Safety and Security in South Africa
The crime rate is South Africa is high and you can feel insecure in some streets. There are places better to avoid and some people that are better to stay away from. Ask the locals or people at your university where it is safe and secure and stick to the places you know. The best way to stay safe is to adopt a sensible attitude towards danger: always be vigilant in the street and don’t accept anything from people you don’t know.
■ Emergency services
You don’t need a local code to call national emergency numbers: dial 10111 for the police and 10177 for ambulance services. The quality of health services is usually good but most clinics and hospitals are overcrowded and the bureaucracy can become a real nightmare. As a foreigner, you have to pay for health services. The safest thing to do is to sign up for a health insurance, that way you will have help in case of any problems. You should carry your insurance card with you at all time, otherwise you might be denied the right to use it even if you have subscribed for it.
■ Political situation
Since 1994, South Africa has been a parliamentary republic. The president is the head of state and the head of government.
■ Short trip
The road system is well developed and of good quality, and rail facilities are well extended too. Any valid driver license is accepted in South Africa so you can rent a car, but note that the roads are very dangerous and the traffic is rather chaotic.
South Africa is a country with wonderful landscape and beautiful nature. You can enjoy great outdoors activities such as safaris, whales watching, trekking in the desert, and many other activities.
■ Mobile phone networks
The network is a GSM network and it covers most of the country. There are 5 main providers : Cell C, Vodacom, MTN South Africa, Virgin Mobile and 8ta. If you want a contract with one of these providers, you will need to have a bank account in a South African bank. Alternatively, you can more simply buy a pay-as-you-go card, but beware of extra connection costs .