is Cape Town safe

Is Cape Town Safe for Tourists in 2024? (Safety Tips from a Local)

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Last Updated on: 16th February 2024, 09:08 am

Is Cape Town safe for travelers?

This is one of the top questions I get asked when people learn that I live in South Africa.

As a born and bred South African, I understand travelers’ concerns about safety in Cape Town. Although I haven’t lived in Cape Town, I visit the city regularly (several times a year). I’ve explored the city independently, with friends and my family (and our young son).

So, I can confidently answer the question… “Is Cape Town safe?”

While crime rates have been an issue in the city, there are steps that can be taken to ensure your trip is safe and enjoyable.

It’s important to be aware of the potential risks and take necessary precautions, but don’t let safety concerns deter you from exploring this beautiful destination.

With some basic knowledge and preparation, Cape Town can be a fantastic place to visit.

Here’s all you need to know if you’ve been wondering if Cape Town is safe for tourists:

Key Takeaways:

  • Crime rates in Cape Town can be high, but there are ways to stay safe while enjoying the city.
  • Being aware of crime hotspots and taking necessary precautions is crucial.
  • Cape Town has safe neighborhoods to visit and plenty of attractions to enjoy.
  • Solo female travelers and pregnant travelers should take extra precautions.
  • Travel insurance is highly recommended when visiting Cape Town.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of them I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you, which allows me to keep this blog up and running!

Is Cape Town safe?

Why is Cape Town Dangerous?

Is Cape Town safe?

To determine the answer, you need to understand the factors that can make Cape Town dangerous; especially for tourists. Once you understand these factors, you can plan your visit in a way that keeps you safe.

As someone who has lived in South Africa my whole life, I know that safety is a top concern for many travelers visiting Cape Town. While the city has a reputation for being dangerous, it’s important to understand the factors contributing to this perception.

Cape Town does have a higher crime rate than many other popular tourist destinations. However, the majority of crime occurs in certain high-risk areas, and visitors who exercise caution can minimize their risk of becoming victims.

Crime in Cape Town is primarily driven by poverty, inequality, and unemployment, contributing to theft, gang violence, and drug-related crime. However, the city has taken steps to address these issues through increased police presence, community initiatives, and urban development programs.

While it’s important to be aware of the safety situation in Cape Town, it’s also important to put things into perspective. Many visitors to the city have safe and enjoyable experiences, and with the right precautions, it’s possible to minimize your risk and enjoy all that Cape Town has to offer.

Exploring the colorful Bo Kaap neighborhood in Cape Town on a rainy day.

Is Cape Town safe?

Safety Tips for Exploring Cape Town

As with any city, there are certain areas in Cape Town that have higher crime rates than others. It’s important to be aware of these “crime hot spots” and take necessary precautions when exploring the city.

Here are some safety precautions Cape Town travelers can take:

  • Never leave your belongings unattended, especially in crowded areas such as markets or on public transport.
  • Be discreet with your valuable possessions, such as jewelry or cameras, and avoid flashing them around in public.
  • Only use reputable taxis or ride-sharing services, and avoid walking alone at night, especially in isolated areas.
  • Keep your phone charged (use an eSim for local coverage) and know emergency phone numbers, such as the South African Police Service (10111) or the Tourist Safety Information Line (0800 12 47 48).
  • Be aware of your surroundings and stay alert at all times.
  • Carry a copy of your passport and keep the original document locked away in a safe at your hotel.
  • If you do need to withdraw money from an ATM, try to use one that is inside a shopping center or other busy area, and be sure to cover the keypad when entering your PIN.

It’s also important to be aware of your surroundings and trust your gut instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s better to be safe than sorry and avoid the situation.

Travel safety tips also include being prepared for emergencies. Make sure you have a basic first-aid kit and any necessary medication with you at all times.

One of my favorite viewpoints in Cape Town.

Is Cape Town safe?

Safe Neighborhoods to Visit in Cape Town

If you’re concerned about safety in Cape Town, several cool neighborhoods are considered safe for tourists.

These areas have relatively low crime rates and offer plenty of attractions and amenities for visitors:

  • V&A Waterfront: This waterfront precinct boasts controlled access, a network of CCTV cameras, and diligent security patrols. Home to the Two Oceans Aquarium, Robben Island Museum, and a major stop on City Sightseeing bus routes, it’s a bustling hub frequented by tourists.
  • Clifton and Camps Bay: These sister neighborhoods, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, provide a splendid and secure backdrop for families. You’ll find luxurious homes and, if you’re lucky, a celebrity or two. With good transportation links and excellent guesthouses, it’s an enticing option.
  • City Bowl: The City Bowl area is a vibrant mix of artists, small enterprises, and young entrepreneurs. It’s home to burgeoning neighborhoods like Garden and Woodstock, offering a blend of nature, culture, and creativity. Here, you can also find great hostels.
  • False Bay: Despite its misleading name, False Bay is a welcoming ex-pat community. Known for its watersports, especially in Muizenberg and Fish Hoek, it’s deemed a safe part of Cape Town’s southern region.

However, these are just a few of the safe neighborhoods in Cape Town. There are plenty of other options too.

Enjoying the view of the V&A Waterfront and Table Mountain from our window at the Victoria & Alfred Hotel.

Is Cape Town safe?

Areas to Avoid in Cape Town for Safety Reasons

Regrettably, not all parts of Cape Town guarantee safety. As a general guideline, neighborhoods with lower socioeconomic status tend to pose higher risks to travelers.

Below are areas you should steer clear of during your visit:

  • Cape Flats: Situated southeast of the CBD, Cape Flats has a history of high crime rates and gang activity. While government interventions have led to some improvements in crime statistics since 2019, it’s still not advisable for tourists.
  • Langa and Nyanga: These historic townships are among the poorest areas in Cape Town, resulting in elevated crime rates. They are not considered safe for tourists.
  • Kraaifontein: With an alarmingly high crime rate, Kraaifontein is best avoided whenever possible. In 2020, over 10,000 crimes were reported in this area.
  • Other Township Areas: Located on the outskirts of Cape Town’s popular neighborhoods, these areas offer a rich cultural experience but are not the safest for tourists, especially when exploring alone.

It’s recommended to have a local guide or a trusted friend accompany you on your visit. If you’d like to see this part of Cape Town, we recommend booking a reliable Township Tour.

Is Cape Town safe?

Is Cape Town Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

As a solo female traveler in Cape Town, I understand the concerns about safety.

Here are some tips to help you stay safe:

  • Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts. If something feels off, trust your gut and remove yourself from the situation.
  • Avoid walking alone at night, especially in quiet or poorly lit areas. Instead, use a reliable transportation option like Uber or a registered taxi.
  • Keep your valuables, including your passport and other important documents, in a safe place like a hotel safe.
  • Don’t flaunt your wealth or belongings in public. Keep expensive jewelry and electronics hidden from view.
  • When out and about, dress conservatively and avoid drawing attention to yourself.
  • Plan your routes in advance and stick to well-lit, crowded areas. Avoid shortcuts that take you through quiet or isolated places.
  • Consider staying in one of the safer neighborhoods, like Camps Bay or Constantia.
  • Keep in touch with someone back home and let them know your itinerary and when to expect to hear from you.

By following these safety tips, you can have a memorable and enjoyable trip to Cape Town without any safety concerns. Remember, as a solo female traveler, your safety is your responsibility, so stay vigilant and prepared.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is a great (and safe) attraction to visit as a solo female traveler or as a family.

Is Cape Town safe?

Is Cape Town Safe to Explore at Night?

One of the most common concerns for travelers visiting Cape Town is safety at night. Which is a shame as the nightlife in Cape Town is amazing!

Here are some safety tips for exploring Cape Town at night:

  • Stick to well-lit and busy areas, and avoid walking alone in quiet or secluded places.
  • Consider using Uber or another reputable taxi service instead of public transport or walking.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and look out for any suspicious behavior or individuals.
  • Avoid wearing flashy jewelry or carrying large amounts of cash, as it can attract unwanted attention.
  • Keep your cell phone charged and easily accessible in case of an emergency.
  • If you plan to drink alcohol, do so responsibly and avoid walking alone or with strangers.

While Cape Town can be a relatively safe city to explore during the day, you don’t want to take a chance at night. It’s crucial to be aware of potential risks and take necessary precautions to ensure your safety.

Is Cape Town safe?

Is Cape Town Safe for Families?


We’ve visited Cape Town with our son since he was 4 months old. We’re even planning to take him to Cape Town’s Two Oceans Aquarium for his 2nd birthday later this year – it’s one of his favorite places!

Cape Town offers a wealth of family-friendly experiences amidst its breathtaking landscapes and vibrant culture. While it’s a fantastic destination for travelers of all ages, safety remains a priority, especially when you’re exploring with your family. The good news is that with some sensible precautions, you can enjoy a memorable and secure adventure together.

Consider booking guided tours and excursions for added peace of mind. Local guides not only offer in-depth knowledge of the region’s attractions but also keep you informed about any safety concerns and ensure a smooth experience. It’s an excellent way to explore Cape Town’s diverse offerings while having a knowledgeable companion by your side.

As you venture out with your family, prioritize well-known family-friendly attractions, such as the Two Oceans Aquarium, the penguins at Boulder’s Bay, Table Mountain, or the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. These spots are not only entertaining but also typically well-maintained and secure for children.

By taking these precautions and staying aware of your surroundings, you can confidently introduce your family to Cape Town’s incredible beauty, rich history, and warm hospitality while ensuring a safe and enjoyable journey for all.

The Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town is a firm favorite for our whole family!

Want a fun family adventure that includes wildlife? Check out our guide to the 6 best Cape Town Safari Tours!

Is Cape Town safe

Is Cape Town Safe for Pregnant Travelers?

As a mother myself, I understand the importance of prioritizing safety while traveling, especially while pregnant. While Cape Town can be a safe destination for travelers with the right precautions, it’s important for expectant mothers to take extra care.

First and foremost, it’s vital to consult with your healthcare provider before traveling to Cape Town. They can provide advice on any necessary vaccinations or precautions to take based on your individual situation.

It’s also important to take extra care when exploring the city. This includes staying in well-lit and public areas, avoiding unfamiliar neighborhoods, and being aware of your surroundings at all times. Carry a fully charged cell phone (use an eSim for local coverage) with emergency contacts programmed into it, and consider using a buddy system while out and about.

When it comes to transportation, choose reputable companies and avoid using unmarked or unfamiliar vehicles. It’s also wise to wear a seatbelt and avoid driving at night when visibility is reduced.

In the unfortunate event that you require medical attention, Cape Town offers quality medical facilities with trained professionals. Keep a list of emergency contact numbers handy, and consider purchasing travel insurance that includes coverage for unexpected medical expenses.

I had my maternity photoshoot in Cape Town (Gordon’s Bay)

Is Cape Town safe

Safety Considerations for Hotels in Cape Town

When it comes to choosing accommodations in Cape Town, safety should be a top priority. While the majority of hotels in the city are safe and take necessary security measures, it’s still important to take precautions to protect yourself and your belongings.

Before booking a hotel, I always research its safety reputation. I check reviews on travel websites and read up on any recent incidents. It’s also a good idea to choose a hotel in a safe neighborhood.

Once you’ve chosen your hotel, familiarize yourself with its security measures. Does it have 24-hour security and surveillance cameras? Does it have a safe for valuables in the room? Knowing these details can help you make informed decisions about your safety.

When staying at the hotel, be sure to keep your room locked and secure at all times. This includes using the deadbolt and chain lock, as well as keeping windows closed and locked. If you have valuables with you, use the safe to store them.

If you have any concerns or notice any suspicious activity, don’t hesitate to contact the hotel staff or security. They are there to ensure your safety and can provide assistance if needed.

The view of Cape Town city center from our family suite at The Onyx Hotel.

Is Cape Town safe?

Map of Our Favorite Hotels in Cape Town

Not sure where to stay in Cape Town? Discover our favorite Luxury Boutique Hotels in Cape Town!

Is Cape Town safe?

Do You Need Travel Insurance?


When planning a trip to Cape Town, it’s important to not only consider the exciting activities and sights you’ll explore but also the safety precautions you’ll need to take. Despite some concerning reports in the media, I personally believe that Cape Town can be a safe destination for travelers, as long as you stay informed and prepared.

One of the most important things to do before your trip is to purchase travel insurance. This can protect you financially in case of unexpected events such as medical emergencies, trip cancellations, or theft. While Cape Town is generally a safe city, it’s always advisable to have that extra protection in case of any unforeseen circumstances.

When choosing a travel insurance plan, be sure to read the fine print and understand what is covered. Look for a comprehensive policy that includes coverage for medical expenses, emergency evacuation, trip cancellation, baggage loss, and theft. You may also want to consider purchasing an upgrade that includes adventure sports coverage if you plan on participating in any extreme activities while in Cape Town.

We recommend SafetyWing for travel insurance when visiting Cape Town!

Is Cape Town safe?

Is Cape Town International Airport Safe?

As someone who has traveled extensively through Cape Town, I understand the concerns that many travelers have regarding safety at the airport. However, I can assure you that Cape Town International Airport is safe and secure.

The airport has implemented several security measures to ensure the safety of all passengers. There are security checkpoints at every entrance, and all bags and passengers are screened before entering the terminal. In addition, the airport has a comprehensive CCTV system, and security personnel are stationed throughout the terminal.

To navigate the airport safely, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings close to you at all times. Avoid leaving your bags unattended and be cautious of anyone who approaches you for assistance or tries to distract you.

If you have any concerns or require assistance, the airport has a dedicated security team who can be reached through one of the many information desks located throughout the terminal.

Overall, Cape Town International Airport is a safe and well-managed airport. By keeping your wits about you and taking necessary precautions, you can ensure a safe and stress-free start to your journey.

Is Cape Town safe?

Comparing Cape Town’s Safety to Johannesburg

As a South African, I am often asked about the safety of Cape Town compared to Johannesburg. While both cities have their safety concerns, Cape Town generally has a lower crime rate than Johannesburg, particularly when it comes to violent crime. According to crime statistics, Johannesburg’s murder rate is almost double that of Cape Town.

It’s important to note that crime can happen anywhere, and Cape Town is not immune to it. However, by taking the right precautions and being aware of your surroundings, you can minimize the risks and enjoy all that Cape Town has to offer.

When it comes to specific crimes, Cape Town and Johannesburg have their own unique challenges. For example, hijackings and smash-and-grab robberies are more common in Johannesburg, while muggings and petty theft are more prevalent in certain areas of Cape Town.

Ultimately, the level of safety in either city depends on various factors, including location, time of day, and personal behavior. It’s always wise to do your research and take extra precautions when exploring any new city.

Is Cape Town safe?

Cape Town’s Overall Safety Reputation

As a South African, I understand the misconceptions around the safety of Cape Town. However, the city has made efforts to enhance safety and protect tourists. While crime certainly exists in Cape Town, it is by no means the most dangerous city in South Africa.

In fact, in a recent study by Numbeo, Cape Town was ranked as the safest city in South Africa. Of course, this doesn’t mean that there is no crime in Cape Town, but it does show that it’s not the crime-ridden city that some may believe it to be.

Efforts have been made to improve safety in Cape Town, such as the city’s CCTV network and the establishment of tourism safety teams. Additionally, initiatives like the Table Mountain Safety Forum aim to enhance safety for visitors to the city.

While it’s important to take necessary precautions and be aware of your surroundings, visitors should not let safety concerns deter them from exploring Cape Town. With the right preparations, Cape Town can be a safe and enjoyable destination.

Is Cape Town safe?

Is Cape Town Safe FAQs

Is Cape Town Safe for Travelers?

Yes, Cape Town can be a safe destination for travelers if you take the necessary precautions.

How safe is Cape Town?

Like any city, Cape Town has areas with higher crime rates. However, by staying in safe neighborhoods, being cautious, and following common-sense safety measures, you can enjoy your trip without major issues.

What safety tips should I follow while exploring Cape Town?

When exploring Cape Town, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas. Avoid displaying expensive items, keep your belongings secure, and stick to well-lit and busy streets at night. Stay vigilant and trust your instincts.

Which are the safest neighborhoods to visit in Cape Town?

Some of the safest neighborhoods in Cape Town for tourists include Camps Bay, Sea Point, and the V&A Waterfront. These areas have lower crime rates and offer a variety of attractions for visitors.

Is Cape Town safe to explore at night?

While Cape Town does have areas that can be less safe at night, there are still plenty of places that are safe to explore after dark. Stick to well-lit and busy areas, use reliable transportation, and avoid wandering into unfamiliar neighborhoods.

How can I ensure hotel safety in Cape Town?

To ensure hotel safety in Cape Town, choose reputable accommodations with good security measures in place. Use the hotel safe for your valuables, lock your room when you’re not inside, and follow any additional safety guidelines provided by the hotel.

Do I need travel insurance when visiting Cape Town?

It is highly recommended to have travel insurance when visiting Cape Town. Travel insurance provides coverage for medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost or stolen belongings. Make sure to choose a comprehensive policy that suits your needs.

Is Cape Town safer than Johannesburg?

Cape Town generally has a lower crime rate compared to Johannesburg. However, it’s important to note that safety can vary depending on the specific areas within each city. It’s always advisable to stay informed about the current safety situation and take necessary precautions.


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8 Best Hotels in Stellenbosch for a Luxury Stay in the Cape Winelands

Is Cape Town safe?

So, is Cape Town Safe to Visit?

Yes! Book your trip to Cape Town!

Overall, while there may be some safety concerns in Cape Town, it’s important to not let them overshadow the beauty and cultural experiences the city has to offer. With the right preparation and vigilance, you can enjoy all that Cape Town and South Africa have to offer.

South Africa Travel Planning Guide

Do I need travel insurance for South Africa?
YES — With basic coverage averaging just $5-10 USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from SafetyWing, one of the biggest names in travel insurance.

Is it safe to rent a car in South Africa?
Yes — Renting a car in South Africa is one of the best ways to see the country and the safest way to get around! I always rent with Discover Cars, which checks both international companies and local South African companies, so you get the best rates.

Will my phone work in South Africa?
Maybe — It depends on your company, so check with your provider. If you don’t have free South African service, buy an Airalo eSim for local coverage.

What’s the best way to book my South African accommodations?
For South African hotels, is usually the best site but you can also check TripAdvisor for a larger variety of local options. If you’re considering a South African Airbnb, don’t forget to check VRBO, which is often cheaper than Airbnb.

What’s the best site to buy South African flights?
For finding cheap South African flights, I recommend using the WayAway App to search and find the best deals – plus you’ll get cashback on your purchases! (Read more)

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