Are guests safer with a professional tour operator?

Cape Town is a travel award-winning city; from Table Mountain to business conferencing and everything in between. Like all major cities in the world, Cape Town encourages visitors to follow the universal safety precautions and be vigilant in selecting guides and tour operators.

Cape Town City has affirmed their commitment to safety with their Tourist Safety Ambassador programme to assist guests in the inner city. We also welcome the recently launched SANParks and South African Tourism safety initiative which aims to increase the monitoring patrols on Table Mountain. The media often portrays Table Mountain as a high risk for crime, but whilst incidents do occur on the mountain these reports often do not provide a balanced perspective and can exaggerate the situation.

As one Cape Town tourist puts it; “Cape Town is safe enough if you take precautions. There are really two cities here, but the crime stats blend them together. The poor communities of the Cape Flats see 95% of the crime while the city centre and suburbs are pretty safe in terms of violent crime.”

Below are some of the benefits of booking with a recognised responsible service provider.

  1. AWOL Tours works with experienced local guides who are constantly assessing hiking and cycling options and engaging with our Cape Town communities. We are in regular communication with all the relevant tourism safety-focused social media platforms and networks. As there is no substitute for local knowledge, we value their feedback in keeping our tours safe and secure.
  2. Our AWOL team has the required first aid, safety and security training. Emergency procedures are in place in case of any incidents or accidents on tour.
  3. Safety on the city cycle tours: The AWOL Tours city cycle tour departure point is the V&A Waterfront, a very safe meeting point for tourists. There is a significant security presence here because of the high end hotels and many restaurants.
  4. Safety on mountain biking and road biking tours: As we make use of off-the-beaten-track cycling paths, your guide will provide water, helmets, and a full cycling safety briefing. Our in-house bike mechanic keeps the AWOL bikes well maintained so that our guests can enjoy the scenic cycling and if necessary have access to their support vehicle along the way.
  5. Safety on hiking tours: AWOL Guides monitor weather forecasts and if the weather is unsafe to hike our clients will be offered an option to postpone or a refund according to our terms and conditions. We recommend an early start to enjoy the cooler conditions and your guide will assist you in selecting the best trail according to your hiking preferences and ability. We enjoy hiking well-maintained and patrolled paths offering the best views of Cape Town. Our hikes include water, snack packs and a substantial picnic lunch to keep our hikers well-fuelled and hydrated along the way.
  6. Safety on township tours: Our guides are from within the community and thus have close ties with the residents. We depart in small groups, our bikes are a familiar sight on the streets and guests feel welcomed as tourism plays a valuable part in the township economy.
  7. AWOL Tours is a member of SATSA and Cape Town Tourism and we only work with accredited professional tour guides. We have the required industry insurance and our vehicles are registered and roadworthy.


A properly planned itinerary with a reputable tour operator with safety protocols in place will help mitigate any risks. In the unlikely event of an incident you will be swiftly assisted by your tourism experts and local Cape Town Tourism band aid programme. The safety of our guests is always our priority and if AWOL Tours felt guests’ safety was at risk we would act accordingly and if necessary cancel a tour and offer a full refund. We have a 100% percent safety record since inception in 2002 we have had no serious safety or criminal incident whilst on tour.
Every citizen and tourist has a right to feel safe when out hiking and cycling in Cape Town. If you have any questions or concerns about your safety when booking on a tour, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us and we’ll give you the locals’ perspective.