Going to throw a few thoughts together.
October will be summer. You might need to one or two cotton long sleeve shirts to protect you from sun burn. I use organic coconut oil and a hat that will protect your neck as well. Best take a break -stay in the shade from 11h00 to 13h00 when possible.
Then – make sure you get out of the cities soon or often. The real South Africa is in the bush or on the beach. While being on the beach or in the bush – stay close to white South African people. In the city this advice might not work for they are always busy minding their own business.
Blend in with the rest. Try to be alert without looking stressed. Keep your distance from people. Personal space is something black people do not respect – just the way they live, they do not always do it on purpose. Sit with your back against a wall where possible, facing the entrance of a restaurant or room.
Keep valuables out of sight. Make sure you’ve got money in two places. Your purse you use most often must have just enough money for what your plans are for the day. Wear clothes with a few nice pockets. Make sure you’ve got some cash, but use a card for transactions. Not knowing the money makes you take longer to pay for something. (R20 and R200 notes almost look the same) Keep your card insight the whole time, while paying.
Enjoy the food : ) We tend to eat more meat than Europeans, but the same as Americans I think. Eat healthy to keep you energy levels stable. Our wine has got higher alcohol level than those in Europe. Need to taste some good wine while being in the Cape, only if you appreciate stuff like that off cause. I buy food from Woolworths mostly.
Driving in South Africa… Mmm
Lock the doors as soon as you are in the vehicle. Keep the windows close driving through busy areas. Undo seat belt before you stop to exit the vehicle. Be alert in parking lots.
Drive on the left side of the road. In the cities, the taxis will keep you occupied often. Again, keep your distance, they stop without warning. Do not use public transport like mini bus taxi’s or trains. A train that’s safe is the Gautrain in Gauteng. You can use their busses as well. There are shuttle services from air ports available. Most people rent vehicles at the airports. Some bus services are fairly safe, those traveling long distances. I use Lanseria Airport flying within SA – save’s me time.
Planning your routes might make a difference in your stress levels, you are on holiday! Use a GPS and make sure you’ve got a map, because street names are not marked that well and names changes has been going on for years. You can download free apps on smart phones that can give you traffic advice, just takes a lot of battery power. I use it with a car charger driving long distances
Stay out of townships. Listen to the news while driving. They often broadcast which areas to stay clear from (stone throwing, tires burning, blocked roads) You will see, we simply avoid some areas and roads and a few days later it is back to normal.
Going into game reserves – something I hope you plan to do – remember to take water with you. Small kit with mobile phone. Still early in summer, but look out for small ticks after walking in the bush.
Emergency number to dial within South Africa from a cell phone 112 or 10111 from any phone.
Ambulance 10177. Medical emergencies ER24 number 084124
In Gauteng you will also get good response with Netcare 911 Contact nr 082911.
Helicopter Emergency Services Tel: +27 (0)10 209 8555
Keep a small keyring flash light with you for when the electricity goes.
Trust you gut feeling. There are a lot of good friendly people in South Africa. I am sure you will have a good experience