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Overseas Security Advisory Council
Bureau of Diplomatic Security
U.S. Department of State

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Level 2: Exercise increased caution

Travel Advisory: South Africa - Level 2 (Exercise Increased Caution)

Exercise increased caution in South Africa due to crime, civil unrest, and drought.

Country Summary: Violent crime, such as armed robbery, rape, carjacking, mugging, and "smash-and-grab" attacks on vehicles, is common. There is a higher risk of violent crime in townships and the central business districts of major cities after dark.

Demonstrations, protests, and strikes occur frequently. Such events have the potential to turn violent. These can develop quickly without prior notification, often interrupting traffic, transportation, and other services.

Parts of South Africa are experiencing severe weather conditions, including drought and/or flooding. Water supplies in some areas may be affected and there may be restrictions on water usage in some municipalities.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to South Africa:

  • Avoid walking alone, especially after dark.
  • Use caution when visiting townships and the central business districts of major cities after dark.
  • Do not display cash or valuables.
  • Drive with doors locked and windows closed.
  • Always carry a copy of your U.S. passport and visa (if applicable). Keep original documents in a secure location.
  • Visit municipal websites for up-to-date information and guidance on water use restrictions.
  • Visit in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter .
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for South Africa.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Last Update: Reissued after periodic review with updates to a Risk Indicator and “If you decide to travel” section.

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