South Africa in detail

Women Travelers

Attitudes Towards Women

There's a high level of sexual assault and other violence against women in South Africa, the majority of which occurs in townships and rural areas. Given the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the problem is compounded by the transfer of infection.

Safety Precautions

  • Many women travel alone safely in South Africa.
  • The risk depends on where you go and what you do: riskiest (and not recommended) are hiking alone, driving after dark, hitching and picking up hitchers.
  • On the coast, casual dress is the norm, but elsewhere it's culturally appropriate to dress modestly (full-length clothes that aren't tight)
  • Don't go out alone in the evenings on foot; always take a taxi, preferably with others.
  • Even during the day, avoid isolated areas, roadsides and quiet beaches.
  • Carry a mobile phone if you'll be driving by yourself.
  • Consider buying a can of pepper spray or similar to keep with you.