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Keep things in perspective and don't be overly paranoid, but do remember that South Africa has a high crime rate and you need to be much more cautious than in most Western countries. There are dozens of ATM scams that involve stealing your cash, your card or your personal identification number PIN — usually all three. Thieves are just as likely to operate in Stellenbosch as in downtown Jo'burg, and they are almost always well-dressed and well-mannered men.
In the most common scam the thief tampers with the ATM so your card becomes jammed. By the time you realise this you've entered your PIN. The thief will have seen this, and when you go inside to report that your card has been swallowed, he will take the card — along with several thousand rand. Bearing the following rules in mind will help you avoid mishaps.
Crime is a national obsession in South Africa. Apart from car accidents, it's the major risk that you'll face here. However, try to keep things in perspective: despite the statistics and newspaper headlines, the majority of travellers visit without incident.
The risks are highest in Jo'burg, followed by some townships and other urban centres. You can minimise risks by following basic safety precautions:. UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office www. Most open for visa services and consular matters on weekday mornings, between about 9am and noon. For more information, see www.
South Africa is straightforward and hassle-free to enter, although airport customs officers often check bags for expensive gifts and items purchased overseas.