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NFT: I want to tour South Africa in November. Water Problems?

Marty in Albany : 3/12/2018 12:26 pm
Question: Should I be concerned about South Africaís current water shortage/drought?

I plan on booking a two week sightseeing tour of South Africa in November: Capetown, Johannesburg, Swaziland, Kruger National Park, etc.

Iíve never been anywhere in Africa and Iím looking forward to the trip. Iíve heard great things about South Africa and Iím making arrangements to get all my inoculations (including, Typhoid, Tetanus, Hepatitis A, & Malaria) up to date.

Iím concerned because Iíve read that Capetown and other parts of South Africa are currently having a water shortage, and that restaurants are even using paper plates rather than using water to wash their dishes. Iím hoping that the water supply will improve by November after the rainy season has started.

I doubt that the travel agency folks (Gate-1) will give me an unbiased answer about any possible problems with their tours, so Iím asking my friends here at BBI, whoíve been to South Africa, for some advice. Should I book this tour?

Thanks in advance.
Don't go.  
DennyInDenville : 3/12/2018 12:29 pm : link
They are having serious issues down there. Goes well beyond the rapidly deteriorating water
It's political and it's ugly. Just don't go, it's really bad.

Go somewhere else. Best of luck to you.
I think you should be concerned about a lot in SA  
BillT : 3/12/2018 12:31 pm : link
The difficult political situation is what had lead to the water issues. I'd google "SA problems" and do some reading up.
Your local healthcare provider  
Beer Man : 3/12/2018 12:34 pm : link
Should have an immunization and travel office that can provide you with that info and the immunizations that you should get prior to travel. I went to India a few years ago, and there were 5 or 6 immunizations I had to get.
I went to all those  
rebel yell : 3/12/2018 12:40 pm : link
places about 15 years ago when I was assigned to Naval Forces Europe. It is an incredible continent in so many ways--but it also opened my eyes. Sadly, as many have mentioned, there in great instability right now in many countries, not just SA. I don't know if I'd take the chance. Speaking of water issues, Robert D. Kaplan's "The Coming Anarchy" is as prescient today as it was in 1994. It's worth a read!
RE: I think you should be concerned about a lot in SA  
Dr. D : 3/12/2018 12:56 pm : link
In comment 13859836 BillT said:
The difficult political situation is what had lead to the water issues. I'd google "SA problems" and do some reading up.

BillT, i took your advice and got Sexaholics Anonymous. Thanks, maybe someones trying to tell me somethin'.
If you have white skin...  
Blue Angel : 3/12/2018 1:03 pm : link
Don't go or paint yourself black with kinky hair....They are like the south was in the height of the KKK Days but against white skin folks instead.
Hotels are limiting showers to 90 seconds  
Jim in Fairfax : 3/12/2018 1:13 pm : link
You need to send up  
JonC : 3/12/2018 1:18 pm : link
the Bill2 bat signal.
Like others said  
Stan in LA : 3/12/2018 1:24 pm : link
Don't go.
yupbjac27 : 3/12/2018 1:25 pm : link
just had a colleague of mine go down in the fall. He said the water shortage is more of a seasonal issue and that there were no issues when he went in the fall. I understand there are some concerns around the political environment but a lot of places have those issues and people still travel there.

I'd hold off on taking advice from the board, more particularly those who haven't been and maybe reach out to folks you know who have been and or a travel board specifically related to SA.

Colleague had nothing but great things to say about his and families trip.
I went 4 years ago and loved it  
bhill410 : 3/12/2018 1:33 pm : link
I think rainy season is usually the summer (our summer that is) so hopefully that helps the water issue. Totally recommend doing 2-3 days at a safari lodge.
We just shut down a job site in SA  
montanagiant : 3/12/2018 2:02 pm : link
Because of the instability there. Guys can't get their money out, cooped up in a gated hotel, constantly have to be wary no matter where you're at.

It's a shame but in the last 3-4 years it really has tanked
Read up on the State Dept Website  
DC Gmen Fan : 3/12/2018 2:15 pm : link
and look into International SOS. They have great info about the current situations and current info about food/water/medical/transport, etc.
Thank you all for the very useful advice. I will certainly  
Marty in Albany : 3/12/2018 3:12 pm : link
do more research about SA.

Maybe that research will indicate that there is really nothing to worry about. However, this is supposed to be MY vacation. I want to look forward to going, rather than worry about possible problems. Even if nothing bad were to happen during the trip, constantly guarding against possible problems would certainly dampen my enjoyment of the trip.

There have to be lots of places that are more politically stable and have better water and/or health conditions. I'm thinking maybe Bangkok or Barcelona.
I love South Africa!  
Rico : 3/12/2018 3:21 pm : link
I've been there 5 times. I spent 3 weeks there last summer traveling with my girlfriend. The people are wonderful, both black and white. The cabbies and restaurants don't try to cheat tourists. I felt safe. Just be wary of bad areas at night, just like anywhere.

The water is an issue in the west. I spent my 3 weeks in the east, in Durban, hiking the Drakes, safari, and the beach. We spent 4 days at Leopard Mountain. Google it - most beautiful place ever!

Don't be scared away by the nonsense on this thread. Have any of these people actually been there?
Just don't drink..  
FatMan in Charlotte : 3/12/2018 3:22 pm : link
the water - force yourself to drink beer and liquor!!
Barcelona is less safe than South Africa.  
Rico : 3/12/2018 3:23 pm : link
Cheating tourists and pickpocketing are ways of life in Barcelona. And South Africans are friendlier than the Spanish.
FatMan in Charlotte : 3/12/2018 3:25 pm : link
the worst thing that will happen in Barcelona is that somebody will attempt to pickpocket you.

South Africa is much more dangerous on that front. At least in Barcelona the cars don't keep from coming to a complete stop and try to time the green lights so they aren't stationary.

Every place has some sort of crime. Hell, in Bangkok, you might get roofied by a girlyBoy...
Rico : 3/12/2018 3:30 pm : link
Have you been to SA? Did you have a bad experience there? I've been there 5 times for a total of about two months, and I've never had a bad experience with a South African.

I was in Barcelona for four days and got robbed twice!
Malaria, Water, etc.  
Rico : 3/12/2018 3:36 pm : link
BTW, most of South Africa has eradicated malaria. The areas I went you didn't need to take any meds.

The water in South Africa is safe to drink, and their highway system is in better shape than ours.

In a lot of ways it's a first world country. But the new ruling on white owned farms could change that. You should go now before that happens.
FatMan in Charlotte : 3/12/2018 3:55 pm : link
been a couple of times.

First trip was pretty uneventful except that we ended up seeing 3 carjackings in a week's time. Just as an aside, the only other carjacking I witnessed was in Jersey City at 2AM.

Second time I went, a group of three colleagues were walking along a main street in JoBurg and were robbed at gunpoint.

I never traveled anywhere alone, but I dod have one of the best stories to come out of my travels. An Australian colleague was three sheets to the wind and insisted he was going to go back out drinking. So he hopped into a group cab, much to our pleas for him not to, and drives away in a packed vehicle. The next day he told us that he made friends with the guys in the cab because they thought if he was crazy enough to get into that car - they weren't going to fuck with him.

Been to Barcelona countless times as we had a manufacturing facility there. Never had any issues, but knew several people that were pickpocketed.
Rico : 3/12/2018 4:14 pm : link
I've had an experience similar to your Australian friend. I was doing an ultramarathon from Durban to Maritzburg, and I was supposed to get a ride to the start from some people at my B&B. We had to leave at 4AM, but they weren't back from their night of partying yet. I called them and they showed up drunk and with a couple women in the back. I got my ride with one of the drunk women sitting in my lap. Most memorable ride ever!
I basically live in Africa now between Nairobi and Cape Town  
glowrider : 3/12/2018 4:25 pm : link
Cape Town CITY (Cape Town is a much larger area of the Western Cape province) has been on Day Zero red alert watch for over a year now. In fact, it is now pushed back to 2019. Merely a couple months ago, it was all supposed to end in April. I finally saw Western media picking it up a week or two ago. Talk about late to the party.

It keeps moving back. I've seen the dams add significant levels of late. Most people are being cautious and rationing their water to avoid Day Zero, which is great. All the while, they are working on the other things needed like Desalination etc. I've included a link to the live water dashboard.

Critical infrastructure should not be impacted. Hotels and restaurants catering to tourism industry will have some limitations from the City board, but are basically necessary for the economic survival of the area (which has been doing much to develop) and are covered under critical infrastructure like hospitals. So wouldn't worry about that. Restaurants and businesses have been making plans for a long time coming. If it ever comes.

Outside the City you have different sources of water in many cases. For example we have borehole water and do not rely on the Dam out where I am.

The rainy season is soon (and will be well over before November) and the water has been rising through some nasty drought. I do not think water will be an issue for your trip. I left Cape Town on 2/15, the day they swore in Ramaphosa, and have been in Nairobi since. Some of the political hay coming from there is certainly notable. But, I wouldn't avoid a trip re: potential Day Zero in Cape Town.
Cape Town Water Dashboard - ( New Window )
Ron from Ninerland : 3/12/2018 4:56 pm : link
I was there with my wife less than a year ago. Its as safe as any city I've ever been too. I wasn't, however wandering the streets drunk at 4 o clock in the morning.
RE: Fats  
Dr. D : 3/12/2018 8:44 pm : link
In comment 13860358 Rico said:
I've had an experience similar to your Australian friend. I was doing an ultramarathon

Rico, I have a cousin who used to do ultramarathons. He had hip replacement before he was 50. He claims it had nothing to do with the ultrmarathons. I love the guy, but I don't believe it's unrelated. He's had a lot of health complications due to the transplant materials leaching, etc. Sucks.

Don't want to tell you what to do, but I personally don't think humans were meant to do ultramarathons, unless for a very good reason... like your life or that of love ones depends on it.
Don't worry about South Africa  
carl in pa (V2) : 3/12/2018 9:23 pm : link
I've travelled there 7 times with biology student groups since 2003, many of the same destinations you mention in your original message. The only place you might have issues with water is the Cape. You should be fine everywhere else.

Keep an eye on the dashboard and the State Department travellers warnings. They will be your best source of information. The wet season (winter) in the Cape starts around May and goes through about August so I am sure they will replenish some water by the time you go in November and hopefully some of the restrictions should ease. I am sure you will be asked to conserve whenever possible.

Personal safety should not be an issue if you use common sense. For example, don't get into a taxi with someone you don't know. Don't walk down a city street in Johannesburg all by yourself. Don't wander down a dark alley in Cape Town at night. Don't flash your money, jewelry, electronics. I have travelled with maybe 100 college students over the years and we have had no trouble. In fact-the opposite is true. The people in South Africa, white or black or whatever, have been very friendly and helpful.

For your meds, etc-not much worry there either. Consult your personal physician and make your health decisions with him/her. Follow CDC guidelines. Most of your destinations are non-malarial or low risk but in November you should expect some mosquitoes. Probably a few snakes and scorpions too.

I am going back in May-June to visit Johannesburg, Kruger, Swaziland, KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, Drakensbergs, the Cape. Let me know and I'll give you an update when I get back. Also let me know if you want me to give you names of providers you can trust.
Again, I want to thank you all. The BBI community is indeed a  
Marty in Albany : 3/12/2018 11:01 pm : link
wonderful resource. Clearly, I have homework to do, but somehow, I trust the opinions of BBIers more than I trust the travel releases of the State Department.
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