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Air travel in South Africa

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Revision as of 15:00, 17 July 2010

    This article is a travel topic

SAA at Cape Town International

South Africa is the most developed country in Africa, with one of the strongest economies of the continent. Therefore a high number of flights in Africa is to or from a destination in South Africa. See below for more information on Cape Town International.



South Africa is a major hub for air travel in the Southern African region.

The two most used airports for international flights are Cape Town International and OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

There are regular flights arrive in South Africa from major centers throughout Africa including: Blantyre, Cairo, Gaborone, Dar es Salaam, Harare, Lilongwe, Livingstone, Luanda, Lusaka, Kinshasa, Maputo, Manzini, Maun, Mauritius, Nairobi, Victoria Falls and Windhoek.

Direct flights also arrive from major European centers, including: Amsterdam, Athens, Madrid, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich and Lisbon.

There are also direct flights from Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Dubai, Doha, New York, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Buenos Aires, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Sydney and Perth.


There are multiple daily flights to all the major airports within the country. Contact any of the airlines for details. The low cost airlines (1 Time [27], Kulula [28], Mango [29]) are usually the cheapest and prices can be compared online. It is also worth comparing with the SAA [30] rates as they usually have online specials which are very reasonable.

See also Discount airlines in Africa.


South African Airways

South African Airways

Flag carrier. Has a big network to most South African cities and operates a wide range of International flights to/from North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.


  • Code: SAA
  • Phone: +27 (0)11 978-5313
  • Homepage: [31]



Affiliate of British Airways [32] in South Africa. Operates to most major cities.


  • Code:
  • Phone: +27 (0)11 921-0111
  • Homepage: [33]


One of the smaller airlines of the country. Mainly operates to destinations in Central Africa.


  • Code:
  • Phone: +27 (0)11 616-0636
  • Homepage: [34]

SA Airlink

One of the regional arms of SAA and operate mostly to smaller airports from Johannesburg and Cape Town or on low-density routes.


  • Code:
  • Phone: +27 (0)11 978-5313
  • Homepage: [35]

SA Express

SA Express

One of the regional arms of SAA and operate mostly to smaller airports from Johannesburg and Cape Town or on low-density routes.


  • Code:
  • Phone: +27 (0)11 978-2355
  • Homepage: [36]

Other Airlines

Smaller airlines like Civair [40] or NAC [41] normally operate charter flights, but sometimes have a few local routes.

A real adventure is flying with an old classic airliner. There are some tour operators offering such flights, mainly in the Gauteng region. One example is Rovos Air [42], a divison of Rovos Rail.

See also Discount airlines in Africa.


OR Tambo International in Johannesburg and Cape Town International are the two major international gateways for tourists and foreign visitors. All the larger airports in South Africa used to be state owned, but has been privatised and are now managed by the Airports Company of South Africa [43].

OR Tambo International

OR Tambo

JNB/FAJS, +27 (0)11 921-6262, [1]. Johannesburg, International Port of Entry (-26.140,28.250)

The international terminal is currently undergoing major construction work and may look and feel disorganized. Everything a traveler need is however still there; maybe just a bit harder to find. If you can not find what you are looking for simply ask someone and they will point you in the right direction. Due to space limitations (made even worse by the construction work) you will find fewer restaurants there and they will almost always be fully occupied. It is well worth taking a walk over to Domestic if you don't find anything you like at International. The domestic terminals was enlarged a couple of years ago, is well organized and have all the shops and restaurants that you might need.

Located in Kempton Park, about 20km east of downtown Johannesburg this airport serves at the major sub-Saharan hub. More than 40 airlines fly regular flight to and from here. Everything you would expect from a large international airport is catered for; plenty of restaurants, shops and ATMs. This airport has been renamed twice in the last couple of years; you may find that people and publications still refer to it by it's previous names of Johannesburg International Airport or Jan Smuts. The airport is constantly expanding and you will probably find construction work in progress, the current big project is an additional International Terminal.

The airport is located at the intersection of the R21 and R24 freeways. From Johannesburg, follow the R24 east and take exit 46, from Tshwane, follow the R21 south and take exit 46.


  • Airport Clinic & Travel Vaccination Centre, (Ground Floor, New Domestic Arrivals Terminal), +27 (0)11 921-6609. GP, dentist, vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis
  • ATMs, (Located at international arrivals and the shopping level in the Domestic Terminal).
  • Baggage storage, (Below International arrivals on the upper level of the underground parkade, near the main lift lobby.). Open 24 hours. R50 per item for the first day, R40 thereafter.
  • Baggage wrapping in plastic, (Below International arrivals on the upper level of the underground parkade, near the main lift lobby.). Open 24 hours. R35 per item.
  • Foreign exchange, (Located in International Arrivals Terminal). ABSA, American Express, Rennies and Master Currency has outlets here.
  • VAT Refunds, (Mezzanine level, International Departures, just after you have passed passport control), +27 (0)11 394-1117 (), [2].

Car hire

Car hire companies are all located on level 0 in the multistory parking area opposite the Domestic Terminal.

  • Avis Car Rental, +27 (0)11 923-3730.
  • Budget Rent A Car, +27 (0)11 390-1924.
  • Europcar, +27 (0)11 394-8831.
  • Hertz Car Hire, +27 (0)11 390-2066.
  • Imperial Car Hire, +27 (0)11 390-1481.
  • Khaya Car Rental, +27 (0)11 390-2347.
  • National Car Rental, +27 (0)11 394-3580.
  • Sizwe Car Rental, +27 (0)11 390-2340.
  • Tempest Car Rental, +27 (0)11 394-8626.

Airport Transfers/Shuttles

Many Tour Operators offer transport/shuttles to and from the airport. Having someone who know the areas drive you around gives you more peace of mind.

Scheduled services
  • Magic Bus, (Located in the multistory parkade opposite the domestic terminal, but you can also email or phone them and request that you be met at the gate when your flight arrives), +27 (0)11 394-6902 (, fax: +27 (0)11 466-2565), [3]. Every two hours from 8AM to 6PM. Offers a scheduled service to most major hotels in Johannesburg/Sandton To Sandton: adults R120, children R90.
Unscheduled services, book in advance
  • Airport Shuttle, +27 (0)861 748-8853 (, fax: +27 (0)86 501-0715), [4]. To Sandton:R275 for max 3 passengers, R390 for max 7 passengers. To Sun City: R1200 max 5 passengers and a range of options in between.
  • Buzz Around, +27 (0)83 651-6700 (+27 (0)83 264-4552, , fax: +27 (0)86 653-7419), [5]. To Sandton: R300 for up to 3 passengers, R50 for any additional passengers.
  • Your Choice Tours and Shuttles, +27 (0)845804802, [6]. 24Hours.
  • Cab4U, +27 (0)725438849 (), [7]. 24Hours. Mini-buses and cars available for any number of passengers and luggage.


  • Emperors Palace, 64 Jones Road, Kempton Park (When exiting the airport, keep left and follow Jones Road. At the T-junction, take a right and keep following Jones road. The Casino resort and Hotel will be on your right.), +27 (0)11 928-1000 (, fax: +27 (0)11 928-1201), [8].
  • Garden Court OR Tambo International Airport, 2 Hulley Road, Isando, +27 (0)11 392-1062 (), [9]. 3km from the airport, transport to/from airport and shopping centres.


  • Always On Wi-Fi, +27 (0)11 575-2505, [10]. Simply connect to the access point and you will be given the opportunity to pay for access by credit card. From R15 for 10 minutes or R60 for 100MB.

Cape Town International

CPT/FACT, +27 (0)21 937-1200, [11]. Cape Town, International Port of Entry (-33.960,18.600)

The second biggest airport in South Africa and is located around 20km east from the city centre of Cape Town. It can easily reached by all National Roads and situated directly at the N2 near Bellville.

A growing number of International airlines fly into CPT. These are:

South African Airways and South African Express operate some international routes from CPT, but for the majority of destinations you will have to fly via Johannesburg. Some flights offered are to Frankfurt, London, Gaborone, and few cities in Namibia.


  • ATMs, (In all terminals).
  • Baggage storage, (In the Domestic Arrivals terminal), +27 (0)21 936-2884. R15 per bag per day.
  • Clinic, (Southern Office Block), +27 (0)21 936-2277.
  • Foreign exchange, (Located in International Arrivals and Departure Terminals). Master Currency and ABSA
  • VAT Refunds, (International Departures, between passport control and the gates), +27 (0)21 934-8675 (), [12].

Car hire

  • Avis, +27 (0)21 934-0330.
  • Budget, +27 (0)21 934-3180.
  • Europcar, +27 (0)21 934-4750.
  • Hertz, +27 (0)21 934-3913.
  • Imperial, +27 (0)21 934-8600.
  • National Alamo, +27 (0)21 934-7499.
  • Tempest, +27 (0)21 934-8650.
  • Dollar Thrifty, +27 (0)21 934-0266.


  • City Lodge, (Right next to the airport), +27 (0)21 934-7303, [13].
  • First Car Rental South Africa, +27 21 9347499.


  • Always On Wi-Fi, +27 (0)11 575-2505, [14]. Simply connect to the access point and you will be given the opportunity to pay for access by credit card. From R15 for 10 minutes or R60 for 100MB.

Kruger Mpumalanga International

MQP/FAKN, +27 (0)13 753-7500, [15]. Kruger National Park, International Port of Entry (-25.390,31.100) This airport is located just a 30 minute drive outside the Kruger National Park.

Distances to Kruger National Park entrance gates 76 km to Phabeni Gate 63 km to Malelane Gate 82 km to Kruger Gate 40 km to Numbi Gate



Durban International Airport

DUR/FADN (johannesburg), +27 (0)31 451-6758, [16]. Durban, International Port of Entry (-29.970,)

Durban Airport is served by all major South African airlines. Flights to most citites are operated. A number of smaller cities are however not connected from here. Also provides flights to Mauritius

International flights take place to Mauritius (Air Mauritius) and Swaziland (with Swazi Express Airways [44] and South African Express).

Gateway International Airport

PTG/FAPB, +27 (0)15 288-0122. Polokwane, International Port of Entry (-23.850,29.460)

Bloemfontein Airport

BFN/FABL, +27 (0)51 407-2240, [17]. Bloemfontein, International Port of Entry (-29.090,26.300)

East London Airport

ELS/FAEL, +27 (0)43 706-0306, [18]. East London (-29.090,26.300)

George Airport

GRJ/FAGG, +27 (0)44 876-9310, [19]. George (-34.010,22.380)

Kimberley Airport

KIM/FAKM, +27 (0)53 851-1032, [20]. Kimberley (-28.800,24.770)

Lanseria International Airport

HLA/FALA, +27 (0)11 659-2750 (), [21]. Johannesburg, International Port of Entry (-25.940,27.930)

Mainly used for smaller charter, cargo and classic airlines flights, it is in fact busier than Joburg International & sees more air traffic. [45] is currently flying a commercial flight to Cape Town from the airport.

Port Elizabeth Airport

PLZ/FAPE, +27 (0)41 507-7319, [22]. Port Elizabeth (-33.980,25.620)

Upington Airport

UTN/FAUP, +27 (0)54 337-7900, [23]. Upington (-28.400,21.260)

Rand Airport

QRA/FAGM, [24]. Johannesburg Primarily a business and general aviation airport.

Grand Central Airport

GCJ/FAGC, [25]. Johannesburg Located just off the N1 between Johannesburg and Pretoria this airport is primarily a business and general aviation airport.

Pilanesberg Airport

NTY/FAPN, +27 (0)14 552-1261, [26]. Pilanesberg, International Port of Entry Located just outside Sun City provides daily flights to and from Johannesburg

Oribi Airport

Phone number: +27 033 392 3100 Pietermaritzburg Oribi Airport offers daily flights to Johannesburg. Service can be slightly erratic or heavily booked, so keep that in mind when booking important flights.

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