Good health is often a requirement for traveling and travelers hope to maintain that health throughout their journeys. Tap water is generally safe in South Africa, though it usually safer to abstain in rural areas. Malaria is a problem in northeastern South Africa, but the rest of the country is generally fairly safe. Diarrhea is common amongst travelers. Toilets in South Africa are generally clean, though finding them might be more of a problem. Restaurants and malls are usually obliging and let people use them.
Drugs are common throughout South Africa. Despite being common there are stiff penalties against use and possession.
There is one thing that likely keeps many travelers from enjoying the wonders of South Africa: the crime rate. Though crime can be high in large cities such as Johannesburg, many risks can be mitigated by preparation, caution and common sense.
The biggest risk tourists face is theft and scams. By using extreme caution with information and keeping money or cards in secure places, travelers can stay one step ahead of thieves. The most common scams involve tampering with ATMs to steal cards, PINs, and cash. Thankfully, most ATMs have security guards. Only use those with security guards and avoid using ATMs at night. If your card jams have a friend get help and don’t leave the ATM with your card still inside. If someone suspicious is hanging around an ATM, find another. Avoid ATMs that seem to have been tampered with or that do not issue receipts. Refuse all help with transactions and if someone offers, find another ATM. At the very least keep your bank’s phone number close and if there is a problem, call your bank to immediately cancel your card.