If you’re travelling to Cape Town for the first time, we would suggest you get all the necessary information ahead of your trip. Here you will find some useful information on health, safety and other matters of interest. For more detailed information please visit https://travelwise.capetown.travel/
Cape Town is a major, modern cosmopolitan South African city. As such, we would advise travellers to exercise the same level of vigilance they would exercise when visiting any major city in the world.
This includes ensuring you follow basic safety tips such as keeping emergency numbers on hand, avoiding carrying large sums of cash and keeping your valuables safe at all times.
High-quality tap (faucet) water is available across the city and it is both palatable and safe to drink. The quality of the food is excellent, and Cape Town has some of the top restaurants in the world.
Medical facilities in Cape Town are world-class. There is an excellent network of both state and private hospitals. If you’re an adult, you won’t need any inoculations unless you’re travelling from a yellow-fever endemic area, in which case you will need certification to prove your inoculation status when you arrive in the country. Cape Town is a malaria-free area.
As beautiful as it is, Cape Town is situated in a water-scarce part of the world and is susceptible to periodic droughts – such as the one experienced in 2017/2018. Thankfully, however, due to seasonal rains and water management initiatives, that crisis is over. We encourage you to be mindful of water. Light water restrictions remain, such as the use of ground water or rain water to top up swimming pools. Everyone is asked to be mindful of water usage and are encouraged to conserve this resource to ensure that the city’s remains highly unlikely to run out of water
With a mountain range as its backbone, Cape Town offers some of the most spectacular hiking routes in the world. A party of four is recommended, but if you’re travelling alone, hike with a qualified adventure tour guide from a reputable company like Hike Table Mountain, Table Mountain Treks and Tours, or Mother City Hikers.
Take enough water (at least a 1.5L bottle or two per person) and wear sunblock, proper hiking shoes, and a hat. Stick to established trails and always inform someone at your hotel or in your family of your intended route and your expected time of return.
We all want to help the less fortunate. Rather than giving money, you can donate to various night shelters to help give a bed to someone in need or support by buying a copy of the Big Issue. This non-profit organisation creates jobs for those in need and offers various training programmes too. When you buy a copy from a Big Issue vendor, the money goes straight to them. You can also support the Give Responsibly initiative that gives money to various organisations in Cape Town who help the underprivileged.
There is a growing number of tourists worldwide who want to make meaningful contributions in the countries and cities they visit. This often takes the form of “voluntourism”, where travellers get involved in projects ranging from social upliftment to conservation. It’s important to be aware of the issues in the area you are volunteering so that you can choose an organisation that makes a positive impact on the people, environment, flora, and fauna in Cape Town.
Sustainable Tourism is a way to make sure you are truly supporting the area you are visiting. Research the culture of the area you intend to visit before arriving at your destination. Talk to locals, employ local tour guides, and stay in accommodation establishments that have invested in the local community.
Do not take natural keepsakes, such as shells and indigenous flowers, when spending time outdoors. Make sure the seafood you want to buy and eat is not on the list of endangered species. Please don’t litter, feed any animals, or disturb the wildlife when out in nature.
Online Safety & Emergency Contacts
As with any large city, there are instances of accommodation fraud – where visitors are duped into paying for accommodation online that is not available for rental. Check with Cape Town Tourism if you are unsure if an online listing is legitimate.
Emergency Numbers To Save:
Emergencies from a mobile: 112
Emergencies from a landline: 107
South African Police Service: 10111
Medical & Fire Emergencies: 021 535 1100
Table Mountain NP Emergencies: 021 480 7700
Sea & Mountain Rescue: 021 948 9900
National Sea Rescue Institute: 082 911
Baboon Monitors: 071 588 6540
Shark Spotters: 078 174 4244