Exercise increased caution in South Africa due to crime and drought.
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 the central business districts of major cities after dark.
The South African government declared a national state of disaster due to drought in the country’s Western, Eastern, and Northern Cape Provinces. Water restrictions in Cape Town, which limit household water use to 50 liters per person per day, remain in effect. Water supplies in some other areas may also be affected. Please see our Alerts for up-to-date information.
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.
- Avoid visiting informal settlement areas unless you are with someone familiar with the area.
- 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.
- Conserve water and follow local guidance on water use for tourists.
- Check the City of Cape Town website for up-to-date information and guidance on how to manage water consumption.
- Refer to the Nelson Mandela Bay’s website for updates on water restrictions in effect in the Eastern Cape.
- Monitor water levels at the City of Cape Town’s Water Dashboard.
- Enroll 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.
- U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.