Is it safe to travel in south Africa?

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Is it safe to travel in south Africa?

Postby g_traveller_35e1357f » Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:26 am

Today, despite the challenges of delivering beautiful sound inside a small, often noisy space, it's possible to assemble a medley of components capable of satisfying even the most discriminating listener.
For the cost-conscious car owner who mainly listens to the radio and plays the occasional tape, a preinstalled system from the car manufacturer can be fine and convenient, if sometimes overpriced. And if you don't already have a system, you can purchase a bare-bones cassette player and radio combination (radio-only car stereos are virtually extinct) with speakers, for about $400. But if you're interested in upgrading to premium sound, chances are you'll have to spend at least $650 for a complete system. Click here to read How to Install Speakers in a Car

If you choose to piece together your own system, you'll find that the world of audio retail stores is filled with astonishing variations in price and a constantly fluctuating supply of audio components. So, it's important to compare prices and shop around for availability.
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To make matters more confusing, there's quite an array of components that can be added to a system, each of which contributes something to the sound mix. Each piece also contributes to the cost, and it's easy to get carried away.

So what should you be considering? First, you should know what components you'll actually need.
Cassette or compact disc tuners mount in the dashboard but differ from receivers in that they lack an amplification section. (They also differ from home-stereo "tuners," which are standalone radio components.) With the addition of a separate amplifier, generally mounted in the trunk, you'll get much higher quality sound.

Receivers mount in a slot in the dashboard. They include an AM/FM radio and can drive two or four speakers. If you want better sound, you'll probably have to resort to a separate amplification unit, but this two-component setup tends to be more expensive and cumbersome.

A separate CD changer, also mounted in the trunk, is an added convenience allowing you to load six, 10 or even 12 discs at a time. It can be controlled by the receiver or tuner or by a separate console. What are The Speaker Sizes in My Car | Speaker Size for My Car

You can certainly get by with two speakers, mounted either in front or in back, but a high-quality basic system should have a minimum of four and a maximum of seven. Allow at least two for the front, usually door-mounted, and two for the rear, most often placed in the parcel shelf at the base of the rear window.

If you want the ultimate in deep, resonant bass tones, you'll need a subwoofer speaker. Subwoofers produce very low-frequency sounds that can not only be heard, but felt. But keep in mind that they're not essential for balance and clarity.

Finally, equalizers allow you to tune a system to your vehicle's acoustics. Some are capable of mimicking a variety of venues -- from concert halls to jazz clubs -- by manipulating audio signals through a system called digital sound processing.

But even equalizers aren't necessary to achieve that high-quality sound. The key elements are a top-notch receiver or amplifier-plus-tuner and speakers.

So here are four basic systems for your car that represent excellent values in their price ranges. Two of the systems are for the budget-conscious audio enthusiast, the other two for those willing to spend a bit more.

BIG SOUND ON A BUDGET
SYSTEM 1: $674

The heart of this remarkably clean-sounding cassette system is Panasonic's CQ-R545 ($389), a versatile and reliable AM/FM receiver with a host of user-friendly features. For instance, the face of this unit has intuitive controls that allow busy drivers to easily adjust sound levels, radio channels and the like. The face is detachable, rendering the rest of the unit worthless to would-be thieves. And it has optional hands-free cellular telephone controls.
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Mechanical cassette decks often jam up, but not this one -- and that's one of the areas where this unit really stands out. The key is a soft-load, power-eject mechanism designed to prevent the fragile cassette tape from sticking.

The built-in amplifier in this system provides a nice level of power to drive the speakers. There is also Dolby B noise reduction, which eliminates much of the inherent tape hiss, and an excellent AM/FM receiver with 20 presets for programming your favourite stations. If you choose to add a compact disc changer down the road, this receiver has built-in controls -- a smart option.

For speakers up-front, we've gone with the Blaupunkt RL5429 ($125 a pair). These well-designed dual-cone speakers play a wide range of tones with minimal distortion. The dome-type tweeters on these speakers do a particularly nice job of dispersing high sounds. In the rear, Clarion's SRC 5730 triaxial or three-way speakers ($160 a pair), can be played quite loudly with minimal distortion.

SYSTEM 2: $734

The centrepiece for this system, Clarion's DRB4275 ($435), is one of the best CD receiver values available. Why? Aside from delivering excellent sound quality, this unit's most impressive feature is its easy-to-use control panel. It's simple and elegant. The four-way balance controls make it particularly easy to alter volume on the various speakers.

Other features include a built-in AM/FM tuner with 18 FM and six AM station presets. A digital filter does a superb job of cleaning up audio imperfections.

The front speakers are a pair of Alpine SPE-4620 coaxial models ($120 a pair). They deliver balanced sounds over a wide range of frequencies. For the rear, Kenwood's KFC-1375 coaxials ($179 a pair) have a dome tweeter for higher highs. Better still, they respond with clarity to a broad range of sound frequencies.

NO COMPROMISE HIGH-END AUDIO
SYSTEM 1: $2,200

At this price range, you expect some kind of audio epiphany, and if there's a CD tuner capable of delivering it, it's Clarion's DRX9275L ($925).

The tuner, which purportedly doesn't skip when you run over bumps, offers controls for a CD changer (should you choose to add one later), digital sound processing modules for an equalizer and 18 FM and six AM preset channels. It includes a fibre-optic digital output plug that makes it especially well-designed for delivering a signal to a separate amplifier. The amp we've chosen to pair it with is the Lanzar Opti-CPS2050 ($600). It delivers plenty of well-controlled power with minimal hiss.

For the front speakers, one of the best pairs available is Polk Audio's DB6520 coaxials ($300 a pair). An extremely durable design, the DB6520 is capable of handling quite a bit of power while clearly playing both highs and lows with minimal distortion. At the rear, Polk's DB6930 triaxial speakers ($375) deliver clean, crisp sound and are almost impossible to distort even when driven to near their maximum power rating.


SYSTEM 2: $2,000

Denon's CDT-950R ($900) is a CD receiver with controls for a separate disc changer. It's loaded with a host of tuner features -- including 18 FM and 12 AM station presets. Arguably, no receiver does a better job of pulling in stations clearly, even from a great distance.

For added power, an excellent, powerful amplifier is the MTX Thunder 240 ($365), which matches well to the Denon receiver. How to Replace Car Speakers Change Speakers in Car

Speakers with this selection include MB Quart 160.03 KX coaxials ($368 a pair) for the front and rear. These compact units pack a lot of punch with a well-designed woofer and dome tweeter.
Sound quality is a largely personal preference, yet wherever your preference lies, a system is only as good as its weakest link. So it pays to match the quality and performance of the components you choose. That way your system will be well matched to produce the best sounds possible.
Last edited by g_traveller_35e1357f on Sat Dec 02, 2017 5:10 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Is it safe to travel in south Africa?

Postby TravelFun » Tue Sep 19, 2017 8:30 am

Yes it is safe and there are areas you will need to be more careful but overall you will be fine. How are you planning to travel within South Africa?
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Re: Is it safe to travel in south Africa?

Postby helix » Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:32 pm

I've never had problems with safety in south africa. And i've spent a lot of time there. I wouldn't recommend walking around night time (or even driving if you don't have to). There's massive difference between different areas, just ask your hotel/lodge what's safe and what's not. For example in Johannesburg many hotels get you taxi to shopping malls or restaurants and also organize taxi back to the hotel for you. In some areas you need to be careful with animals (in some places you should have a taxi back from a restaurant after it gets dark - not because of people but because of the wild animals).

Long story short: Go there, it's beautiful country, really nice safari destination, easy to travel around, clean, etc. Just bear in mind the crime rates are high and there is a lot of dangerous animals. Locals will tell you what's safe and what's not, it's really not a big deal. :)
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Re: Is it safe to travel in south Africa?

Postby counterfugue » Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:10 pm

Let me largely reiterate what Helix wrote.

I was just in SAfrica (Johannesburg, Cape Town, Kruger, towns in between for stops). Coming from NYC, and travelling in many cities throughout the world (including CAmerica, Colombia, Istanbul, Bangkok, Marrakesh, etc.) I have to admit there was a specific sense of pressure in S African cities and towns. Often, we were followed and harassed without end by street beggars and "car guards." It was nothing like what we see daily in NYC. Dark streets, and beggars followed behind for blocks.

Mind you, NOTHING ever happened.

But, the homes in neighborhoods of Jozi and Cape Town are walled in concrete, gated in iron, triple-locked, and protected at night by armed neighborhood watchmen.

In the city center of Jozi, a local guide (from the Soweto) REFUSED to take us and two other couples around to tour in midday if we had a purse on us. We had to leave it behind with a clerk. We were told the few moments that we were allowed to take phones out for photos. I can't ever imagine that kind of language used for tourists in NYC. Even on the highways, digital signs warned motorists explicitly to watch for bump-and-rob scams. Our lodge keepers gave us firm directions which streets to walk down, and what times to be inside.

And like I said, NOTHING happened, we continually felt the threat, as much from people watching/following us as from the people who ostensibly were trying to help us.

I was like no place I have been before in that regard. (Except for Panama City, but at least there, the criminal element was pretty evident.)

So, is it safe? Probably as much as any other large city. Did it feel safe? Much less so.
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Re: Is it safe to travel in south Africa?

Postby helix » Sat Oct 07, 2017 5:33 am

I don't know if the situation has changed since i lived there 5 years ago but i've never had experiences Counterfugue described (definitely not saying you're lying! just sharing my experience).

I am very petite, blonde girl so would think i'm the optimum victim, but never felt that unsafe in South Africa. I have to say South Africa is the most racist country i've ever visited. That might cause people staring you with somewhat hostile "tone". I've spend most of my time in small towns and Cape Town and never felt unsafe (excluding the racist stares). Still i advice you to be careful and as i said, ask local people what to do and where to go. Just don't be too afraid to go, it's a beautiful country with a lot to see and do! :)

I have traveled a lot in africa, central america, south america and asia and for me the most unsafe feeling destination has been Madagascar - by miles.
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Re: Is it safe to travel in south Africa?

Postby brad.fraser » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:37 pm

helix wrote:I have traveled a lot in africa, central america, south america and asia and for me the most unsafe feeling destination has been Madagascar - by miles.


Oh yay, I'll be there in a month's time!!

My experiences in South Africa have been nothing but pleasant. I've been there twice, spending most of my time in Cape Town. Never felt in danger or threatened or intimidated. I did a fair bit of walking, sometimes by myself, and apart from a few locals calling you over to sell you pot, was pretty much left alone. Just exercise the same amount of caution you would in any place you visit; avoid obvious risk areas like shanty towns, be aware of local animals etc and you should be fine. It's an amazing country you should absolutely visit.
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Re: Is it safe to travel in south Africa?

Postby counterfugue » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:28 pm

I'm glad you felt safe, and I cannot believe I am in the position to give anyone a heads up about a travel destination (since I am usually the one to downplay concerns), but I cannot distort what I saw, and what locals warned me of.

For example, the highways have signs warning of "hijacking threat" and "crime alert - do not stop." We were similarly warned of crash scams.

In the Johannesburg, our local walking guide refused to walk through downtown unless we left purses and cellphones behind. We insisted we were fine: they refused us.

Also, in most neighborhoods, homes are high-gated, electrified, triple locked, and steel-shuttered. I asked locals and they explained that if you do not, your home will be robbed.

At night, we were stalked for blocks, long after refusing pan-handlers.

In Cape Town, our innkeeper warned us rigorously to not even leave an iPhone cord in the car, for fear it will be robbed. We were given a highlighted map of "good" and "bad" streets.

These things happened, unfortunately...
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Re: Is it safe to travel in south Africa?

Postby helix » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:45 am

brad.fraser wrote:
helix wrote:I have traveled a lot in africa, central america, south america and asia and for me the most unsafe feeling destination has been Madagascar - by miles.


Oh yay, I'll be there in a month's time!!


I'm sure you'll be fine! ;) Nothing happened to us but I've never felt that sort of hostility anywhere else. I was so happy we had our two local guides standing right behind us when we withdraw money and getting around in general. No problem in national parks though, just cities/towns.

counterfugue wrote:These things happened, unfortunately...


Yes unfortunately they do. And statistically South Africa is a really dangerous country. I just want to say that it is ok to travel there and as long as you know what to do and what not, you should be ok. And as I've said, it's a beautiful and wonderful place so I don't think people should skip it because they think it's too dangerous to travel there.
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Re: Is it safe to travel in south Africa?

Postby brad.fraser » Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:05 pm

counterfugue wrote:I'm glad you felt safe, and I cannot believe I am in the position to give anyone a heads up about a travel destination (since I am usually the one to downplay concerns), but I cannot distort what I saw, and what locals warned me of.


And it's definitely unfortunate that you experienced these things. South Africa is statistically an unsafe country, and I received warnings of personal safety etc before going there from my mum who lived there for a good part of her life. However I can only talk/give advice based on my experiences. That's why this community is so great; we get to hear about places from an assortment of different perspectives and experiences, both good and the bad.

helix wrote:I'm sure you'll be fine! ;) Nothing happened to us but I've never felt that sort of hostility anywhere else. I was so happy we had our two local guides standing right behind us when we withdraw money and getting around in general. No problem in national parks though, just cities/towns.


I'm surprised about the hostility, definitely something I'll keep in mind. Thanks for the heads up!!
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