Mumsnet Logo
My feed

to access all these features

Welcome to Mumsnet's holiday forum. Discuss all international travel here, including both shorthaul and longhaul trips. Related topics: UK holidays & day trips, skiing, camping & campervans.


Can anyone tell me about South Africa?

88 replies

TumtumTree · 17/10/2021 10:07

We have always wanted to go to South Africa and are thinking about a trip next year (Covid restrictions permitting).

I remember a few months ago there were terrible reports of looting and violence relating to the trial of the ex president Zuma. Is this likely to recur? The foreign office website doesn't mention it being a problem. Is it safe to travel there?

OP posts:

ArcherDog · 18/10/2021 14:30

In 2019, me and my sister backpacked along the Garden Route of SA from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town.

We had no issues. Never felt unsafe at all.
Had a fantastic time.


Andante57 · 18/10/2021 14:33

Fair enough.
When I visited I thought it an unbelievably beautiful place and I hope it one day gets the government that the country and its people deserve.


Triffid1 · 18/10/2021 14:42


Fair enough.
When I visited I thought it an unbelievably beautiful place and I hope it one day gets the government that the country and its people deserve.

Amen to that!

ReviewingTheSituation · 18/10/2021 15:03

Echoing lots of other posters - it's a fabulous place which is well worth visiting.
We went to Cape Town (staying somewhere very near nice restaurants so we didn't have to go far at night, but it was also easy and cheap to get taxis), then to Franschoek, which felt very safe indeed, then to a park for 3 days safari (a long drive, but through amazing scenery). Then we went to Hermanus, also v safe. Finally we went to Simonstown, where we had an AirBnb. I never felt unsafe as such, but it's a suburb of Cape Town, and has a very different dynamic from the more rural/coastal towns (which were affluent and traded hugely on tourism). Simonstown is just a 'normal' place, and has more societal diversity and some deprivation, so you just had to have your wits about you.

But I'd go back and do it all again in a heartbeat- it's a stunning place.


DampSquidGames · 18/10/2021 15:16

I’ve been to Cape Town twice, I loved it there. It’s my favourite place in the world.


ajandjjmum · 18/10/2021 15:17

We had the most amazing family holiday ever around 10 years ago. A few days in Cape Town then flew to J'berg when we went on an organised tour of Alexandra township, Apartheid Museum, Lillesleaf Farm with an amazing organisation called 'Spear of the Nation'.

We flew to Zambia and spent a couple of days at Victoria Falls before returning to J'berg and travelling to Singita Sabi Sands for the most incredible few days ever.

We were conscious of the security situation, particularly in J'berg, and there were a couple of 'edgy' moments, but on the whole we felt safe within our 'tourist bubble' - it was our best family holiday ever.

On a different note, both of my DC did school exchanges with schools on the East coast, which was a wonderful experience for them both.


TumtumTree · 18/10/2021 15:28

Thank you so much everyone - this is all really interesting and useful.

isthismylifenow - yes I do have DC (teens).

OP posts:

earsup · 18/10/2021 15:35

Beef or Cow...??...!!


Anoisagusaris · 18/10/2021 15:46

Had a fantastic holiday there about 15 years ago….Cape Town, wine lands, Garden Route, whale watching, game reserve. All totally touristy but amazing.


bebarkered · 18/10/2021 15:54

I would LOVE to go to South Africa, it looks AMAZING! Have you seen it on A Place in the Sun?


JayAlfredPrufrock · 18/10/2021 22:20

And so cheap. 20 rand to the pound at the moment.


JayAlfredPrufrock · 18/10/2021 22:22

I’m desperate to book for January but relatives have suggested I wait until December to see if they have a fourth wave after the Matric parties.


Hbh17 · 18/10/2021 22:26

Went on my own to Cape Town in 2010 & it was great. Took taxis, which are cheap.
Went on safari with husband in 2015 - best holiday we've ever had. Admittedly, we spent a small fortune to go with a high-end company, but worth every penny. If you want to maximise your chances to see all the animals in the Kruger, our summer (SA winter) is best time to go.


maz82 · 18/10/2021 22:37

My DP is from South Africa but has lived in UK for the past 20 years. We went out there in 2019. I was apprehensive at first as I didn't know what to expect but omg what a holiday. We went for 16 days and it was amazing. I'm itching to go back as soon as possible. The scenery was amazing and not once did I feel unsafe. I would definitely reccomend going!


AnnieSnap · 18/10/2021 22:54


Yes, just the toad trip, not the crime and the deaths 😂🤣

This made me laugh AnnieSnap Grin

In my younger pre-dc days my then dh-to-be (now ex dh) took a few weeks out and drove over 6000kms around the a Beetle! With no air con!!

I have travelled and backpacked to many countries in the world, but that trip was one of the most memorable. There is just something about exploring your own turf, parts that you did not even know existed. We drove through Transkei (as it was in the day), earlier that day we had bought a pocket of oranges from someone on the side of the road, I think we stopped for an avocado and ended up with the back seat full of fruit Grin. By the time we had driven through one of the towns, we had NO oranges left. 10kgs we handed out the window to the children as we passed through. The little kiddies heard us coming (not hard in that car) and all came out to greet us. So we handed out oranges as we went. The joy on those childrens faces is something I will not forget. They danced and sang and they all waved for us to stop off and come into their homes. We couldn't, as much as we would have loved to (we had to travel according to the temp of the day with an air cooled car).

Just one of the experiences that will stay with me forever.

I am quite sure you have equally great memories from your 3 weeks trip.

That sounds wonderful @isthismylifenow 🙂 I have travelled a quite widely too and my trip in SA was by far my favourite 🙂

TaleOfTheContinents · 18/10/2021 23:12

I'm from South Africa and was never the victim of crime when I lived there. My (British) DH works in travel and has had hundreds of customers travel there and none have ever reported a crime.

We've travelled to lots of dangerous countries, including Honduras and El Salvador which have the highest crime rates in the world. In all of them, you just need to be sensible - don't walk around at night and stick to well frequented places in the day; stay in a popular tourist area; don't wave expensive items around (that includes nice phones and big cameras); leave flashy jewellery at home; limit the cash you carry on you.

With all travel scare-mongering, including fears over Zika etc, I always try to remember that millions of people go about their daily lives there with no trouble.

P.S. You'll absolutely love it! I've travelled to over 40 countries and it's still one of the most beautiful (I'll admit I'm biased)!


LisforLemon · 18/10/2021 23:38

We had one of our best ever holidays in SA about 15 years ago with 3 dc under 4. We rented a house in Constantia, Cape Town for a week, had trips to Franshoek (vineyards!) and the beaches (penguins) and Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope (zebras), then went to our friends' wedding at a private nature reserve near Robertson(?) near Paarl(baboons by the road)... then drove Garden Route to Addo National Park (had to see elephants if in Africa!) which had so many amazing animals and stayed in B&B and visited Port Elizabeth, then back to Cape Town via some people we'd met at the wedding who lived in the amazing countryside near George. Honestly, it was fab. Drive on the left, so that was easy, English spoken everywhere so that was easy but lots of language interest too. We just had a great time. We did have one wrong g turn experience where we thought we'd better not linger here, but that was it. Mostly out of Cape Town it seemed more relaxed about security. We knew from our friends that there was a lot of petty crime around and we were very pickpocket aware. We'd love to go back and the two who were under 2 remember nothing so they are keen too!


shepabear · 18/10/2021 23:39

I lived in SA for four years and absolutely loved it - although yes it's very different living there than to visiting it for a holiday. Despite all we know about the violence and crime, we would absolutely go back in a heartbeat for a holiday. It is so beautiful, the food is incredible, the wine delicious and both Cape Town and Kruger are stunning. Honestly, I think about it all the time and am desperate to go back. The food is really cheap there compared to the UK and is of very high quality, you can eat very well for not a lot of money. And safari can be done on the cheap as well as by splashing out if you are prepared to do self drive safari at Kruger (amazing but can be a bit scary when faced with an angry male elephant in musth!). Private game reserves like Madikwe (near the Botswana border) are expensive but very worth it. Cape Town is my favorite city ever, and the wine land towns like Stellenbosch, Franschoek and Paarl are worth a weekend trip for tasting delicious wines and eating good food. And the whale watching in Hermanus if you got at the right time of year is amazing. I don't work for the South Africa tourist board I promise! But if you go it will definitely be up there as one of your best ever holidays.


WhatMattersMost · 18/10/2021 23:47

I lived there for 23 years - mainly Cape Town. Unless you've been there, you won't know how deeply it gets under your skin. There are risks; there are mitigations. I've booked my flights to go back there next March for two weeks and I cannot wait.


Discwriter · 18/10/2021 23:55

Oh my, just reading this makes me want to book the next flight to CPT. It is do beautiful and yes, it does get under your skin. I also agree with pp that as a tourist staying in hotels you should be fine, don't go far or do stuff at night.


VienneseWhirligig · 19/10/2021 09:03

I went to Cape Town in Feb 2020 just before lockdown, it was one of the best holidays of my life. We stayed by the convention centre, a short water bus ride away from the V&A where all the restaurants are, and it felt safe because of the security but we didn't stray from the beaten track in the city. We visited Hermanus, Llangollen, Cape Point, Franschoek, Stellenbosch, and had such a good time. I'd go back tomorrow if I could.


JayAlfredPrufrock · 19/10/2021 13:18

This is the sort of thing you have to put up with.

Can anyone tell me about South Africa?

TumtumTree · 19/10/2021 14:26

That's awesome JayAlfredPrufrock!

OP posts:

Triffid1 · 19/10/2021 14:35

@TumtumTree to be clear, that's only in a game farm. Not just on a normal city road (when younger, we were asked this all the time "do you have pet lions" or "do you see elephants at school" Grin)

But even on a game farm, it can be annoying


Palavah · 19/10/2021 14:41


Andante57 so you're not actually south african or visited? I think scaremongering without real information isn't terribly helpful personally

Triffid I’m not South African but I have visited many moons ago.shortly after the end of Apartheid.
Dh’ s ex employer lived there until he’d had enough of the violence and feeling unsafe. His house was robbed and the dogs chopped up. The priest who lived down the road was locked in his safe for a weekend. Every house looks like a high security gaol.
Do you think nobody should find fault with Dubai unless they’ve they’ve been there?

Well no, they aren't qualified to comment on the safety of Dubai as a destination or suitability for a holiday.

Object to the government if you like, without visiting, but you can't claim to know what it's like to be there.
Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

We're all short on time

Log in or sign up to use the 'See Next' or 'See all' posts by the OP (Original Poster) and cut straight to the action.

Already signed up?

Sign up to continue reading

Mumsnet's better when you're logged in. You can customise your experience and access way more features like messaging, watch and hide threads, voting and much more.

Already signed up?