Being safe out there

As with other global city regions, Gauteng experiences some crime. To reduce the incidence of crime, many initiatives have been put in place, and dialogue between the relevant public and private bodies is ongoing. Here are a number of useful tips aimed at keeping you safe while you enjoy the many attractions Gauteng has to offer …

At the airport

  1. Make sure your bags and luggage are locked and do not place valuables in unlocked, zipped side compartments. A luggage wrapping service is offered at major airports, including OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, where your bag can be wrapped in plastic to prevent tampering.
  2. Do not leave your belongings unattended.
  3. Be wary of staged mishaps, such as people bumping into you, as this may be an attempt to divert your attention while an accomplice commits robbery.
  4. Carry your purse/wallet close to your body.
  5. Be wary of transport touts, who approach you at the airport offering their services. Only use clearly marked taxis and find out which companies offer legitimate services at the official information desks at the airport. Most accommodation establishments offer transfer services to and from the airport. The convenient Gautrain – a modern, high-speed rail link – another transport option if you’re travelling between OR Tambo International Airport and Sandton, Rosebank or Pretoria.

At your accommodation

  1. Do not leave your luggage unattended and ensure that only a member of staff assists you.
  2. Lock your luggage in your room and keep your valuables in the hotel safe deposit box, or room safe.
  3. Keep your room locked at all times.
  4. Hand in your room key or key card when you go out and inform the receptionist as to your whereabouts.
  5. Most hotels have safety and security information available and will be able to advise on local areas to avoid.

On the streets

  1. Plan your route beforehand and do not stop in remote areas.
  2. Do not stop to ask directions or check your map on the street; rather head for a petrol station – where it is common to get directions when lost – or a public area.
  3. Arrange outings through your accommodation establishment, nearest tourism office, or via a tour operator. Book through accredited establishments that have memberships and affiliations with associations such as the Association of Southern African Travel Agents, the Southern African Tourism Services Association, or the South African Tour Operators’ Association.
  4. Do not carry large sums of money with you or display jewellery.
  5. Do not walk alone at night.

At banks and ATMs

  1. Refuse assistance from strangers trying to “help” you while conducting a transaction.
  2. Ensure you have your bank’s number so you can call and cancel your card immediately if it gets stuck or retained by the automatic teller machine (ATM).
  3. Do not allow people to see that you are carrying cash and rather put your money away while you are at the bank counter.
  4. Ensure that you are not being followed when you leave the bank or ATM.
  5. When putting in your personal identity number (PIN) code at an ATM, hide your selection by covering the keypad.

On the road

  1. Hire a vehicle with a satellite navigation device or acquire a map and study it before you go on your trip. Check the safety of the area you are visiting through your accommodation establishment or a tourist information bureau before you leave.
  2. Lock all valuables in the trunk of your car rather than having them visible in the vehicle. Keep the doors locked and do not wind the windows down more than a few centimetres.
  3. Remain alert and aware at all times, especially at traffic lights (commonly called “robots”) and in parking garages.
  4. Do not accept lifts from people unknown to you. Rather use an official taxi service and keep their number with you.
  5. If you are in an accident of any sort and feel uncomfortable, rather signal to the driver to follow you to the nearest police station or a busy, well-lit area where you feel safe to get out of the car.
  6. Park in well-lit areas at night.
  7. Car hijacking remains a concern, especially at intersections and on- and off-ramps at highways, so remain vigilant and keep a safe distance between your car and the cars in front of and behind you, keep your door locked and be wary of people approaching you.

Emergency numbers

  • Any emergency (from a mobile phone): 112
  • Ambulance: 10177
  • Netcare 911 (life-threatening emergencies): +27 (0)82911
  • Fire: 10177
  • Nationwide emergency response: 10111
  • Automobile Association (emergency roadside assistance): +27 (0)861 000 234
  • City of Johannesburg emergency connect: +27 (0)11 3755 911
  • National Tourism Information Centre: +27 (0)860 121 929
  • OR Tambo International Airport: +27 (0)11 921 6262
  • OR Tambo International Airport – arrivals and departures: +27 (0)86 727 7888
  • Local number enquiries: 1023
  • International number enquiries: 10903
  • Child protection/domestic violence/sexual offences unit: +27 (0)11 403 3413
  • Fire brigade: +27 (0)11 375 5911
  • Poison information helpline (national): +27 (0) 861 555 777
  • The Tourism Child Protection Code of Conduct: +27 (0)12 342 2945

Report an incident

In the unfortunate event that you are affected by a crime or incident of another nature, please report the incident to the Tourism Business Council of South Africa’s Tourism Safety Initiative.

The Tourism Safety Initiative is a tourism safety information portal and trade support programme. It is a private sector initiative which aims to address safety and security challenges. The portal contains useful information, including explaining the importance of tourism incident reporting.

To report an incident directly via the TSI’s easy-to-use portal, visit or visit for a tutorial.

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