November 29, 2013
Safety First This Festive Season!
Editor's Note: This article was first published on December 21, 2011.
Summer in the Mother City is the most anticipated season of the year. Of course, Cape Town is fabulous all year round but how we love the sunshine, cocktails by the sea, picnics in the park and happy, smiling faces.
The hot season is the time to be outdoors, on holiday, sharing experiences with friends and family; however, when visiting Cape Town – as in any major city the world over - visitors should take certain personal safety precautions.
Here are some basic tips to ensure you remain unscathed on holiday:
- Avoid carrying large sums of cash, luxury items and cameras in plain sight when out and about and do not allow strangers to assist you in any way at cash withdrawal machines.
- Be constantly aware of your surroundings, walking assertively and confidently, and making eye contact with passers-by.
- Heed the advice of your hosts and tourism authorities on places to avoid after dark. Be sure to park in a secure, well-lit area and take care at isolated lookout points, checking for anything out of place. Do not venture into unknown areas alon
- Street children and beggars may approach you for a handout. Many social workers counsel against giving money to them as it just perpetuates the cycle of poverty and crime and promotes begging. If you wish to do good, rather give them food or donate your change to a registered charity.
Outdoor look out tips:
- When making use of Table Mountain National Park, we recommend the use of a qualified mountain guide. Alternatively, make sure you take a Table Mountain map, comfortable walking shoes, a few friends and a charged cellphone.
- Always use sunblock (at least factor 15), limit your exposure to direct sunlight between 10h00 and 16h00 as this is when the sun is at its hottest, and drink lots of water.
- Make sure you are also prepared for weather that can change rapidly, as it does in Cape Town, with something warm to wear.
- Keep to demarcated paths and start making your way down the mountain well before dark.
- At the beach, you also need to be vigilant about using sunblock (at least factor 15) and limiting your exposure to direct sunlight between 10h00 and 16h00. Do not swim directly after a meal and watch how far out you swim.
- Cape Town’s beaches on False Bay are monitored by the Shark Spotter programme. A total of 21 shark spotters are deployed between Muizenberg and Glencairn. A flag and alarm system are used to warn beach users of a shark’s whereabouts – please adhere to all signals.
- Keep an eye out for rip tides ( this happens when the river of current pulls back from the beach and flows faster than we can swim ). For full rip tide safety measures, click here.
- On the road, hitchhiking is not recommended. When driving, stick to the speed limit, wear your seatbelt, keep valuable items out of sight and keep doors locked. Note that using your cellphone while driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol, are illegal.
- After a night on the town there are affordable, recognised transport services available to take you home: Rikki’s (+27 (0)861 745 547), Sea Point Original Radio Taxis (+27 (0)21 447 4444), and Excite Taxis (+27 (0)21 418 4444), as well as buddy chauffeur services such as Goodfellas - if you are a member they will collect you from your venue and drive you and your car home (+27 (0)861 433 552).