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Best practice advice with regard to safety

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Best practice advice with regard to safety

We (two women) will be staying in Hout Bay for 7 nights in a few weeks' time. We have been speaking to people who have visited the Cape Peninsula and have received different advice with regards to safety. Some people suggest that every time we stop at traffic lights we will be besieged by people wanting to wash our windscreen or sell us something. I have no problem with paying people for services if it's something we want but there will be times when we want to refuse and wondered what the best way to to do this is. We have been advised to travel with our doors locked and windows up, which seems sensible, but one person suggested refusing eye contact, which seems rude to me. And paying for anything would mean opening the window, is this advisable? Other people have said they had no problems and felt safe at all times.

I have also been told that it's common for someone to unofficially watch your car when you've parked, which I have no problem with, but wondered what the expected amount would be to pay for this? I don't want to insult anyone by paying too little.

Sorry if this offends anyone, it is not my intention. I am happy to help people make a living, but want to avoid potentially exposing ourselves to problems. Please excuse my naivety!

Thanks for your advice

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Hout Bay
Hout Bay
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Cape Town Central, South Africa
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Leigh-on Sea...
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1. Re: Best practice advice with regard to safety

I would consider Hout Bay to be safe and spent a week there never feeling uneasy. In SA, I always lock my car doors and wind up the windows when approaching traffic lights in busy places that look a bit impoverished . Otherwise, I drive with the windows down .The street sellers are not bothersome, a polite 'no thank you ' will suffice. There is extreme poverty in SA and Hout Bay has a large Township that reaches right down to the main road, it follows that there will be some opportunists around when poverty and comparative wealth live cheek by jowl.

We give the car watchers 10 rand , they are often young men from other African countries come down for a better life. Some people say they are employed/exploited by gang masters , I have no idea if that is the case or even what they are guarding your car against. I have always found them to be friendly and useful in finding you a parking space and guiding you in with many theatrical arm movements. At garages we also tip the person doing the filling up and the usual person cleaning your windows.

Another tip we learnt from our driver in Namibia was to also give the car watchers food as well as a tip. We find the food portions in SA to be enormous, so we ask for a take a way box (usual in SA). Before starting our meal we place what we know we won't eat into the box and give it to the guard. They are so grateful and even if they had managed to eat that day, you know that there will always be a hungry mouth up at the Township. The same goes for clothes that you no longer want, just give them to the staff at your accommodation who will take them back to the Township and find then a home.

Try to find time to visit the Original Tea Bag charity www.tbagdesigns.co.za/ ,run by an English woman to help the women of the Township to be employed. Also visit the vibrant under cover market which is held Friday nights, and during the day Saturdays and Sundays. However, the security guard did warn to look out for pick pockets.

There is a regular poster on this forum Van de Caab who is a British man who has lived in Hout Bay for some years.Hopefully , he will chip in and advise of any areas of Hout Bay which should be avoided . On the beach we struck up conversation with an Englishman who was scanning the beach with binoculars. I asked him what he was looking for ( whales, dolphins etc.? etc.) but it turned out he was part of a Neighbourhood watch scanning the crowds for potential petty criminals . So it would seem that there are some issues in Hout Bay.

Hout Bay is a good choice for a base for CT and the surrounding areas, you will enjoy it.

.

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2. Re: Best practice advice with regard to safety

I think people are telling you not to make eye contact simply because if you do, they will bother you more at the light to get you to give them money. It's not rude, just a way to let them know you are not interested. No one has ever washed our windows or touched our vehicle without our say so.We have purchased magazines at stop lights from the men wearing a safety vest, (the ones authorized to sell those magazines I believe?), and therefore had to open our windows to get the magazine and pay, we never had an issue doing so.

Car watchers can be good depending on the area. If I haven't asked them to do it or agreed to let them watch it I don't tip them (except one, who had a puppy with him and that suckered me in).

Just because someone offers does not mean you have to feel obligated or guilty and accept. Why would your question be offensive? It sounds like your friends are just griping and are scaring you unnecessarily. Of course this is just my personal experience and opinion.

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3. Re: Best practice advice with regard to safety

Thanks both of you, that's extremely helpful

Dunedin, Otago, New...
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4. Re: Best practice advice with regard to safety

Hi there Mel, just wondered how you got on in Hout Bay? I am heading there soon (solo female) and wondered if you had any advice for me. Best wishes

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Hout Bay
Hout Bay
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5. Re: Best practice advice with regard to safety

We just spent 5 nights in Hou t Bay and loved every minute of it.....we never felt threatened or unsafe.No one came up to our car to sell us things....no one answered us....we walked the beach and town daily and loved it...don't miss the Tea Ladys shop on the way to Constantia....also Kalk Bay is wonderful.....enjoy

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Constantia
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Dunedin, Otago, New...
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6. Re: Best practice advice with regard to safety

Hi Bucket Listers, thank you so much. I've just booked myself 5 nights in Hout Bay and can't wait! Thanks for the recommendations :-)

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Hout Bay
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London, United...
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7. Re: Best practice advice with regard to safety

Bucket-Listers2 do you mean the Original T-Bag Designs shop? https://www.tbagdesigns.co.za/

If you are looking for unique souvenirs and gifts or just something useful for the home then this is place needs to be on your shopping list.

Leigh-on Sea...
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8. Re: Best practice advice with regard to safety

I always get in some early Xmas shopping at the Tea bag Designs charity shops ( 1 in V & A also ) . If you visit the main workshop in Hout Bay during the week, ship during the week you will be able to see a video of the background of the charity and meet some of the workers.

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Hout Bay
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9. Re: Best practice advice with regard to safety

My wife walks and jogs alone along Chapmans Peak Drive, along the beach to Mariner's Wharf and back, round the streets near our flat, goes out shopping at Mainstream etc on foot. She actually feels safer walking in these areas, than walking around the local park in the area of south east London we lived in for several years up until August (there were numerous incidents there unfortunately).

As far as I am concerned, Hout Bay is the most spectacular area of Cape Town: mountains 270 degrees around, with the sea making up the panorama. Camps Bay only has mountains on one side!

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Hout Bay, South Africa
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Camps Bay
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10. Re: Best practice advice with regard to safety

I give them credit for trying to improve their situation and taking the incentive to hustle a bit of cash standing all day and washing windows or watching parked cars.

It seems any money travelers can spare, even if they don't need the service, could make a big difference for them. I really like your post Gem1662016. I love that you immediately box your food knowing you are going to give it to someone who will appreciate it.

At any rate, I am glad you are taking your safety seriously, Mel _2_Uk

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