How Safe Is Cape Town for Travel?

Cape Town, South Africa
Safety Index:
43

Cape Town, being the second-largest city in South Africa and the capital of the Western Cape Province, is a very important city: it is the legislative capital of South Africa, containing the Houses of Parliament.

It is located in the south-west corner of the country near the Cape of Good Hope and is the most southern city in Africa.

Though some may think of typical stereotypes when hearing the words “South Africa”, Cape Town is completely different than people imagine.

The major cities of South Africa like Cape Town and Johannesburg are, without exaggeration, cities you would expect in a first world state.

However, this does not mean that it is safe like a city of a first world state would be.

The level of a serious crime is high and personal security is the main priority in the country.

Warnings & Dangers in Cape Town

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : HIGH

As amazingly fun and exciting Cape Town might be, you should be aware of the many dangers that await the unsuspecting tourists. This city has relatively high rates of crime. You should be vigilant and take all possible precautions measures to minimize the risk of something going wrong.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM

Public transport in South Africa is the scene of many criminal activities. Be aware of criminals waiting around at Cape Town airports and then following tourists to their accommodation to rob them. There have also been reports of luggage thefts at the airports. Rails and metro trains are also the locations where assaults and robberies have occurred. If you plan to take the train in Cape Town, always opt for the 1st Class, travel during the day and in a cabin with people. Avoid traveling to Cape Flats altogether.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM

Pickpocketing was once a serious problem in this city, but it has been on a decline during the past couple of years. Still, the riskiest locations where you may encounter petty theft are crowded places such as markets, public transport and bus, and train stations.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW

Cape Town may become a victim of occasional tsunamis coming from the Indian Ocean. Another danger is flooding. One of the bigger floods in South Africa occurred in 2011 killing 91 people.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

Mugging and robberies are a much bigger issue here than petty theft. And though usually, the motive of these incidents is theft, rape is sadly not uncommon at all, so female tourists should be particularly cautious.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM

Threats are coming from extremists linked to Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL), as well as threats from individuals inspired by terrorist groups, including Daesh, who might try to carry out so-called ‘lone actor’ attacks targeting public places.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM

There are a couple of popular scams, one of them involving criminals posing as "tourist police" with a goal to rob visitors. They are known to stop tourist buses, saying that they're checking identification and searching luggage. However there's no such thing as "tourist police" in South Africa, so be on the lookout. Then there are so-called "strollers", and they can be anyone from children to junkies. Their only goal is to rob you blind so keep your valuables well hidden.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM

Though many female travelers went to Cape Town and had no problems at all, this country might not be the safest choice for female solo travelers. Be very careful at night and avoid risky situations such as winding-up in deserted and poorly lit streets or finding yourself in an unknown area with strange people.

So... How Safe Is Cape Town Really?

Though this is a city where there’s so much to see and do, that it’s impossible to fit it all in during one trip, with rich and luxurious parts, exciting nightlife and incredible culture, it is a country with a serious rate of crime to watch out for.

Though it’s a rather rich city, it is not at all uncommon to hear about muggings and armed robberies here.

However, what is more, important than knowing what kind of crimes tend to occur in Cape Town, is knowing the areas and hotspots where they’re more likely to occur.

Such areas in Cape Town are Salt River, Seapoint, Observatory, Mowbray, and the Cape Flats, where the crime rates are very high.

The area at the bottom of Main Road near Prestwich Memorial is infamous for robberies and assaults, both during daylight and after dark.

Be very careful on Long Street and surrounding roads at night.

As for Long Street, drug dealers are aplenty there, and you’ll probably be offered drugs about multiple times if you are out clubbing on a busy night.

At night, make sure you stay on well-lit and crowded streets.

How Does Cape Town Compare?

CitySafety Index
Cape Town43
Durban40
Johannesburg40
Pretoria19
Pietermaritzburg43
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43
Sofia (Bulgaria)73
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63

Useful Information

  • Visas - While U.S. citizens visiting Cape Town for tourism purposes do not need a visa for any stays shorter than ninety days, along with many other countries, some nationals do need a visa to enter Cape Town. Make sure your passports are valid for at least 30 days past your planned date of return from South Africa. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need a visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
  • Currency - South African rand is the official currency in Cape Town. ATMs can be found throughout the country and credit cards are widely accepted.
  • Weather - The summer months are from December to February which is the best time to visit Cape Town. Though days are hot, the humidity is low, so it is not uncomfortable. The winter months that last from June to August can be wet, but it doesn't mean that it rains every day during this period.
  • Airports - Cape Town International Airport is the busiest and biggest airport serving the city of Cape Town. It is also the second-busiest airport in South Africa and third-busiest in Africa. It is located approximately 20 km from the city center.
  • Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Cape Town, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems but also theft and loss of valuables.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Cape Town Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 23° C
Feb 23° C
Mar 22° C
Apr 20° C
May 18° C
Jun 16° C
Jul 16° C
Aug 16° C
Sep 17° C
Oct 19° C
Nov 20° C
Dec 22° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
282927252220202021242527
Low
°C
171716151312111213141517
High
°F
828481777268686870757781
Low
°F
636361595554525455575963

Where to Next?

9 Reviews on Cape Town

  1. K
    Keith Blake says:

    Dangerous

    This city is never safe. There are mobs everywhere.
    It is also filthy dirty. In a holiday spot viz. Hermanus, I have never been so scared.

    1. A
      Anonymous says:

      The city has great restaurants and beautiful topography. I walked alone at night in the City Center to find a restaurant and did not feel unsafe. This was in 2017. I understand that some suburbs are where crime is concentrated

  2. K
    Keith Andrews says:

    Dangerous but Beautiful

    Cape Town can be very unsafe. Wherever you are here try not draw attention to yourself by wearing expensive jewelry or designer brands since you making you self a target for crime especially muggings. Never have your money and cellphone visible since this can also draw attention to you being mugged. Beautiful City though and highly recommend it

  3. H
    Hates the entire Africa says:

    CAPE TOWN IS THE MOST DANGEROUS CITY IN THE WORLD

    43? ITS MORE LIKE 0-3. I ALWAYS SEE VIDEOS ABOUT ROBBERS, SCAMS, AND PICKPOCKETS IN CAPE TOWN. NEVER EVER GO TO CAPE TOWN. THE 2011 FLOOD WAS A DISASTER IN CAPE TOWN. SO IF YOU ARE THERE IN CAPE TOWN, GO TO SOMEWHERE ELSE SAFER THAN AFRICA. PLEASE TRUST ME LOL

    1. I can’t help but feel your review is coming from a place of racism given your name and what you have said. While no, this city is not 100% safe, which city is? I have had more issues in the city of Chicago in the US than I did in Cape Town, Africa!!

  4. B
    Brian Clewly Johnson says:

    Beauty, vigilance, safety.

    Ive been visiting Cape Town every year (except 2021) since 1989. It is matchless for beauty, food, and friendliness. In all that time I have NEVER witnessed, nor been subjected to, any aggression. I have been a long-time resident of New York, and now, London. I stay as vigilant in those cities as I do in Cape Town. Be smart. Look around. Stay safe.

  5. T
    Tanisha says:

    Kyalitsha is the ****hole of the city

    Cape Town is beautiful, especially table mountain. But be careful, I got bitten by a meerkat and don’t stray too far from the paths, the baboons/monkeys appear cute but don’t get too close- they will attack you, and they’re strangely sexual…..don’t wear anything revealing or tight because they seem to want to mount you. Clifton was gorgeous, but after a night out, I got into a taxi and go taken to Kyalitsha. What a ****ehole! Very dangerous. I was offered drugs in a bar in the centre of Cape Town near the waterfront, which is fine and understandable since I said i was going onto a club, but upon refusal my drink was spiked. I was in a terrible state, vomitting everywhere aloof the dock and lost my shoes. I know I sucked someone off, but really can’t remember who. Be on your guard!

  6. M
    Mike Car says:

    I have visited Cape Town around a dozen times and apart from having my hire car broken into once have always found it quite safe. Like all big cities you have to be careful and yes there are some very desirable areas. We usually stay in Camps Bay which is really upmarket with lovely restaurants and beach. We have visited SimonsTown, Nordhoek, Constanta, The Winelands, Waterfront and most of the sights here. Just be careful as you would walking around your home town after dark and you should be fine. Not sure how it is at the moment as I have heard that theft is on the up due to COVID robbing locals of income.

  7. what is the ANC government in SOUTH AFRICA doing about the crime ,nothing . Must install more cameras like most cities around the world . who wants to invest in a country with high crime .

Rated 3.44 / 5 based on 9 user reviews.

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