How it works:
- Version 1: they work in a gang – one onlooker, one blocks, pushes, distracts, or engages you, one grabs and the final hides the loot under a cover (e.g. jacket/newspaper) and escapes.
- Version 2: small children or elderly beggars, also known as “strollers” may hassle you for money. While you are distracted, an accomplice will steal from you.
- Version 3: someone comes up to you asking about your shoe size and then comparing your foot with theirs. While distracted, an accomplice steals from you.
Places to beware:
- Cape Town: Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Lion’s Head, Hout Bay, Clifton Beaches, Two Oceans Aquarium, Bo-kaap, Old Biscuit Mill, Company’s Gardens, Muizenberg Beach, Muizenberg Beach, World of Birds, Long Street Baths, Sandy Bay, Greenmarket Square, Castle of Good Hope, Nelson Mandela Square
- Durban: uShaka Marine World, The Valley of a 1000 Hills, Golden Mile, Victoria Street Market
- Hartbeespoort: Bush Babies Monkey Sanctuary
- Johannesburg: Neighbourgoods Market, Johannesburg Botanical Gardens and Emmarentia Dam, Rosebank Sunday Market, Melville, Carlton Centre, The Mall of Rosebank, African Craft Market of Rosebank, FNB Stadium, Mall of Africa, Top of Africa, Eastgate Shopping Mall, Oriental Plaza
- Knysna: Knysna Heads
- Paarl: Fairview Wine and Cheese
- Pretoria: Rietvlei Nature Reserve, Union Buildings, National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, Church Square
What to do:
- Passport: carry a photocopy instead of the actual one.
- Valuables: wallet in front pocket, small valuables in a money belt/hidden pouch, large valuables in an anti-theft bag.
- Travel insurance: get a good one that covers theft – check out the various travel insurance comparison platforms to find the best deal that works for you.