How To Travel Cape Town Safe – Must Read For First-timer

Female traveler at Cape Town Cityhall

Want to travel in Cape Town Safe?

Cape Town was ranked as the best city for travel in the world multiple times in the past. At the same time it is also notorious for its high crime rate ranking top 10 in the world. The safety of Cape Town South Africa is a real concern.

No worries, I have been there and know exactly what you are worrying about. I spent 9 days backpacking in Cape Town, experienced all the attractions, and returned in one piece.

I did experience some harassment from the homeless or potential scammers but overall, it is safe and I did not lose a single dollar. If you are a first-time Cape Town traveller like me this is what you must read before going.

Let's travel to Cape Town SAFE
Let’s travel to Cape Town SAFE

Is Cape Town Safe for Tourist?

Yes!  You would hear about murders, cheap firearms, drugs, and gang activity associated with the safety of Cape Town South Africa. I assure you those stories are ABSOLUTELY TRUE.

However, tourist areas in the city center such as Long Street (famous for drinks and nightlife), Kloof Street, Greenmarket Square, St George’s Mall, and Bo-Kaap are relatively safe. Most of the time you just need to look out for small crimes such as pickpocketing or scam.

These areas are relatively safe because of the regular presence of CCID and local police. CCID full name The Cape Town Central City Improvement District, was established in 2000 it is an official organisation to address the safety concerns of the areas.

For example, you will see a lot of CCID public safety offices patrolling Long Street. At some corners of the street, you will also see safety booths set up by them. They even proactively remind tourists not to show their phones or valuables. Sometimes if they see locals talking to you, they would even intercept you to ensure they are not scammers.

They inspected our walking tour guide until he showed his tour guide license during my walking tour. I talked to them during my travel and they are very well aware of the importance of safety for tourists in Cape Town. As it is crucial for the development of the local economy.

CCID patrol making Cape Town safe
CCID patrol making Cape Town safe

Other than the presence of CCID in the city center, other areas such as V&A Waterfront, Simon’s Town, and Hout Bay are wealthier and even safer than the city center.

I will cover a bit more in the below sessions but at least you shall know that. Traveling to Cape Town safe is not hard, as long as you do your homework.

Cape Town Safe Areas to Visit

There are a lot of areas to avoid in Cape Town such as Nyanga, Mitchell’s Plain, and Khayalitsha. I Google “Cape Town dangerous areas” during my trip planning.  There is a lot of information and I found this website(Top 10 Most Dangerous Areas In Cape Town (2024) – capetownlists

) the most concise one.

Having said that, I also find it very hard to remember all the names, especially for first-time visitors. So I would say those dangerous area names are good to know.

Instead, you should focus on ensuring your itinerary is within the safe areas. This is also part of the reason (other than budget) I chose not to drive. Because you never know if the GPS will take you to dangerous areas like Nyanga to avoid traffic on the main road. A US tourist was shot in 2023 just because of that.

The poverty rate is higher than 20% in Cape Town which is already the lowest in South Africa. With such a high rate, there are many people forced to be homeless leading to a high crime rate.

You can refer to the icons listed in my 9-day itinerary. All of them are within the safe areas. The rule of thumb is tourist places are in general very safe during day time. You need to pay more attention during the night but the safety level also varies. I will go through them one by one below.

Poverty rate of Cape Town is higher than 20%
Poverty rate of Cape Town is higher than 20%

Cape Town Safe Areas – City Center

There are multiple popular tourist spots in Cape Town City Center. Long Street and Kloof Street are popular for drinks & nightlife. Near Long Street, Greenmarket Square, and St George Mall are usually packed with pop-up shops and other attractions. Near the city town hall, you will find the Nelson Mandela Statue and several museums like District Six and Castel of Good Hope. On top of that, you will also come across the famous company’s garden.

Although you will see a lot of homeless people in the City Center, these are also the areas with CCID presence. In that, you shall be safe here, especially during the daytime. You are likely to be approached by people on the street for money or even scams. You should politely ignore them and keep moving on.

CCID officer at Longmarket Street
CCID officer at Longmarket Street

Is Bo Kaap a safe area?

Yes but not as safe as the ones mentioned in City Center.  Bo-Kaap is a colorful and culturally rich neighborhood known for its unique architecture and Cape Malay heritage.  It is also an attraction close to or technically within the city center.

However, it is also a residential area that has no patrol of CCID. The local community is very friendly and welcoming. However, there are also cases of robbery against tourists during the night.

You should only go to Bo-Kaap during the daytime. The best time would be early morning when you can safely take photos of the colorful house without the crowd.

Bo-kaap is relatively safe and ideal for picture in the morning
Bo-kaap is relatively safe and ideal for picture in the morning

Is V&A Waterfront safe?

This is probably the safest area in Cape Town. First, it has various security measures to ensure the safety of visitors, including security personnel, CCTV cameras, and well-lit streets. Second, it is also one of the most commercial and expensive areas in Cape Town.

V&A is one of the safest areas in Cape Town
V&A is one of the safest areas in Cape Town

Is it safe to walk V&A Waterfront at night?

Yes absolutely but only within the V&A area. There are a lot of nice bars and restaurants at V&A Waterfront. Chances are you will find yourself staying at V&A at 10 PM or even late at night.

It is important to remember while it is safe to walk V&A Waterfront at night it is also fun. You may want to ensure you travel safely back to your hotel, hostel, or inn. For example, at night you should take Uber on your way back to the hotel directly.

Even at night time V&A is very safe
Even at night time V&A is very safe

Is it safe to go up Table Mountain?

Table Mountain is the icon of Cape Town. It is a great scenic backdrop for photos and even more stunning if you go on top. The safest way to go up to the summit is via cable car. However, it is also pricey around 190 ZAR (~10 USD) one way.

Alternatively, you may also want to indulge in the landscape by hiking. There are multiple official trails for Table Mountain. Hiking the official trails is in general safe during holidays or weekdays. You would see a lot of hikers and runners on your way.

However, you should abide by common sense such as not hiking alone, without proper equipment, or water, in adverse weather conditions, or at night.

For first timer, I would recommend you to do the Platteklip Gorge which is the shortest route to the Table Mountain summit.

Hiking to Table Mountain is safe via official route
Hiking to Table Mountain is safe via official route

Is Cape Peninsula Safe?

Visiting the Cape Peninsula is one of the essential parts of traveling to Cape Town. Compared to the city center, the attractions along the Peninsula are relatively safe. You can easily explore them via local tours or driving. The Cape Point sign and lighthouse are part of the Table Mountain National Park Reserve with the best security.

Other checkpoints such as Simon’s Town and must-go beaches are very tourist-friendly as well.

Is Simons Town safe?

Simon’s town is one of the wealthiest areas in Cape Town. It is also where you will find the penguin colony at Boulders Beach. On top of that, CCID officers are also on duty in the area near Boulders Beach. With that, you could enjoy your day freely there.

I did feel safe enough even to leave my belongings at Boulders Beach while swimming with the penguin.

How about other beaches like Clifton, Camps Bay, and Muizenberg Beach? Are they safe?

Other than Boulders Beach, Cape Peninsula, in Cape Town, is also home to several beautiful beaches offering stunning coastal scenery and recreational activities. The well-known beaches include Clifton Beach, Camps Bay Beach, and Muizenberg Beach.

Unlike Boulders Beach which requires an entry ticket, these beaches are all public. Although they are very safe based on their relatively wealthier area and tourist density, you should keep an eye on your belongings.

Tourists crowded at Muizenberg Beach
Beaches are usually packed with tourists and safer in general

Are game reserves in Cape Town safe?

Absolutely, game reserves like Inverdoorn and Aquila near Cape Town are 100% tourist focused with CCTV monitors. As you pay relatively high price there and given their location, it is the safest icons in Cape Town. You can click here to check out my review on Aquila game reserve which is the closest one.

How to get around Cape Town by transportation safely?

As mentioned before, I am against driving for first-time travelers. To transit to the above icons, Uber is the safest way to achieve all. On top of that, Uber in Cape Town is not only safe but also very cheap. A ride from Cape Town International Airport to Long Street is just around 244 ZAR (~13.5 USD).

In the absence of an airport route by MyCitibus since 1st Dec 2022, Uber is the cheapest way and most hassle-free way for you to get to the City Center.

It is also great for point-to-point pick-up for various destinations. Surprisingly, it can even take you from Cape Town City Center to attractions at Cape Peninsula such as Hout Bay and Hout Bay.

Sign for Uber pick up at Cape Town International Airport
Sign for Uber pick-up point at Cape Town International Airport

Apart from Uber, MyCiTi Bus is also very safe for first-time travelers. MyCiTi Bus is a reliable and affordable public transportation system in Cape Town. It operates on dedicated bus lanes and serves various routes across the city, including popular tourist areas except those at Cape Peninsula.  

You can check on the MyCiTi Bus website or apps for real-time bus schedules. All the buses are equipped with CCTV cameras and sometimes with security personnel present on top of the driver. It is also a cheap (around ZAR 9 per ride) and local way for you to experience Cape Town.

However, you may need to plan for using MyCiTi Bus given the relatively low frequency for each route. For example, route 113 – Upper Kloof Street to V&A Water Front ends before 9 PM PM and has one bus per hour.

Based on that, I recommend you to use Uber with the supplement of MyCiTi Bus.

MyCiti Bus and Waterfront Bus Station
MyCiTi Bus safe transportation in Cape Town

Thanks for reading our blog post about traveling to Cape Town safe. Cape Town is one of the best cities, based on my traveling experience in over 60 Countries.

I hope you will have a wonderful and also safe travel in Cape Town like I did.

Please leave me a comment for any inquiries and your travel experience in Cape Town.

Regulus K

A budget travel blogger passionate about exploring different destinations worldwide, while balancing a regular 9-to-5 job.


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