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The Culture Guide: 5 Things You Should Not Do When Visiting South Africa

No matter where your travels take you in the world, the last thing you want to do is act like a tourist. And that goes double when traveling to South Africa. Tourists often end up an easy target for opportunistic criminals – and run the risk of getting into trouble otherwise. Thankfully, you can avoid all that by simply using these tips on five things you should never do while visiting South Africa.  

Don’t Be Impatient 

Slow and steady is the way to go while visiting South Africa. The big city hustle just doesn’t fly here. Instead, you want to bring all the patience in the world as you travel the roadways and stop in at venues along the way.

Traffic moves at a slow pace almost everywhere, so give yourself extra time to get from place to place. Then, add even more time to your stops, especially while eating out at popular restaurants. Service comes just as slowly as everything else.

Never Flash Your Valuables

Jewelry, electronics, and other valuables serve as a homing beacon for opportunistic individuals looking for a quick score. You’re especially at risk if you end up visiting a relatively bad neighborhood with your valuables out in the open.

Overall, it’s best to just leave all your jewelry at home. Yes, that includes your wedding ring. And while you should carry a cellphone, try to keep it out of sight, out of mind, as you enjoy exploring the cityscape.

Avoid Visiting Dark Alleyways

As you travel across South Africa, remember the risk of falling victim to theft, assault, and worse increases under the cloak of darkness. If you can end your adventures before nightfall, that’s often best.

You can enjoy all your accommodations have to offer after that, and then hit the road bright and early the next morning. If not, then at least stick to well-lit passageways along the city streets. Dark alleyways are a no go always.

Don’t Skip the Sun Protection

The sun shines brightly across South Africa more often than not. While that’s part of the allure, the harsh sun rays can also put a damper on your trip, especially if you get sunburnt.

To stay protected, be sure to put on sunblock at the start of the day. Then, reapply it every two hours after that. Consider wearing UV-protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses as well.

Never Get Too Close to Wildlife

At least one safari tour is a must while visiting South Africa. You’ll get to see elephants, rhinoceros, buffalo, giraffes, wild dogs, warthogs, kudu, and so much more. Cheetahs, lions, and other big cats are common sights as well.

Although it’s tempting to try to get a closeup, even the most docile wild animals can prove deadly. So, heed your guide’s warnings and stay in the vehicle at all times. Never attempt to get too close to the animals or you might end up in serious danger before you know it.

If you’re ever unsure how to be while visiting a new place, like South Africa, pop into a local eatery and ask the owners for advice. They know just how tourists can avoid trouble and can provide key insights into all the best sights in the region.