Cape Town makes it onto a 'no go' travel list, but it's not about tourists' safety

2019-11-20 14:45
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Soon you'll be inundated with travel lists populated by amazing destinations for 2020, but some destinations might need a pause before you press the book button.

Veteran travel guide Fodor's has released their annual Go List for 2020, featuring some African destinations like Accra, the Skeleton Coast in Namibia, Beirut and Ethiopia.

READ: SA wants to make tourists feel safer, with most recent incidents to shape National Tourism Safety Strategy 

However, they also released their No List, featuring destinations that are dangerous, facing environmental degradation, struggling with overtourism and is facing certain ethical considerations  - and South Africa's Cape Town unfortunately made it to the list.

While you might think that it's on the list because of tourist safety, Fodor's highlights a different reason - the safety of locals in townships and, specifically, the Cape Flats.

"While tourists might never see the neighborhood just southeast of the CBD, 'apartheid‘s dumping ground' is home to much of the population of Greater Cape Town," says Fodor's.

"For comparison’s sake, Nyanga in Cape Flats had 308 murders in 2018 and the Mitchells Plain suburb had 140 murders, while central Cape Town, where tourists stroll, eat, and shop had just eight."

This dark side of Cape Town was propelled into the international spotlight earlier this year when it experienced prolific murder sprees, mostly gang-related, which prompted the deployment of the army into the Cape Flats. 

But on the sandy beaches of Camps Bay or the piers of the waterfront, it might as well have happened in a different country. 

SEE: The world's best cities to live in - and where Cape Town, Durban and Jo'burg rank 

Other destinations and activities that made it onto the list include Barcelona, the Hanoi Train Street in Vietnam, climbing Matterhorn, and the Galapagos National Park. They also highlighted that one should do some research about hotel brands, what kind of campaigns the owners back and whether you agree with their stances.

However, Fodor's explains that the list is more about highlighting the issues facing these destinations, and that visitors have to make up their own mind.

"As such, being featured on the No List is not a scarlet letter. Rather, it’s a promise that when we do cover the destinations mentioned here – all of which are, truly, wondrous places – we’ll be doing so responsibly, warts and all."

READ: Trump heading to Cape Town? What he might say about our top attractions 

Here's Fodor's full list of places that should give you pause before you make your booking.


Barcelona, Spain

Big Sur, California

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Bali, Indonesia

Hanoi Train Street, Vietnam

WATCH: 6 Countries to visit before they get too popular

Risky activities

Drinking contaminated alcohol in Mexico and Costa Rica

Elephant rides in Thailand 

Climbing Matterhorn, Switzerland 

READ: SATSA's Animal Interaction Guidelines draw a clear line in the sand 

Environmental degradation

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Parque Nacional Arrecife de Cozumel, Mexico

SEE: Your sunscreen may be killing coral reefs 

Tourist tax hike

Galapágos National Park, Ecuador

Komodo Island, Indonesia

READ: The Serengeti is straining under overtourism

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