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South Africa Travel Alert

Issued by US Department of State

May 25, 2010

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in South Africa to safety and security issues related to the FIFA World Cup taking place in nine cities across the country from June 11 to July 11, 2010.  This travel alert expires July 31, 2010.  Full information about the World Cup for American visitors is available on the U.S. Mission to South Africa's dedicated World Cup website.

TERRORISM:  Large-scale public events like the World Cup may present a wide range of attractive targets for terrorists.  There is a heightened risk that extremist groups will conduct terrorist acts within South Africa in the near future.  While a number of terrorist threats against the World Cup in South Africa have appeared in the media in recent weeks and months, the U.S. Government has no information on any specific, credible threat of attack that any individual or group is planning to coincide with the tournament. In the event the U.S. Government receives information of any specific and credible threat, the Department of State will provide information on that threat to the public immediately through an updated Travel Alert or Travel Warning.  All USC citizens in or traveling to South Africa are urged to register with the U.S. Mission to South Africa in order to receive these alerts as quickly as possible.

CRIME: The vast majority of visitors complete their travels in South Africa without problems; however, visitors should be aware that criminal activity, including violent crime, is prevalent throughout the country.  Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times, looking out for your own personal security.  While driving, keep doors locked and windows closed, avoid having purses, phones, bags and luggage in plain view, and when stopping at intersections at night or in isolated locations, leave enough space in front of your vehicle for a quick exit.  Be wary of street vendors at traffic lights, planted obstacles and staged “accidents” that may be traps for unsuspecting motorists.  Do not stop for cars with flashing lights unless they are clearly marked as police or emergency service vehicles.  Park your car in secure, gated parking lots or garages wherever possible, and do not leave bags or valuables in plain view.  Travellers to South Africa should avoid carrying or displaying expensive items or wearing eye-catching jewelry, stay in a group, and avoid walking at night.  Keep a photocopy of your passport with you, leaving the original in a hotel safe or other secure location.  Lost or stolen passports should be reported to the local police and nearest U.S. Consulate.

PUBLIC DISTURBANCES:  Organized or wildcat labor actions and protests in poorer communities against shortfalls in public services may occur during the World Cup.  While localized and normally well away from typical tourist destinations, these disturbances can develop quickly and unpredictably, sometimes turning violent.  Use caution and avoid any areas where protests, demonstrations or other public disturbances are taking place. 

IMMIGRATION, CUSTOMS, PUBLIC HEALTH:  Scrutiny of foreign travelers arriving at South African ports of entry will be tightened during the World Cup.  U.S. citizens should ensure they have two blank pages marked “Visas” in their passports as required for South African entry formalities.  Those travelers with criminal records should consult the nearest South African Consulate or the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C., before traveling.  Questions about carrying firearms or other unusual items into the country may also be directed to the nearest South African embassy or consulate.  Any traveler coming from or passing through the so-called “yellow fever belt” of Africa and South America must carry certification of having received a yellow fever vaccination upon entry into South Africa. The yellow fever belt is defined to include the following countries/territories:

Africa:  Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Congo-Kinshasa, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda. South America:  Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Peru, and Suriname.

LODGING:  Extreme shortages of hotel rooms are likely during the World Cup, particularly in the smaller World Cup host cities including Bloemfontein, Nelspruit, Polokwane, Port Elizabeth, Pretoria, and Rustenburg.  Visitors are urged to book rooms well in advance.  See the FIFA 2010 World Cup Fan Guide for commercial accommodation services covering all World Cup host cities.  Assistance with last-minute accommodation needs can also be obtained by calling South Africa Tourism at 087-803-INFO (4636), or from outside South Africa at 27-87-803-4636 (available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day).

TRANSPORTATION:  While South Africa has adequate and generally safe intercity air and surface transportation including planes, buses, and trains, public transportation within cities is poorly developed and not nearly up to U.S. standards.  Travelers are advised to use rental cars or book private transport from one of the many commercial operations available.  While park-and-ride and park-and-walk facilities are being established around all 10 World Cup stadiums, space for parked cars is expected to be extremely limited.  The website Find Your Way, operated by the South African Department of Transport and still under construction as of mid-May, promises to provide useful transportation-related information in time for the opening of the tournament.  Assistance with transportation can also be obtained by calling South Africa Tourism at 087-803-INFO (4636), or, from outside South Africa, at 27-87-803-4636 (available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day).

U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security.  U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  By registering, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.  For additional information, please refer to "A Safe Trip Abroad." For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Bureau of Consular Affairs web site where the current Worldwide Caution, travel warnings, and travel alerts can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  Additional travel-related information may also be found in the State Department’s Country Specific Information for South Africa, and the World Cup Fact Sheet. 

U.S. Embassy Pretoria
877 Pretorius Street, Arcadia, Pretoria
Telephone: (27-12) 431-4000 (from South Africa 012-431-4000)
Fax: (27-12) 431-5504 (from South Africa 012-431-5504)
U.S. Consulate General Johannesburg
1 Sandton Drive (opposite Sandton City Mall just west of the intersection of Sandton Drive and Rivonia Road), Johannesburg

Telephone: (27-11) 290-3000 (from South Africa 011-290-3000)
Emergency after-hours telephone: 079-111-1684 (outside South Africa: +27 79-111-1684)
Fax: (27-11) 884-0396 (from South Africa 011-884-0396)
Consular jurisdiction: the Pretoria area and the Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West, and Free State provinces.

U.S. Consulate General Cape Town
2 Reddam Avenue, West Lake 7945, Cape Town
Telephone: (27-21) 702-7300 (from South Africa 021-702-7300)
Emergency after-hours telephone: 021-702-7300 (outside of Africa +27 702-7300)
Fax (27-21) 702-7493 (from South Africa 021-702-7493)
Consular jurisdiction: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and Northern Cape provinces.

U.S. Consulate General Durban
Located at: The Old Mutual Building, 31st floor, 303 Dr. Pixley KaSeme Street, Durban 4001
Telephone: (27-31) 305-7600 (from South Africa 031-305-7600)
Emergency after-hours telephone: 079-111-1445 (outside South Africa: +27 079-111-1445)
Fax: (27-31) 305-7691 (from South Africa 031-305-7691)
Consular jurisdiction: KwaZulu-Natal Province.

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