I just visited both April 2003, so not sure how helpful I can be...
How does one stay safe in Jo'berg? Don't go downtown!
Don't stay anywhere near downtown Jo'berg. The nicest areas I saw were right around the airport. There is a little farm that's a nice bed a breakfast right outside JNB
, and for the life of me I cant think of the name of it, maybe the locals on here know. Very clean, friendly, safe, and affordable.
In Cape Town there are a lot of chains (Holiday Inn, Best Western), and all were very nice. There is also another that is right next to the airport, you can miss it as you exit. Plenty of nice and safe hotels right in downtown, and in the Table Mountain area.
It's a great country, and the citizens have a lot to be proud of!