Travel Advice in Zululand

Many members have contacted me since the murder of David Rattray for advice on travel to Zululand, especially since newspaper reports of the annual murder rate in S Africa being 25% higher than for Iraq.

The soundest advice comes from the website of the Foreign & Colonial Office under the heading ‘Travel Advice by Country’. Read this by entering the section on ‘South Africa’. It suggests that tourists should not be put off visiting S. Africa and  I agree. There is nothing to suggest in the David Rattray tragedy that tourists are subject to new levels of threat; travelling in Zululand carries much the same level of risk as it did before.

The Foreign Office site doesn’t mention Zululand specifically – though there have been several attacks against motoring tourists in KwaZulu Natal (mostly in the northern areas, close to the Mozambique border). The Foreign Office suggests travelling in groups and sticking to main roads – though  this is not possible for visitors to the Zulu War battlefields.

So my advice? Stick to your plan to go to S. Africa but heed the Foreign Office advice. In addition, once there, do let people know where you are going and what your plans are. Don’t travel alone unless necessary. Check with your destination hotel/friends for the best route for your journey and while on the road, be sure that you set off with a full petrol tank, don’t stop for strangers or at the scene of ‘accidents’ as these are regular ploys to make tourists stop.  Exercise caution at all times, especially with regard to money, passports and valuables. In the event that you are unlucky - don’t even think about arguing with thieves – they value life very differently.

If you are nervous about travelling alone, join an organised tour, as these are generally more secure.

The bottom line? Be sensible and careful – and you will have a wonderful time.

Dr Adrian Greaves