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Posted 09 February 2013 - 03:20 PM
I am going to South Africa in March/April this year with a 1 yr old and a 3 yd old.
Has anyone else been lately with kids around Johannesburg and if so what was it like?
Posted 10 February 2013 - 11:53 AM
Are you going on a tour or visiting friends/family? Have you been to South Africa before?
Posted 10 February 2013 - 11:57 AM
We will be visiting family so I guess they will know where is safe etc?
My mum goes over all the time and my sisters have been often but none of them have gone with small children
I guess im worried first about the long flight with two kids
And also people keep warning me how dangerous it is although they have never been so I was hoping others have been with kids to tell me what to expect?
Posted 10 February 2013 - 12:02 PM
It is very dangerous. I personally would never travel there with young kids (or probably at all).
I have many South African friends, most of whom would never go back & many who have been scarred by the experience of living there.
I pressume if you are visiting family you'll be in a gated community & have bullet proof cars etc. They can give you some inside info on the whole corruption/bribary stuff & what not to do (eg don't pull over for the police etc)
Posted 10 February 2013 - 12:12 PM
I know you are planning on going, so it's done. I know many families who visit with kids. It's great that you are going to visit familiy. They will know what to do, so I would just follow them. For intance, you can't go for walks, visit the park, all shopping is in secured malls. You can't stop on the side if the road for a bathroom break for the 3 year old. When you stop at say a service station, you get your fuel quickly. No walking around, taking the kids to the toilet, buying a snack. That is high risk behaviour.
Personally, I have 2 young children. I was born and grew up in JHB. I am dying for my family to meet my kids but I will not travel back to SA. My heart breaks over it, but it's just not safe and not a risk I'm willing to take. My kids will not understand how they can't go ride their bike, go to a park etc, have their window down in the car. Sorry for being such a downer just before your holiday, but it is a serious decision, especially that you're visiting JHB. Some South Africans think it's not too bad, they bury their head in the ground for survival, sometimes oblivious what is going on around them.
Posted 10 February 2013 - 12:16 PM
The other thing to consider is healthcare. SA has wonderful hospitals but they are private. Make sure you have excellent travel insurance because they can refuse treatment if you do not pay upfront or have proof you will pay. There is also not a reliable ambulance service, there are private ambulances, but you may need to find your own way to hospital in case of an emergency.
Posted 10 February 2013 - 12:16 PM
My in-laws are all in Cape Town so my only experience of Johannesburg is transiting at the airport from International to Domestic.
I've only been to Cape Town twice (first pre-kids and second with DS1) but the second time we had a lot more freedom as we hired a car and could take ourselves around sightseeing without relying on relatives which was wonderful! I really felt like I got a feel for the city and DP was quite impressed when after the first week, I started recognising which way to go to different places without having to ask.
The roads are easy to navigate but I found a lot of things quite confronting coming from Australia. But, being accompanied by a South African who knows the tricks (e.g. agreeing to having a random black man 'watching' your car while you're shopping and then knowing to hand over 2 Rand when you return) made things really easy.
None of my in-laws live in gated communities and they certainly don't drive bullet-proof cars (sorry, PP, but that made me lol!) but all windows of their houses do have metal bars covering the outside and a lot of fences will be higher than you see here, sometimes with barbed wire or pointed metal along the top.
The danger level depends on the area where your family lives. DP has said he wouldn't want me or the kids travelling there by ourselves but that's simply because we don't know how things work. He grew up in Cape Town though, and I have heard Jo'burg can be more dangerous on the whole, but if you're with family I'm sure you'll be fine.
As for the travel with kids, I've only done long haul with one child aged 6 months. I found that reasonably easy, I have no idea what to expect from several children of older ages. But, having done lots domestically I would suggest having lots of different toys on hand, colouring books etc and being prepared to walk around with them if necessary.
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