Locally or abroad; peak time or out of season - it's important to put safety first when going on holiday. As the saying goes: "Better safe than sorry!"
Here is our list of a few things to keep in mind when going on holiday to ensure that you're safe.
Keep Your House Safe
If you have a trustworthy friend or family member, ask them to house-sit whilst you're on holiday. This is especially convenient if you have pets or a garden that needs maintenance. If not, ensure that your security company or local neighbourhood watch knows that you'll be away and ask them to keep an eye out for you. Don't forget to lock all doors and windows and to arm your alarm system. Consider replacing your outside lights with solar sensor bulbs that goes on during night. Also switch off your geyser and plugs (except the fridge and freezer!) to save on electricity.
Safety At The Beach
The number one rule at the beach is to listen to the lifeguards. Despite what many may think, lifeguards aren't there to stop you from having fun. They are there to keep the masses safe. Don't swim in areas contrary to the designated areas and don't swim at night.
Make sure that your children understand the rules and keep an eye on them at all times - whether they're in the water or playing with friends. It's helpful to dress your children in bright swimwear that is easily recognisable in a crowd. Don't forget the sunscreen either! The African sun is brutal - even during the cooler months.
It goes without saying that consuming alcohol at the beach is not only illegal but extremely dangerous. You'll not only be a danger to yourself, but also to others.
Safety On Safari
Most of South Africa is malaria-free, but be cautious when travelling to areas where malaria is prevalent. Take your anti-malaria medication regularly and as prescribed by your doctor. When visiting national parks and game reserves in Limpopo and North Eastern South Africa keep in mind that although most areas are low risk malaria areas, take the necessary precautions.
When going for a game drive it's vital to not provoke the animals in any way or try to encourage them to come closer to you. This means no alcohol, loud music, smoking, hooting or shouting at the animals. Don't under any circumstances try and feed the animals and roll up your windows when driving through the park. Don't forget that you're in their territory, so treat the animals and their habitat with respect.
When you're in an area that you're not familiar with, be sure to not go out alone at night. Avoid wearing expensive jewellery and make sure that your valuables are locked up in the safe at the resort when you head out for the day. Most criminals are opportunistic and will take advantage of unassuming individuals. At the resort remember to lock your doors when you leave the unit or when you sleep. In some areas monkeys and baboons can enter your unit and cause havoc, so be sure to keep unwanted wildlife and criminals out by erring on the side of caution.
Holidays are about having fun, relaxing and escaping from the daily grind. However, letting your guard down or being complacent can put a serious damper on your holiday mood. Make sure to be safe when on holiday!