How to choose the best South Africa airport for your trip

Are you wondering which South Africa Airport to fly into for your trip to South Africa? Let’s explore your options!

This post may contain affiliate links. Find more info about the use of affiliate links in my disclaimer.

South Africa has over 20 airports, of which three are international airports that you can use to arrive in South Africa. These international airports are in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

Although you can fly into any of these airports, there may be reasons for using a specific airport based on where you are flying from, what your itinerary in South Africa involve and perhaps even price! 

The number of flights and airline carriers flying to these airports may be affected by COVID.

How to choose the best South Africa airport for your trip

People typically choose an airport based on where they will stay in a country, but when you travel to South Africa, you may want to explore different cities and regions in South Africa. South Africa is a big country, and travelling between these destinations may require further flights, a bus or a road trip.

Although you can fly into any of these airports, there may be reasons for using a specific airport based on where you are flying from, what your itinerary in South Africa involve and perhaps even price! 

People typically choose an airport based on where they will stay in a country, but when you travel to South Africa, you may want to explore different cities and regions in South Africa. South Africa is a big country, and travelling between these destinations may require further flights, a bus or a road trip.

Johannesburg International Airport

Johannesburg International Airport is the busiest airport in South Africa. It is the best South Africa airport to fly into if you are staying or travelling around Johannesburg. 

If you land late in Johannesburg International Airport, there are many accommodation options near the Airport to spend the night before exploring South Africa further.

From Johannesburg International Aiport, you can easily travel to other destinations by, for example, driving to Sun City, South Africa, or flying to Kruger National Park. 

Facilities:

  • Limited free WiFi throughout the airport
  • Bag-wrapping facilities
  • Several airport lounges for refreshments and getting some work done
  • A variety of restaurants for a quick snack
  • A luggage storage facility

Find flights to Johannesburg International Airport.

Car hire at Johannesburg International Airport 

There are several car rental companies at Johannesburg International Airport. You can rent a car at the airport and drive to different destinations in South Africa before leaving the car at another branch of the car rental company, typically located in the bigger cities of South Africa. Not returning the vehicle from where you rented it, comes at an additional surcharge. 

Click here to see car rental options from Johannesburg International Airport.

Taxi’s and transfer

You can easily find taxis at the Johannesburg International Airport. It is an excellent idea to arrange a transfer in advance and this may give you a more reasonable price than a taxi.

Another option is to book a ride on Uber in South Africa. Here you can find more details on options for travelling from Johannesburg International Airport to the different areas in Johannesburg. 

See transfers prices from Johannesburg International Airport.

Cape Town International Airport

Cape Town International Airport is about 15 minutes from Cape Town’s City Centre. It is a much smaller airport than the Johannesburg Airport but is the second-largest South African airport. Many international airlines fly to Cape Town International Airport, including Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa. All the domestic airlines fly to this airport.

If your flight arrives late at night or departs early in the morning, click here for the accommodations options near the Cape Town International Airport.

If you want to explore Cape Town and the surrounding areas, or even the Garden Route, flying to Cape Town International Airport is the best for you. Here is some ideas of activities near Cape Town:

Cape Town International’s Airport Code: CPT

Facilities:

  • Free, but limited, WiFi throughout the airport
  • Several restaurants and cafés
  • Chapel and prayer rooms
  • Domestic and international lounges
  • Bag-wrapping

Click here to search for flights to Cape Town.

Car Hire at Cape Town International Airport

You can rent cars from all the major car rental companies from Cape Town International Airport. 

See car rental options from Cape Town.

Transfers from Cape Town International Airport

You can find taxis outside the Cape Town Airport, but you can book a transfer ahead of time to save money. 

Click here to see where to find the best airport transfers from Cape Town.

You can also use Uber in Cape Town, and there is a bus service available from the airport to the Cape Town City Centre. 

When flying to the Cape Town, Durban or Port Elizabeth International Airports, you may book a direct flight to these airports but have a short stopover in Johannesburg.

Durban International Airport

Durban International Airport is called King Shaka International Airport. It opened in 2021 and is one of the busiest South African airports. International airlines, such as Emirates, British Airways and Qatar Airways, fly to Durban. All the domestic airlines fly to this airport. The airport is 30 minutes from Durban Central by car.

Click here for hotel options if you arrive late or leave early at King Shaka International Airport.

Flying to King Shaka International is best if you plan on exploring Durban, Drakensberg or St Lucia. Here are some ideas of what you can do near Durban.

Durban International’s Airport Code: DUR

Facilities:

  • Limited free WiFi throughout the airport
  • Many restaurants
  • Chapel and prayer rooms
  • Lounges
  • Bag-wrapping

Click here to search for flights to Durban.

Car Hire at Durban International Airport

As with the other major airports in South Africa, you can rent cars from all the major car rental companies. 

See car rental options from Durban.

Transfers from Durban International Airport

How to choose the best South Africa airport for your trip

You can find taxis outside the Durban International Airport, but you can book a transfer ahead of time to save money. 

Click here to see where to find the best airport transfers from Durban.

You can also use Uber in Durban, and it is often the most cost-effective way to get to Durban and the surrounding areas. 

Share this:

By Sabs

Editor of the South Africa Travel Blog that focuses on travel to South Africa, including destinations, attractions, accommodation, food & drink.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *