Plan Your Route: If you haven't got a map of the
Cities you are visiting you are strongly advised to get one
up-front and thus pre-plan the routes you will be taking. If you
have a travelling partner with you who can act as a good
navigator, you should work together as a team. The Golden Rule
is Do Not Get Lost and pull over to the side of the road to ask
directions. Never allow a group of people to surround your car
when you stop.
Driving in Cape Town: As you leave the Cape Town
Airport you will access the N2 Freeway that runs between
Somerset West and Cape Town. You will see thousands of squatter
dwellings along-side the Freeway. The mass migrations of rural
dwellers to the city's surrounding areas have brought with them
imported unemployment, poverty and thus an increased and
unchecked crime level. This stretch of road is dangerous. You
must not pull over and stop on the side of this road. The
chances of you being mugged or even worse, if you stop are
considerable, so beware.
Driving in Johannesburg Area: This area is the
business hub of South Africa. It is busy, fast moving, and
aggressive. Your driving skills will have to meet these
requirements. Avoid the business rush hour traffic, if at all
Consider this: All of the nice friendly South Africans that you
will be meeting have, over the past 10 years or so, of the 'New South Africa"
have had to learn to live with this lawlessness as part of their daily lives,
and in the knowledge that the existing situation isn't going to be 'put right'.
You, as a visitor, just want to 'get on' with your vacation, so my advice is,
once again, 'Stay alert at all times as their are 2-legged predators around'.
Law and The African Judicial Systems: A casual study would
reveal that the collapse, appears to be either a lack of "Political Will" or
just simply a lack of capability to make the system work. In Africa things tend
to go rotten from the top down. It's reckoned that over 80% of crimes for which
charges are laid and cases opened never even get to court (and these include:
murders, rapes, armed robbery, hi-jacking, assaults etc.)
The situation in Namibia is not as bad as in South Africa. However, keep the
above in mind. Crime has also been a boom industry here for more than a decade,
and along with this general state of lawlessness there has also been a boom in
industries supplying all kinds of security services from the latest electronic
surveillance equipment, manufacturers of burglar bars and gates, and the supply
of security guards. You'll see the latter just about everywhere.
Taxis in Namibia: In Windhoek, the local Taxi-Drivers-Association
estimate that about 60% of taxis operating are illegal. Many of these vehicles
are involved in crime and used as get-away cars, and there are instances where
tourists have been mugged and sometimes assaulted. If you intend using taxis in
Windhoek, the management of the accommodation establishment where you will be
staying can advise you of a reputable service. Alternatively you could print out
the Shuttle Operator page from our Namibia-Tour-Guide site (link below)
Rule: Always negotiate and firmly establish the price of
the ride before you get in the taxi or shuttle bus. I have spoken to many
tourist who have been charged up to 5 times the accepted cost of the ride.
If you are on a self drive holiday, you should remove
all goods from the passenger area of the car and place them in the trunk, where
they can't be seen, when leaving the vehicle parked and locked. In the larger
Namibia towns you may be approached by a person offering to 'Guard your vehicle
while you are going shopping or to a restaurant'. Make sure that these persons
are 'Car-Guards' they should be wearing an SMOCK bearing the name of the
organization they represent.
Car Guards and "How much should I tip them. "How much should we tip
them?" ask the visitors. If I go into a shop for 30 minutes or so I pay them
one-Namibia-Dollar (1NAD) . If I go into a restaurant and take a couple of hours
I pay them five-Namibia-Dollar (5NAD).
OK. That's the bad-news, and it's usually outweighed with the good, so now
you can get on with the planning of your holiday.
Self Drive Info ►