Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa
Nelson Mandela Bay is one of the most dangerous cities in South Africa along with Cape Town. The worst-afflicted areas are located near Port Elizabeth and report unprecedented homicide levels, peaking between 2017 and 2019. Gelvandale reported 124 homicides per 100 000 inhabitants in 2018/19 whilst Bethelsdorp clocked 79 homicides per 100 000 in the same year. Like Cape Town, the reasons for this increasing violence are racial and economic marginalisation, extreme poverty and high rates of youth unemployment. But a closer examination suggests that gangs and emerging patterns of misgovernance in the city’s administration are also linked to the increased violence in Nelson Mandela Bay.
In 2017, seven people including a nine-year old were shot in escalating gang violence. In 2021, four shop owners were murdered in their shop by thugs. Although tourists are usually targeted by thieves and no tourist homicide was recently reported, there is always the chance to end up in the wrong place at the wrong time and get killed.
Transport and taxis risk: HIGH
Public transport such as buses is considered unsafe for tourists, especially those carrying luggage to and from the airport as there is a high risk of getting mugged. However, taxis are generally safe as long as they are from a reputable company.
Scams & Pickpocket Risk: HIGH
Scam rates are very high. Only make purchases in stores, not from street vendors or individuals selling things on the street. Scams on car park tickets were reported by tourists (scammers asked them to pay for tickets even tough the car park was free). Also watch out for altered ATM’s and fake police officers. If someone wearing a badge asks you for money or to follow them somewhere, don’t.
Finally robbery is the most prevalent form of crime against Nelson Mandela Bay tourists; a study reported 13% of the surveyed tourists being robbed while visiting the Bay so don’t bring anything valuable.