Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 14 November 2019, 13:29 NZDT
  • Still current at: 24 February 2020

Related news features

Exercise increased caution

Exercise increased caution in South Africa due to violent crime.

View Larger Map Close/Open map

There is a high level of violent crime in South Africa, which includes mugging, murder, sexual assault, carjacking and armed robbery. Kidnapping has also occurred. While most travellers are likely to experience a trouble-free visit, there is a serious risk of crime, particularly in city centres and townships. Although crime occurs at all hours, the risk significantly increases at night.  

Carjacking and theft from vehicles is a concern in South Africa, including car windows being broken and valuables taken while vehicles are stopped at intersections. When travelling by car, it is advisable to keep doors locked and windows up at all times, hide valuables from view and do not stop to assist with vehicle breakdowns, clear debris from the road or pick up hitchhikers. There have been reports of drivers being robbed by criminals posing as police officers asking for identification.

Particular care should be taken with luggage and personal belongings in and around O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Where possible, luggage should be locked in secure plastic film. There have also been reports of visitors being followed from the airport and later robbed. Be particularly vigilant around the airport. Unsolicited offers of assistance with baggage and transportation arrangements, other than from official porters, should be declined. 

Automatic teller machine (ATM) crimes are known to occur. Criminals may loiter near machines to rob people making withdrawals. New Zealanders are advised to maintain security awareness when using an ATM, and avoid using them outside business hours. It may be safer to use ATMs located within a bank or shopping mall.

New Zealanders are advised to be conscious of personal safety at all times. We recommend you avoid travel after dark and to isolated areas and avoid displaying or wearing items that appear valuable, such as mobile devices and jewellery. No resistance should be given if you are the victim of an armed robbery, mugging or carjacking as this could lead to an escalation in violence.

There is a threat of terrorism in South Africa. New Zealanders in South Africa are advised to keep themselves informed of potential risks to safety and security by monitoring the media and other local information sources. We recommend following any instructions issued by the local authorities and exercising vigilance in public places.

Civil unrest
Strikes and demonstrations occur from time to time in South Africa. There have been occasional outbreaks of violence in the downtown areas of Durban and Johannesburg and parts of Kwa-Zulu Natal, directed at refugees and other African migrants. Violence could occur again at short notice and bystanders could be caught up.

New Zealanders are advised to avoid all demonstrations, protests and rallies as they have the potential to turn violent. You should not attempt to cross roadblocks. We recommend you monitor the media to keep up to date with local events and follow any instructions issued by the local authorities.

Commercial and internet fraud is common in many African countries. New Zealanders should be wary of any offers that seem too good to be true, as they may be a scam. For further information see our advice on Internet Fraud and International Scams.

General travel advice
The South African Department of Home Affairs has updated travel regulations relating to travel with children. For more information on these changes please see the South African Department of Home Affairs website.

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe and can include lengthy imprisonment or fines.

New Zealand/South African dual citizens should be aware of the requirement to for all dual citizens to enter South Africa on their South African passport. If you are not sure about your citizenship status, you should contact the nearest South African High Commission or Embassy, or the South African Department of Home Affairs.  

New Zealanders living or travelling in South Africa should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.

New Zealanders in South Africa are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips

The New Zealand High Commission Pretoria, South Africa

Street Address 125 Middel Street, Nieuw Muckleneuk, 0181 Pretoria, South Africa Postal Address Private Bag X27, Brooklyn Square 0075, Pretoria, South Africa Telephone +27 12 435 9000 Fax +27 12 435 9002 Email Web Site Hours Mon - Fri 0800 - 1630hrs

See our regional advice for Africa

Share this page:

Related News features

New Zealand High Commission South Africa

Street Address
125 Middel Street, Nieuw Muckleneuk, 0181 Pretoria, South Africa

Telephone: +27 12 435 9000

Fax: +27 12 435 9002



Hours: Mon - Fri 0800 - 1630hrs

Related advice from other countries

Share this page:

Other pages in this section: