Over 430,000 British tourists visit South Africa each year.
Most visits are trouble-free, but a small number of British people encounter problems in South Africa. You should take sensible precautions to protect your safety.
There is a high level of crime including rape and murder in South Africa. Most violent crimes tend to occur in townships, isolated areas and away from the normal tourist destinations. However, armed robberies, including one leading to the death of a tourist, have taken place on Table Mountain in Cape Town in recent years. See Safety and security
If you’re visiting South Africa for tourism or business purposes for a period of up to 90 days, you don’t need a visa. South Africa has relaxed its requirements for travelling with children under the age of 18. Visa exempt children (including UK Nationals visiting for tourism purposes) entering South Africa accompanied by an adult are required to present only a valid passport on arrival, regardless of whether the child is travelling with both parents, one parent, or an adult who is not a biological parent (for more information, please see the Immigration Act in conjunction with this advisory from the South African Department of Home Affairs). This includes children travelling as part of school groups. See Entry requirements
There are different requirements for unaccompanied children entering South Africa. These are set out in this advisory from the South African Department of Home Affairs. If you have specific questions about these requirements, please consult your nearest South African High Commission or Embassy.
Contact your nearest South African High Commission or Embassy if you have any specific questions about your trip.
There have been incidents involving people being followed from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg to their destinations and then robbed, often at gunpoint. Be vigilant in and around the airport and when driving away. See Safety and security
South African Airways is undergoing a business rescue process which may lead to changes to their timetable. Check with your airline or tour operator before travelling.
There are regular protest marches, strike related demonstrations, and periodic incidents of public disorder across South Africa, which can become violent. These can occur anywhere across South Africa, sometimes at short notice. You should avoid areas where protests, demonstrations or marches are taking place, especially in city centres and townships. Don’t attempt to cross protester roadblocks as this could provoke a violent reaction. You should monitor local and social media for updates.
Beach conditions and local safety provisions vary considerably throughout the South African coastline and every year several people drown due to the strong sea currents. See Water safety
Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in South Africa. See Terrorism
British nationals are increasingly being targeted by scam artists. The scams come in many forms including romance and friendship, business ventures and work or employment opportunities. Scams can pose great financial risk to victims. The British High Commission and Consulate General will never contact members of the public regarding personal financial matters including on behalf of any UK banks or other financial institutions. You should to report these calls to the police. See Safety and security
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.
Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.