SA summer safety: What you need to know to keep safe this holiday season

2015-11-25 12:56 - Louzel Lombard
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Cape Town - With the summer holiday season upon us, various tourism authorities have warned visitors and holidaymakers to be vigilant and to stay informed and aware of their safety while having a good time. 

Criminals are more opportunistic during the high-season and will often target those tourists who are blinded by the beauty of SA, falling victim to cunning schemes. 

For peace of mind, visitors should remember the Seven Ps of holiday safety:

1. Prepare
Prevention is always better than cure. Do your research of where you are heading. Ask tourism officials about suburbs where you want to book accommodation, and have a rough itinerary planned - even it you're planning on winging it this holiday. 

2. People
It is safer and more fun to travel in groups. If you are going out at night, or exploring a deserted area or destination, it is essential that you travel in a group. 

3. Path 
If you are hiking in SA this festive season, always stick to the prescribed route. It is best advised to hike with an experienced, accredited guide. Also always let friends and/or family members know when you are going hiking, and give them an estimate time of when you would be back. 

4. Phone
Save all emergency numbers you might need on your cell, and on your gmail account (so you can access it even if you cell is lost/stolen). See a comprehensive list of the emergency numbers you might need this holiday season below. 

Another helpful initiative is the free mySOS app which uses your location to find the emergency services closest to you, as well as sending a notification to your selected contacts. The app can be used without active data, too. 

5. Protect
Be vigilant and protect your finances at all times. Rather go into a bank branch than ask a stranger's help if you are struggling to operate SA's ATMs. Also protect your credit card information and do not carry around large sums of cash. When you park your vehicle, ensure that there are no valuables left behind. 

6. Planet Earth
South Africa is known for its beautiful wildlife, but visitors should remember these animals are wild and can behave unpredictably. Do not try to feed animals in any SANParks, animal centres or sanctuaries (unless authorised to do so). 

7. Photocopies
Bring certified copies or affidavits of your most important documents along and use them rather than the original documents, where possible. 

Visitors to SA's shoreline destination will no-doubt spend plenty of time of the country's pristine beaches. 

Though South Africa ranks below Australia and the US when it comes to fatal shark attacks in the last 15 years, the prevalence of Great White sharks in the Cape area, and the smaller Zambezi, Tiger, Blacktip, Dusky and Spinner sharks along the South Coast, should be considered. 

See Beach safety: What you need to know about sharks along SA's coastline for more information about shark safety this summer. 

The official blue flag beaches will be the safest to spend time on, as they are monitored by safety officials and lifeguards.  

SEE: Cape Town tops for SA's Blue Flag beaches

SEE: KZN South Coast's 7 new permanent blue flag beaches

You can view all the Blue Flag beaches in SA here

SEE: Table Mountain safety: SANParks Rangers speak out
The increased safety measures in place for the holiday season include increased patrols, more visible security and easily accessible information both online and at specific tourist destinations.

Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy says “There will be thousands of international and local visitors descending on the Mother City to share in the experiences we have on offer, but, as with any major destination, there are some safety factors to consider. We want everyone who comes here to relax without their stay being marred by negative incidents – after all, as hosts, we’re here to ensure that you have a good time". 

For more information on having a good and safe time in SA, check out - Safari Safety 101: What to know when driving your own vehicle on safari

ALSO: Check-outTraveller24's Make My Weekend weekly installment of top events and things to do across SA.

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)

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

After hours should you require our assistance please do not hesitate to call:
Craig Lambinon 082 380 3800
Meriel Bartlett 082 994 7555
Andrew Ingram 082 990 5977

Full list of NSRI contact numbers can be viewed here.

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

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