Foreign Office issues South Africa ‘smash and grab’ attacks warning

British travellers to South Africa have been warned to be on their guard against ‘smash and grab’ attacks on vehicles.

They are also being advised to avoid “less secure” areas around the international airports in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The updated travel advice was issued by the Foreign Office on Friday, pointing out that while there is a high crime rate in the country, the risk of violent crime to visitors in the main tourist cities is generally low.

“There is usually additional security personnel in the main tourist areas who can assist tourists. However, policing and security can be limited, so always remain vigilant,” the advice said.

However, it highlighted a “high crime rate, including carjacking, ‘smash and grab’ attacks on vehicles, house robbery, rape, sexual assault and murder. 

“Violent crime can take place anywhere, including in tourist destinations and transport hubs.

“Most violent crimes occur in townships on the outskirts of major cities or in isolated areas. 

“The threat is higher in central business districts of major cities than in suburban areas, and increases after dark.”

The official travel advice added: “Crime can happen in and around the airport, including robbery and theft of baggage and valuables. 

“People have been followed from OR Tambo International airport in Johannesburg to their destinations and then robbed, often at gunpoint. You should be careful when following GPS navigation. 

“You should avoid taking alternative routes away from main roads as this can often take you into less secure areas.

“Specifically for travel to and from Cape Town International airport, you should stick to the M3 and N2 where possible, and avoid the R300 and the R310 (Baden Powell) between Muizenberg and the N2 intersection.”

Tourists are advised to use main roads and highways when driving to and from airports and consider being met on arrival by their hotel or tour operator.


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