Cape Town is a modern, cosmopolitan city with very diverse cultures and around 1.7 million foreign visitors (in 2018) annually. Most tourists that come once, want to come back again as they had such a wonderful time in Cape Town and South Africa. Its charm is just irresistible. In recent years Cape Town has also become a popular destination for solo travelers.

Like any other major city around the world there are certain tips and safety guidelines one should follow when traveling.

We have put together a Cape Town safety guide with important safety tips for you to make your stay here wonderful and safe.

Students walking down the road in Cape Town
  • Walk around the city centre with a friend.
  • Avoid walking around at night, especially alone and in dark and quiet areas. Stay in busier and well-lit areas. Take an uber or taxify to get around town and home at night. It is very cheap and safe.
  • Don’t walk around with a lot of cash or valuables and wearing your expensive jewellry or watches on display.
  • Keep your passport safe and only take a copy with you when you are out. 
  • Don’t leave your belongings unattended. Always make sure your things are on you.
  • Avoid getting distracted by strangers when you are walking around town.
  • Watch your jeans pockets, handbags and backpacks when you are in busy spaces and at night clubs.
  • Don’t leave drinks unattended.
  • Don’t believe false information that you have to pay to walk along public roads in Cape Town. You do not need any permits or to buy tickets to use roads.
  • Be careful of beggars on the street who ask for money or food. Just keep walking and say, ‘No thank you’. Many street people that ask for food, work with the corner shops to scam tourists. So, if you are buying something for them  you are likely going to pay 3x the price and once you have left, they will return the food and get the cash.
  • If you wish to help the homeless, consider donating to a shelter or charity.
bank cards and cash
  • Only use ATMs inside the bank building and not the ones on the street.
  • Don’t let your card out of your sight.
  • Don’t let anyone help you at the cash machines or type in your pin in front of someone, not even people that claim to work for the bank.
  • If the ATM swallows your card, follow the instructions on the screen, do not leave your card unattended. If you have to leave without your card, please cancel it immediately.
Hotel room
  • Keep your valuables in a safe or locker in your accommodation. If there isn’t a safe available, you can keep your passport and cash in the school’s safe. Our safe unfortunately, does not have space for large items.
  • Don’t leave any valuables lying around the room when you leave.
  • Don’t take strangers to your hotel room.
Students in front of 2 elephants
  • Only book tours and activities with reputable companies with the right insurances and knowledge. Let us assist you with booking tours at reception.
  • Hike in groups, know where you are going, take water and a hat with you, a charged phone, a jacket and sun lotion. The weather can change very quickly. Also, it is always best to inform someone in your accommodation about your hike.
  • Don’t go to townships on your own. Book an organised township tour if you want to go.
  • Keep emergency numbers with you at all times.
  • Take a photo of this infographic from Travelwise Cape Town Tourism with your phone so you have tips and numbers on hand. 
Fire hydrant and tulpis
  • Emergencies from a mobile: 112
  • Emergencies from a landline: 107
  • Police: 10111
  • Ambulance: 10177
  • Table Mountain NP Emergencies: +27 (0)21 480 7700
  • National Sea Rescue Institute: 082 911
  • IH Cape Town emergency phone: +27 (0)71 680 9508

We give a lot of the  Cape Town safety tips to our new students during the orientation tour on their first day and stress the importance of following these rules. We ask everyone to be careful and mindful about their surrounding and be street smart.

You can also find more information on: 

Cape Town Tourism 

Cape Town Magazine

You will have the most wonderful and unforgettable experience you can imagine in Cape Town but we just urge you to follow this Cape Town safety guide whilst traveling.

And please remember IH Cape Town is always here to help you and answer your questions. You can speak to us at reception or contact us here.

Hiking in Cape Town