I hailed a cab right out of Cape Town International Airport to Taj Hotel Cape Town a half an hour drives approximately. I was thrilled that the taxi driver was beyond friendly and we slowly got into a chat as he showed me the diamond bracelets he sells to his customers as a side hustle to buy as souvenirs on their trip. I was enticed and gladly agreed to pay for two as the price he was selling at was fair. Knowing South Africa to be a gem stone producer I automatically let my guard down.
20 minutes into the drive he suddenly stopped the car claiming mechanical issues and abruptly asked me for double the agreed price. I was shocked beyond measure and timidly agreed for fear of getting lost in the middle of the night. I paid $100 double the normal price and was later surprised that the bracelet was an imitation too.
As I was chatting with the hotels reservation manager he let me in on the fact that they distort taxi meters to feign a breakdown and actually sell fake gems to clients while at it. What a treacherous way of scamming a tourist!
Places to Beware: Cape Town International Airport
Advice: Negotiate taxi fare beforehand factoring traffic congestion etc. If possible download a cab hailing app such as Uber. Buy gemstones from trusted dealers online.