5 backpacking safety tips to keep you on the road to adventure

Posted by Christi Nortier on 13 February 2019

Backpacking through South Africa may appear to be a daunting challenge — how do you keep your eyes on the wonders around you, while also keeping them on your backpack and your own wellbeing? One way is by following simple, sensible safety hacks to so that you can enjoy your adventure without undue worry.

Research how you’re going to ride the roads

No adventure was ever robbed of its mystery and fun because the traveller knew when and where their bus was arriving and whether it was roadworthy. In fact, it probably improved the experience. Plan your transport in advance. This will prevent you from being stranded, heading in the wrong direction or finding yourself stuck with a ride you later regret.

Here are some useful links:
– A great tool for finding minibus taxi routes, prices and times is TaxiMap

– A shuttle service from Cape Town to Durban to Johannesburg. Hop on and off whenever you please along the route for a fixed fee with BazBus

– Or you can try The Mzanzi Experience, another national hop-on hop-off shuttle service

– Catch a lift using Find A Lift or Jumpin Rides.



Divide and hide your money

Moon bags are in vogue— take advantage of this and buy one to keep some of your valuables close. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket; rather find a few different hiding for your important things. Then, if your moon bag or backpack goes, you’ll have back-up in hidden pockets in your scarf or pants or at your accommodation. You might even want to try out a security belt with a hidden wallet— there are plenty of options out there.

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Pack a basic first aid kit

Put lightweight things like plasters, antiseptic gel, rehydration sachets, painkillers, wet wipes, and mosquito repellant in a box, pouch, or even Ziplock bag to make your own quick first aid kit. When jumping from place to place, you might not always know where the closest pharmacy or doctor is. Be sure to have yourself covered for the time between the incident and when you find help.

Tell someone where you’re going

Once again, it won’t dampen the adventure if you let someone know where you’re headed, how you’re getting there and when you’ll be back. Let someone at your accommodation eastablishment or family and friends know your plans.

Blend in

Try not to seem as completely clueless and awestruck as you actually are. If you stand out like a sore thumb, you might attract unwanted attention. Read up about the basic layout of where you are, what happens where and if there are any scams you might be oblivious to. Keep one eye on the wonders around you and another on what’s happening around you.


Image credit: Louis Hansel, Unsplash

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