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Old 03-20-2006, 12:27 AM   #1
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Hi all I am a South African. I must start by saying that none of the violent pictures on this post so far was taken in SA (note from travelpunk admins : these posts were splitted from another thread. Fishmot refers to the images you'll find here.). While I was backpacking through Europe last year I started wondering about travelling alone in South Africa. So since my return April 05 I have had time to make an opinion.

The Pros to come here is:

All the people can speak English.
They are all very friendly.
It is cheap.
The scenery and wildlife alone will make your trip worthwhile.

The cons:

Crime, the country has a very high crime rate and that is a fact. People has been murdered for insane reasons such as to get their cellphones. Most of the crime is theft, I have my own bussines and we are pestered by thieves a lot.

Another con is the public transport system, which is allmost non existent compared to that of europe. But their is special tourist hop on hop of busses. Flights between the major cities is not to expensive. We do have comfortable airconditioned go long distance busses.Passenger Trains allmost non existent.

Since and even before the travel bug bit me last year I have travelled alone a lot.
So pack your bags and come.
PS. no baboons in Durban and leave your syringe at home.
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Old 03-20-2006, 06:03 AM   #2
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Thanks fishmot for the insights.

Security wise, what would you suggest a backpacker should do ? A friend of mine spent 3 weeks there, and she never walked alone because she had been said it was too dangerous. At night, in the car, they'd lock the doors and slowed down at red lights enough in advance to have it turn green as they arrived at the light, so that they NEVER had to stop. So tell us what to do, what is reality indeed please.

What were the best parts of your trip in South Africa, cities-activities-landscapes-etc ?
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Old 03-20-2006, 10:00 AM   #3
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The reality: Their is more crime in the dodgy areas of the bigger cities. On the other hand the bigger cities especially Cape Town is geared for tourists. The smaller towns and villages is heaven not only beatifull but safe allso.

The best security that I can think of is to know where you are going to overnite and to plan your days. I know it kills some of the excitement but that way you will not end up stranded some place.

I see more and more travellers cycling through the country and these people sleep next to the roads some times.

The people here IS friendly they will not think funny of you if you ask at a bussiness ie coffeshop if your destination or your planned overnite spot is safe. That way you will get the assurance to fully enjoy your travels.
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Old 03-20-2006, 10:17 AM   #4
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South Africa offers pristine natural beauty. If you come here Cape Town is a must this is where you will party seriously and do tourist things, up Table Mountain with the cable car and walk around and take in all the sites the city offers. Then off to Gansbaai and Hermanus I will go to see great white sharks and to dive with them. The locals here is great. Then the garden route up the east coast. Bungy jumping ,forests, mountains Jefreys Bay for surfing Knysna to party and paraglide or canoe. The eastern cape is where the wildlife begins, Lions Elaphant the whole big five in reserves and not on the streets as people beleive. The eastern cape is allso home of the native Xhosa. South Africa offers you a calmed down more civilised Africa.
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Old 03-20-2006, 11:43 AM   #5
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Hey Fishmoth,

Thanks for the local knowledge, I'm sure it will be very helpful to people thinking about heading to South Africa - please check in often to answer questions! Maybe you could add some stories about your experiences to the Travel Stories forum, to give people an idea of what they might expect.

My mom was in South Africa about five years back for a conference and had a marvellous time, although she did get scolded for going outside the approved swimming area on the beach one time! Granted her trip was with a small group, not solo, but she did really enjoy the country. The pictures were incredible.

Cheers,

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Old 04-23-2007, 04:39 AM   #6
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Fishmouth - finally someone who says something good about SA. I live in Cape Town and have recently joined the forum. Everyone seems really afraid of SA.

Everyone else: just use your common sense and dont leave things lying around, or hitchike. Dont walk around dodgy areas and always ask for help at a local shop. Lock your pack and if you feel uncomfortable on the tain - go to the next carriage, or walking somewhere - pop in to a local coffee shop or whatever is close. Always keep your eyes and ears open! Goodluck and just have some fun, we really do live in a beautiful country!!!!
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Old 04-23-2007, 08:22 AM   #7
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^ Amazing, that's what I like to hear mish99! I'm glad we're getting more people from Africa on the boards, the more locals we have, the more informed we can be. I am so PSYCHED for my trip to Africa next Jan!!! (and I'm 75% set on South Africa mish99, so I might have to take you up on your offer posted in the other thread to show people around Cape Town). :D
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Old 04-24-2007, 05:23 AM   #8
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Thats cool. Cape Town is fantatstic! If you have any questions or statements just post them and i or anyone else in SA will help you. Dont worry about all the horror stories....just be careful

Mish xoxo
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Old 04-24-2007, 10:18 PM   #9
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Thank you Mish! You have added a lot of insights that you can't get from a guidebook. I'm getting excited for my trip to South Africa now. Only 5 weeks to go!
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Old 04-24-2007, 11:55 PM   #10
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Thanks travel girl! You must be excited!

Your coming in winter though. Dont worry, its still nice....
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Old 04-25-2007, 04:27 PM   #11
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I enjoyed the heck out of my two weeks in South Africa, last year. I do have to echo fishmoth's concerns about crime. I've been to more than sixty countries, and this was the first time anybody has attempted to mug me. Thankfully, they were unsuccessful, and I was unharmed.

I highly recommend the Baz Bus that he alludes to (www.bazbus.com). Great way to see the country, and make friends to hang out with along the way.

My personal recommendation if you're renting a car in Nelspruit to do a self drive safari (which is awesome), is to arrange for the company to deliver it to you at a hotel of your choosing. Don't walk around that town looking for public transport to the airport (if that's where your car will be)...it's a long way away. I found out afterwards that they would have delivered my car to me.

One final thing: Street crime IS real in South Africa. Use your head, don't walk everywhere with your pack on your back, try not to stand out as a target, er tourist. Hopefully, our SA Tpunks aren't offended by my post...I DO encourage people to go. It's a beautiful country, with many wonderful people...

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Old 04-26-2007, 05:52 AM   #12
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Mmmm, not offended at all. You are right about the crime. Im glad you had a good time in SA!
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Old 05-03-2007, 05:18 AM   #13
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my dad was bought up in durban for about 20 years and he advises me against going...although he was living there over 30 years ago when it was a really dodgy place. i am going to head to SA at some point - crime is real everywhere, and livin in the shit end of london i have learnt to always keep my wits about me...you never know when crime will strike! this applies also to any where you travel

i still have my step mum who is retired who lives in durban, would love to see her and visit her country.
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Old 05-09-2007, 02:59 AM   #14
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Well, i think the crime has probably gotten worse, but it depends where you go. I say its worth coming here to visit. And you know someone which is good beause then you are not all alone (duh) if something happens
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