Dampening the spirit of the 2010 World Cup, a bus accident in Nelspruit, a city in South Africa, was reported by authorities. According to witnesses, the driver of the coach wasn’t able to control the wheel as the bus went by the winding road. The passengers were English fans who were on their way to the Mandela Stadium to witness the biggest soccer game in the world.
Road accidents aren’t the only dangers that tourists traveling to South Africa should be made aware of. If you’re one of them, these are the things you shouldn’t shrug your shoulders on. Make sure that you have your eyes peeled for them while you’re traveling to this destination.
The bad news is that the crime rate in the country is pretty high. The good news: majority of this happens outside of the tourist attractions. This means that you should only really worry about crimes if you’re going off the beaten path. However, if you’re going to South Africa during World Cup season, you should keep your guard up on or off the tourist center. Opportunistic criminals are bound to take advantage of the sudden influx of tourists.
Watch out for theft and keep your wallets and passports where you can guard them. Keep your valuable things out of plain sight, and as much as possible, wear little or no jewelry which can attract attention. Hold on to your hand bags, and if possible, always keep an extra photocopy of your passport available.
Gunpoint robbery from the airport is also common. The airport itself is pretty secure, but you should keep your guard up when you’re driving out of the airport. Travel in daylight if you must, and keep your eye out for cars which may be following your taxi.
Sexual assault in South Africa is also among the most common crimes. Should you be a victim of a sexual assault during your stay in the region, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible. There’s a high level of HIV OR AIDS in the country, and you would want yourself checked for these diseases.
Compared to the USA and other European countries, driving a car in the country can also be a challenge. There’s a high occurrence of fatal road accidents, and because of the vastness of South Africa, you should also think about how you’re going to travel from one city to the other. Make sure that aside from the cost of transportation, you also consider safety factors.
While the roads in the cities (the highly populated ones) are in pretty good condition, you might want to steer clear of more remote ones. At its worst, you’ll be facing a dirt road or a cliff that’s prone to landslides. If you’re driving, make sure you follow the speed limits. Also, watch out for random flash floods, especially this season.
Keep your guard up while you’re inside the vehicle as well. Theft on the road can keep both you and your passenger at a risk. Some thieves even place large boulders in your path just so they can take the driver out of the car and rob him/her. As much as possible, you should travel with company.
You wouldn’t want to go to South Africa if your immune system is already compromised because of an existing medical condition. While decent health treatments are available in the country’s more developed areas, there’s no doubt that treatments will be expensive. Hospitals in the rural areas are very basic and may not have the amenities you need if you’re suffering from a serious ailment.
Among the more common, serious diseases in South Africa are rabies, cholera, malaria and tuberculosis. Should you experience diarrhea (or even just loose bowel movement) during your stay here, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible.
World Health Organization also warns travelers of a virus called the Rift Valley River. While this isn’t airborne and has mostly affected animals, humans can get it too if they’re put in direct contact of an infected animal’s flesh or blood. HIV OR AIDS is also present in 18.1% of South Africa’s population. Caution is necessary if you don’t want to be infected with it.
Terrorism and Insurance
There’s a prevailing terrorist risk in South Africa, and because World Cup is bringing in hoards of fans, there’s a speculation that certain tourist spots will be targets to these attacks. While there’s nothing anyone can really do if this does happen, foreigners are reminded to be extra be wary in popular locations.
Because of the high risks involved in visiting this country, travelers must make sure that their travel insurance is comprehensive, and that their medical insurance is valid. The medical insurance, particularly, should cover medical evacuation is possible.
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