulnerable individuals. One of such agencies is The Haven Night Shelter. Most beggars leverage on the sympathy and goodwill of tourists to get quick money and they sometimes double as pickpockets for unsuspecting tourists.

Like every other major city in the world, Cape Town is not entirely crime-free. Nevertheless, this is not to say that it is not inhabitable or that tourists can’t get to enjoy the many tourist and relaxation spots the beautiful city has to offer. it is advisable to take general safety measures while in Cape Town to ensure all-around safety throughout visits.

How To Stay Safe In The Mother City

  1. Never hang out alone. Always move around with a friend or more.
  2. Avoid isolated places or dark alleys.
  3. Avoid flaunting cash or other luxury items when in public.
  4. Travel documents should always be kept in the hotel room or wherever you are putting up while on a visit. Also, spare copies of certified travel documents should be made available in case the originals get stolen or lost.
  5. Avoid using trains and unauthorized cab services.
  6. Be at the right place at the right time.

Fast Facts About Cape Town

  • The city hosted the 1995 Rugby World Cup as well as the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
  • It is famous for its historic landmarks such as Table Mountain and Cape Point.
  • Cape Town was among the most racially integrated cities in South Africa before the mid-twentieth century.
  • The city is located at a latitude of 33.55° S and a longitude of 18.25° E.
  • The Mother City, as it is colloquially called, is Africa’s second main economic hub city, Western Cape province’s economic hub, as well as South Africa’s second main economic centre.
  • Cape Town is a manufacturing spot for giant multinational companies like Johnson & Johnson, Adidas, Yoco and Nampak, and GlaxoSmithKline.
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Osondu Queen Chidinma
Osondu Queen Chidinma
Queen always has the inside scoop on the lives of your famous celebrities, she is the go-to source when it comes to everything Hollywood and South African entertainment industry, an entertainer and a true queen in her own special way.


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