Travel companies give safety tips after robbery of 36 Dutch tourists
One of the 36 Dutch tourists who were robbed last weekend said he will only return to South Africa if his transport is driving in a convoy with “two tanks in the front and the back“.
Patrick Bakker made the remarks last week on the Dutch talk show Pauw.
The Megabus the tourists were travelling in was stopped last Sunday around 11pm by a vehicle with police markings. They were driving from O.R. Tambo International Airport to their accommodation in Fourways‚ Johannesburg. One man was dressed in a police uniform‚ the other five in civilian clothing. They boarded the bus and robbed the tourists.
Mega Coach Gauteng regional manager Koos Nel said the company is considering getting extra security for late-night trips. This would entail an extra person that hangs back from the tour group at the airport and follows the bus in a separate vehicle to ensure it is not tailed.
“But how are you as one person going to stand up against eight or nine people? You can try‚ but it is still no guarantee‚” Nel said.
Nel said driving to the closest police station is not “as easy as just saying: ‘It looks suspicious. Drive on.’“
Mega Coach advises tourists not to exchange their money at the airport.
“The [crime] syndicates see this and then they know these people are coming out with a lot of cash.”
The Pondoro Game Lodge in Hoedspruit advises passengers to fly directly from O.R. Tambo to the Hoedspruit Airport because they consider it to be safer.
On Tuesday afternoon during a visit to O.R. Tambo International Airport‚ several police and Ekurhuleni Metro Police (EMPD) officers were patrolling the drop-and-go at Arrivals. Drivers were asked to drive around if the passengers they were picking up were not on the sidewalk.
The Unembeza Boutique Lodge in Hoedspruit‚ Limpopo‚ offers tourists a variety of card facilities to discourage them from using cash.
Suzette Boshof from Unembeza said they have not received enquiries from foreign tourists since the Dutch tourists were robbed.
Fritz Breytenbach‚ general manager of the Mhondoro Game Lodge outside Thabazimbi in Limpopo‚ said they have received enquires‚ but no cancellations. He said they discourage tourists from exchanging their money at the airport‚ but to ensure they have a companion when they do so.
According to Stats SA’s tourism and migration figures for July 2017‚ Dutch tourists visited South Africa the most after the United States and the United Kingdom from countries outside Africa.
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