Cape Town is a city that ranks as one of the greatest contradictions in the world; regularly appearing near the top of two completely different kinds of lists. The first type highlights its consistent reputation as one of the most beautiful cities on the planet, and one of the best to visit. The other type lists it as the most dangerous and crime-ridden city outside of the Americas. Both are fair comment.

In a country renowned for its violent crime, Cape Town has the worst record for murder – on average, more than 4 people are killed every single day. The city’s rape statistics show that every hour of every day, at least one woman is sexually assaulted somewhere in the city – all year, every year – even the year it hosted the FIFA World Cup of Football. And yet that year, and every other, well over a million people flew into the city, enjoyed it thoroughly, and left with nothing but fantastic memories.

Cape Town is a city of different worlds, and this guide will help you to move through them with a high degree of safety.

There are specific places to avoid, and some you absolutely have to visit. One suburb, called Nyanga,  contains less than 1% of the city’s population, but is the site of over 13% of the murders (more than 200 a year). By contrast, Simon’s Town is nearly a third of that size and hosts about a million visitors each year, but in the same time period reported no murders at all (not even a single attempt), a total of just 11 robberies, “only” 11 rapes, and less than one case of assault per week.

The information you’ll be reading is an honest and fairly thorough assessment of Cape Town’s dangers and how best to avoid them. Written by a long-time resident, and based on extensive research of official local and national government information, police data, reports by independent consultants and experts, and anecdotal feedback from reputable travellers’ forums; this guide is designed to give you a realistic picture – not to scare you away.

This is an inspiring beautiful and delightful place. When English admiral, Sir Francis Drake, came by in 1580 on his voyage round the world, he called it “the fairest cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth”. Table Mountain is flanked on one side by pristine golden beaches; rolling wine lands on the other; and at its feet lies a small vibrant, modern, cosmopolitan city with enough delights and honest friendship to last you a lifetime – Cape Town.

Please take the time to read this guide thoroughly, so that you can experience her very best aspects.