Johannesburg Warnings and Dangers
While Johannesburg is a beautiful city with plenty of traveler-friendly attractions, it’s important to be aware of the unique dangers in the city so you can stay safe. Some of travelers’ Johannesburg warnings focus on the airport and city transportation, while other tips are about staying safe in the city itself.
Johannesburg has a very large, international airport. The gate numbering system can be confusing, so if you’re not sure whether you’re at the right gate, go to the security gate and ask. Note that porters may approach you and try to get you to follow them around; however, this is occasionally a scam in which porters guide you around the airport for a while, then demand money.
- Make sure you keep your eyes on your purse or wallet while you put it on the X-ray machine. Sometimes, employees are looking for people who aren’t paying attention to their belongings. Then, the employees pretend to be searching for dangerous or forbidden items, but in actuality, they’re stealing credit cards or money.
- Don’t bring large containers of liquid with you. The employees often use their own discretion to decide whether large liquids are acceptable or not, and if you’re unlucky, you may have your items removed.
Driving in the City
If you’re going to drive yourself around the city:
- Keep your windows rolled up. This is especially important when you’re at stopped at busy intersections or stop signs. You want to prevent people from being able to run up to your car while you’re unable to move and take items from inside your vehicle.
- Don’t keep valuables in plain sight. Even if your windows are rolled up, some criminals will smash the window to grab an item, especially if they believe it’s extremely valuable.
- Avoid parking or stopping in the emergency lane, unless your car is not working.
- Only drive on the main roads and do your best to not drive long distances at night. Driving at night, especially on the weekends, puts you at higher risk of coming into contact with drunk, reckless drivers.
- If you’re driving behind a taxi, stay vigilant. Taxi drivers may randomly stop to pick up or drop off passengers, and you may get into an accident if you’re not paying close attention.
While Johannesburg has a higher-than-average crime rate, you can avoid most problems by remaining aware of your surroundings and following some general safety tips.
- Don’t walk around at night. Call a taxi to get to your destination, and if possible, save the number of the taxi company, so you can get a ride back to your hotel.
- Walk around with your head held high, and in general, avoid people who come up to you trying to sell you something.
More from SmarterTravel:
- Johannesburg Things to Do – Attractions & Must See
- Johannesburg Nightlife – Clubs, Bars & Nightlife Tips
- Johannesburg Shopping – Shops, Stores, Best Buys & Inside Tips
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about warnings and dangers in Johannesburg.
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