Festive season safety: Here's all your need-to-know travel info

2017-12-19 12:33
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Cape Town - Travelling can sometimes be stressful and tiring - and coupled with a busy time of year when theft and scams are prominent means that travellers are easy targets, especially when in a foreign territory.

To help you enjoy a smooth vacation with your loved ones this festive season, here are tips, warnings and information you need to know. From ensuring blissful beach days to making sure that you are also a responsible tourist, here's what you need to know:

Road trips

Travellers are advised to plan their journeys carefully and avoid last minute rush and late night driving.

The rainy weather is another risk in some parts of the country in this period and motorists must adjust their speed in consideration of wet road conditions. Click here to keep up to date with your local weather

Government has partnered with Community Safety Councils in every province to bolster its efforts to reduce road crashes. There will also be an a 24-hour shift for traffic officers this year over the festive season peak period.

SEE: Stay safe this festive season: Here’s your emergency need-to-know info

Officials are expected to be tough with those who drink and drive on the roads.  Motorists can expect to be stopped at mobile testing stations where officials will test the roadworthiness of their cars. Drivers will also be tested for alcohol levels at all road safety law enforcement activations. 

Click here for more details on road safety.

Public transport + Uber

Public transport was also given a warning to ensure they comply with all road regulations for their sector. Public transport would receive special attention because minibus vehicles and buses account for about 10% of motor vehicles that get involved in fatal crashes on South Africa roads.

ALSO SEE: City of Cape Town launches safety plan ahead of festive season

Meanwhile Uber has initiated driver safety sessions at their Greenlight Hubs over the last two months in major African cities. Together with police representatives and safety experts, the ride-sharing platform equipped drivers with safety tips specific to them. This is especially important following the violent conflict drivers have experienced with metered taxis this year. Click here for rider and driver safety tips.

SEE: Safety tips for your festive Uber rides

Beach safety

With more holidaymakers expected to flock to South Africa's beautiful coastal areas, authorities are taking greater measures to ensure that there's an increase of lifeguards at beaches, and that more awareness is created around beach safety this summer holiday.

With the festive season in full swing, the City of Cape Town has cautioned the public to stay safe this summer, as more than two million people flock to the city’s beaches during the peak summer season each year, and it is increasing the number of lifeguards at beaches.

MUST-SEE: Summer Safety: How to turn the tide on beach dramas this festive season

Following similar precautions, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) launched a Tourism Ambassador Programme that will be an integral part of the City's safety and security at its beaches over the festive season. 

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) is also encouraging the public to be environmentally and socially-aware during their beach visits this summer holiday. This means not only ensuring beach safety but also showing respect to fellow beach-goers and the coastal environment, and following the rules and laws at respective beaches. See how to ensure safety at the beach here.

SEE: Festive season: SA beaches increase safety, more lifeguards in Cape Town

Water crisis

This year the Mother City had to consider contingency plans to accommodate the drought crisis and its impact on normal operations. Only one-third of all swimming pools open and the number of beach lifeguards in anticipation has been increased.

Be a responsible tourist

The onus is also on visitors to ensure that they take necessary measures to have a comfortable and enjoyable vacation. A responsible tourist will respect human rights, preserve the natural environment and be open to other cultures and traditions when travelling. Click here to find out how you can be a responsible tourist.

ALSO SEE: 2018 in Public Holidays: Do your leave planning like a pro

Who to call In Case of Emergency 

Report incidents to either the South African Police Services (10111) or the National Traffic Call Centre (NTCC) on 012 665 6075

Arrive Alive can be contacted on 0861 400 800 to report cases of bad driving, as well as poor road conditions.

The Automobile Association Rescue can be reached on 080 001 0101

For emergencies, you can call 112 from any cell phone in South Africa. You will then reach a call centre and they will route you to an emergency service closest to you.

Traveller24 Tip: Download the new emergency resonder app MySOS. It's a one-stop solution for access to the closest and most appropriate emergency services in South Africa. Be sure to link up your family and friends to strengthen the network of assistance. Read more about MySOS and how it works.

Save these emergency numbers on your cell phone:

  • South African Police Service and National Emergency Response 
    Phone: 10111
    Phone from cell phone: 112 (automated response)
  • Ambulance Services
    Emergency - Ambulance Phone 10177
    Emergency - From Cell phone 112 (automated response)
  • Netcare
    Phone 021 981 9890
    Missing Children Emergency 
    Phone 072 647 7464
  • National Sea Rescue Institute 
    NSRI Cape Town - Phone 021 449-3500
    NSRI Saldhana - Phone 022 714-1726
    NSRI Mossel Bay - Phone 044 604-6271
    NSRI Port Elizabeth - Phone 041 507-1911
    NSRI East London - Phone 043 700-2100
    NSRI Durban - Phone 031 361-8567
    NSRI Richard's Bay - Phone 035 753-1991
  • NSRI Inland Dams and Lakes 
    Vaal Dam – Dick Manten – 083 626 5128
    Hartbeespoort Dam – Rod Pitter – 082 990 5961
    Victoria Lake – Graham Hartlett – 082 441 6989
    Witbank Dam – Dean Wegerle – 060 962 2620
  • SANParks - Table Mountain National Park
    In case of emergencies - Phone 021 957 4700
  • SANParks - Kruger National Park 
    In case of emergencies - Phone 013 735 4325
  • SANParks general call centre 
    Phone 012 428 9111
  • Airports emergency numbers: 
    Bloemfontein International  - Phone 051 433 2901
    Cape Town International - Phone 021 935 9745
    Durban International  - Phone 031 408 1990
    Polokwane International - Phone 015 288 0083
    OR Tambo International - Phone 011 941 6200
    Lanseria International - Phone 011 659 1229
    Kruger Mpumalanga International - Phone 013 750 2937 
    Pilanesberg Airport - Phone 014 552 2320
    Port Elizabeth Airport - Phone 041 404 8323 or 082 809 5237/38
    Upington Airport - Phone 054 332 3117/8 or 076 987 3944 

ALSO: Check-outTraveller24's Find Your Escape section for Top events and things to do across SA.