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Staying Safe In South Africa During The World Cup

Football Fans Travelling To South Africa


Hundreds of thousands of football fans from around the world will soon be converging on South Africa for the 2010 World Cup. For many supporters attending a World Cup is a once in a lifetime experience, so here are our top tips to help you make sure your trip runs as smoothly as possible and you stay safe:

- Don’t take risks that you wouldn’t take at home. If your instincts tell you that a particular place or activity is risky, trust your instincts and avoid it.

- Road safety

  • South African roads are generally not as safe as those in the UK. Whether you’re driving or you’re a pedestrian you should take extra care.
  • Some World Cup venues are hundreds of miles apart and it may take up to 15 hours to drive between host cities. Give yourself plenty of time for the journey and if possible try and share the driving with another member of your party.
  • South Africans have a very different driving style to drivers in the UK. You should stay alert and don’t necessarily expect other drivers to obey the rules of the road.
  • If you’re hiring a car, make sure that you have your full driving licence with you. We also recommend taking out comprehensive insurance cover rather than the minimum third party cover.
  • In rural areas it is common to find untarred roads that are only suitable for four wheel drive vehicles. Not all car insurance policies will cover you for going off-road so you should check your policy before doing so.
  • It’s fairly common to see wild animals in the road, especially in rural areas. Some animals are dangerous and should be avoided, such as baboons. Farm animals also have a habit of wandering the road and can cause real problems for drivers.
  • Just like in the UK, South Africans drive on the left. You must wear a seatbelt and it is illegal to use your mobile phone while driving.

- Carjacking

  • Carjacking is something you need to be aware of while driving in South Africa. The problem is such that certain junctions are signposted as carjacking hotspots and in certain areas drivers will ignore red lights at night to avoid the risk of being carjacked.
  • You should take extra care when driving from the airport and make sure that car doors are locked at all times.
  • If you see someone apparently broken down at the side of the road, don’t stop for them. Instead you should keep driving and call the police to let them know of the incident (call 10111 from a landline or 112 from a mobile).
  • If you are carjacked, don’t put up a fight. Of course losing your car will be distressing and hugely inconvenient, but it is preferable to suffering physical injuries.

- Muggings

  • Tourists are always targets for pickpockets and muggers. Keep valuables such as cameras and phones out of sight, and keep your wits about you when using cash points.
  • Take extra care at night and travel as a group rather than on your own.
  • Don’t put up a fight if you are mugged. Report the mugging to the police and get a copy of the police report – you’ll need this to claim compensation or to claim on your travel insurance.
  • Cancel stolen credit cards or travellers cheques and re-book travel tickets if they were taken.

- Assistance while in South Africa

  • If you need assistance while in South Africa, you may find it useful to contact the British High Commission. The High Commission is based in Pretoria and can be contacted on (27) (12) 421 7500. They can help with issuing replacement passports and calling family and friends on your behalf. They can also help if you are in hospital or need information about police or the South African legal system.