South Africa has been left reeling from the losses incurred due to the recent Tourist travel warning issued by Israel following a spat of crimes targeted at tourists. The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued the warning citing “high level of crime” particularly “violent crimes”.
The warning follows an incident where a group of tourists including a 16 year old Israeli girl were robbed and rapped at a rented house in Siloque, Phalaborwa. This has not been an isolated incidence as there has been other similar incidences in the past year including one in September where another Israeli woman was gang raped by four robbers at a Graskop Lodge in Mpumalanga.
The warning by Israel on the 1st January 2020 is not the first as United States also issued a similar warning earlier on December 23, 2019 citing “violent crime, such as armed robbery, rape, carjacking, mugging, and smash-and-grab attacks on vehicles”
Some of the tips given on the State Department website when traveling to South Africa:
- Avoid walking alone, especially after dark.
- Use caution when visiting townships and the central business districts of major cities after dark.
- Do not display cash or valuables.
- Drive with doors locked and windows closed.
- Always carry a copy of your U.S. passport and visa (if applicable). Keep original documents in a secure location.
- Visit municipal websites for up-to-date information and guidance on water use restrictions.
South Africa has been receiving an average of 38 000 visitors a month from North America and about 5 000 from Israel. These travel warnings also affect European visitors who may have second thoughts on visiting the country.
Kruger Lowveld Chamber of Business and Tourism President Oupa told the Lowvelder he was “distraught” about the attacks on tourists and said these crimes should be prioritised as the number of foreign visitors was dwindling daily.