10 Safest Cities in South Africa

Updated On October 10, 2023
South Africa

South Africa, a beautiful country located on the southern point of the African continent, is a country riddled with crime.

As of 2020, the population of South Africa stood at 59.31 million residents.

It is rich in culture and boasts 11 official languages. 

The country is made up of multiple cultures including African, Caucasian, Indian, Chinese, mixed race, and indigenous people.

By the last quarter of 2021, the country saw an 8.9% increase in crime levels across the country. 

The country is a mixture of the third world and the first world due to the inequalities between those on the richest end of the scale and those on the poorest end of the scale.

Violent crimes such as murder, physical assault, sexual assault, and manslaughter are among the most popular types of crime in this country. 

10 Safest Cities in South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town, South Africa

1. Cape Town

Cape Town is a coastal city located in the Western Cape at the southwest point of South Africa.

The population of Cape Town is approximately 4.7 million residents. 

Although the city has received a reputation as one of the most dangerous cities in South Africa and on the African continent, this simply is not the truth.

Cape Town is a city that has pockets of areas that experience higher levels of crime due to higher levels of poverty.

But, these trends are not evident in all parts of the city.

For example, suburbs such as Clifton and Camps Bay experience much lower crime rates.

Over the period from April to June 2021 there were approximately 767 murders committed in this city and 16,314 contact crimes for the same period.

There are 85 police stations across the city and 151 police stations in the Western Cape Province. 

George, South Africa
George, South Africa

2. George

George is another small coastal city located in the Western Cape situated on the coastal stretch known as the Garden Route.

As of 2020, the population of George was 157,391 residents. 

George has seen a rise in crime over the past year but still remains one of the safest cities in South Africa.

During the period April to June 2021, the city experienced 767 murders and 16,314 contact crimes.

George has five police stations.

George has also been voted as the best city in South Africa for a high standard of living. 

Paarl, South Africa
Paarl, South Africa

3. Paarl

Paarl, the third oldest city as well as a European settlement, is a town in the Western Cape of South Africa.

This small town has a population of 112,045 inhabitants. 

This small farming town specializes in wine production as the Mediterranean climate is ideal for wine production.

While there are pockets of crime in areas of lower income, there are also areas that experience much lower levels of crime, which means that Paarl has made it onto this list.

There are three police stations in this town, with the Paarl East police station making the top 30 list for the most reported crimes in a specified area.

The most common crimes in the lower-income areas are common assault, theft, property crime, and muggings.

Kimberly, South Africa
Kimberly, South Africa

4. Kimberly

Kimberly is a city located in the Northern Cape in South Africa.

The city is well-known as a diamond mining city and one of its biggest attractions is known as ‘Big Hole’, which is the largest hand-dug pit.

The city has a population of 230, 000 residents and is considered one of the safest cities to live in South Africa.

During the period between April – June 2021 the city experienced a total of 47 murders and 2515 contact crimes.

There are six police stations in the city and 91 altogether in the province.

While the city has made it onto the list, it is now completely without crime.

Violent crime, property crime, and petty theft are among the most common crime trends in this city.

In relation to other cities in the country, it is fairly safe, provided that you do not travel at night, do not travel alone, and do not flash large sums of money or jewelry in public.

Upington, South Africa
Upington, South Africa

5. Upington

Upington, the second biggest city in this province, is a city located in the Northern Cape of South Africa.

It has a relatively small population of 75,000 residents. 

There are three police stations located in this city.

Policing is very efficient in this region and it is said to be one of the safest in all of South Africa.

Though this city has made it onto the list as relatively safe, it is not without crime.

Some of the more prevalent crime trends include sexual assault, pickpocketing, assault, and violence. 

Of course, the higher the income bracket of the area in this city, the more peaceful it is.

As such, the city, like most cities in this country, has pockets of crime.

Jan Kempdorp, South Africa
Jan Kempdorp, South Africa

6. JanKemp Dorp

JanKemps Dorp is a town located in the Northern Cape of South Africa, approximately four hours north of Upington.

The population in this town is approximately 24,000 residents.

It is equally as prosperous and safe as the city of Upington, but also has a more leisurely feel to it.

This town has a much slower pace of life and is commonly known as a town consisting of wineries and nature reserves.

The town has a total of 2 police stations.

While there is a crime in this town, the most predominant crime trends in this area seem to be farm murders in the rural parts on the outskirts of the town, as well as aggravated assault. 

Cape St Francis, South Africa
Cape St Francis, South Africa

7. Cape St Francis

Cape St. Francis is a town situated on a headland in the Eastern Cape, close to the coastal city of Port Elizabeth.

It has an extremely small population of 342 residents and is known for its clean beaches and surfing. 

The town does experience small bouts of petty crimes such as pickpocketing, theft, and housebreaking.

According to reports, residents in this small coastal town have no problem living in homes with no burglar bars or security systems in a country that has been rated as one of the most dangerous countries in the world. 

This is a clear indication of the safety and low levels of crime experienced in this coastal town.

Port St. Johns, South Africa
Port St. Johns, South Africa

8. Port St. Johns

Port St. Johns is a small town with a population of approximately 6,500 residents.

The town is located on the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. 

The town is known as one of the safest places to live in all of South Africa, with approximately 456 incidents of violent crime per 100,000 residents and 2,800 incidents of property crime per 100,000 residents for this small town.

Residents report feeling extremely safe with only a few incidents of petty crimes being experienced for the most part. 

House break-ins continue to be a major cause for concern in most of the country, with Port St. Johns being no exception.

Overall, though, the crime rate in this town is fairly low and not much of a concern for the residents.

Plettenberg Bay, South Africa
Plettenberg Bay, South Africa

9. Plettenberg Bay

Plettenberg Bay is a coastal town in the Eastern Cape situated on a stretch of highway known as the Garden Route.

The town has a small population of 31,804 residents and experiences fairly low crime levels overall. 

The town experiences bouts of petty crime due to certain areas that live below the breadline, but overall, it is a fairly safe destination for tourists.

There are, however, a few safety precautions that need to be taken, such as not walking alone at night and avoiding areas that are not well lit. 

The property crime rates are low to medium, while violent crime is relatively low in this sleepy coastal town.

Knysna, South Africa
Knysna, South Africa

10. Knysna

Knysna, another small coastal town in the Western Cape, and also situated on the Garden Route, has a population of 76,150 residents.

Knysna has made it onto the top ten list because of its relatively low levels of crime, which is controlled to ensure that the town retains its influx of international tourists.

This town is known for its relaxing lifestyle and entertainment.

Much like many of the towns and cities found on the Garden Route, Knysna is one of the safest places to live in South Africa. 

A premier golfing location, the town has many gated communities that keep crime out.

5 Safety Tips for Traveling to South Africa

  1. Visitors to this country should always remain vigilant of their surroundings and never flash money, jewelry, or expensive equipment such as cameras and cellphones.
  2. Never travel alone and especially do not travel after dark. Stick to areas frequented by tourists.
  3. Never wander around aimlessly.
  4. Never put your bag or wallet down and turn away from it or walk away from it. 
  5. Don’t walk around and stare at your phone. 

South Africa Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: South Africa Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most dangerous city in South Africa?

Johannesburg is hands down the most dangerous city.

What is the most common crime in South Africa?

There are a few including aggravated assault, sexual assault, house break-ins, highjackings, and theft.

Which city is a must-visit in South Africa?

You could opt between Cape Town and The Lost City in Johannesburg.

7 Comments on 10 Safest Cities in South Africa

  1. D
    Dominique says:

    This is incorrect. It firstly, all depends are where you go. But for tourists:


    1. A
      Anonymous says:

      When travelling, apply common sense, ie don’t wear jewellery, don’t show your money. Most thieves are right handed, so if you must use a pocket, use the left one, but put something on top of anything in pockets or stash items in underwear or under clothing. Do NOT open maps in public, this is asking to be mugged anywhere.
      Do not speak loudly as your twangy accent is equal to blood to a shark, SHUT UP.
      Mimic the locals, watch how they walk and move as each region or area in EVERY country has a “way of being”. No, the world is not your oyster. Blend in and stop being an ignorant tourist.
      If you do not speak the language, draw pictures SHUT UP.

  2. N
    NICOLE E AVERY says:

    By indigenous… who are you referring to if not the African?

  3. I’m impressed by this report, so much I’m prepared to visit all these safe cities especially in the beautiful Western Cape..

    I love my country SA but has become so unsafe to travel it now these days..

  4. B
    Barbara Davis says:

    As someone who’s visited South Africa multiple times, safety is always a top concern. It’s great to see cities like Cape Town making the list.

  5. m
    marilyn60 says:

    I work overseas
    overseas it is also so dangerous serial killers pedophiles
    knife and gun crimes are in the rise countries like UK
    America is riddled with gun crimes
    white collar crimes are also evident abroad
    I like my country nice weather friendly people
    you have to risk assess everywhere in the world
    I have never been mugged in South Africa
    But have experienced hate crimes in the UK so evident

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