Flying, of course, is the most practical choice. SAA (South African Airways) is our domestic airline, and offers regular scheduled flights between the major centres, as do many international airlines. Private Air Charter Companies are ideal when travelling in a group and will chart your own route. For information about flights to and from South Africa or within the country, please contact a South African Travel Agent, who will be able to best advise you on flight availability and costs involved.
South Africa's airports
Airports Company South Africa operates South Africa's 10 principal airports - including three major international airports - which together handle over 200 000 aircraft landings and 23-million passengers annually.
Johannesburg International Airport is the major gateway, offering both domestic, African regional and international connections. There are also an increasing number of international flights direct to Cape Town, and a few direct to Durban.
Altogether there are more than 30 airports in South Africa, ranging from smaller airports for cross-border flights to and from neighbouring countries to larger airports for flights to and from other African airports.
The three main South African airports:
Johannesburg International Airport
Cape Town International Airport
Durban International Airport
The seven major domestic airports:
Bloemfontein, East London, George, Kimberley, Port Elizabeth, Pilanesberg and Upington.
South Africa is served by more than 60 international airlines and seven major domestic airlines as well as a number of smaller charter airline companies. South Africa's national carrier, South African Airways, flies to many destinations in Europe, North and South America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
How long does it take to get to South Africa? Flights from Europe are generally overnight and are a dinner-bed-and-breakfast away. Direct flights between the US and Johannesburg or Cape Town take about 15 hours, and flights between London and Johannesburg about 12 hours. So South Africa is never more than a flight away if you are on a major air route internationally.
There's more than one way of getting to South Africa. If you'd like to be a little different, you could hop on a cruise ship. All the big cruise liners dock in Cape Town and sometimes Durban but, for something a touch more unusual, try the RMS St Helena. Running from Southampton to Cape Town via St Helena, it's one of the last real old mail ships.
If you're really adventurous, you could sail here or, if you have the time, travel over Africa overland.
SAA is by far the largest air carrier in Africa, with the JIA being the busiest airport in Africa. Nearly 75% of air traffic in Africa takes place in the region.
SAA, British Airways (BA)/Comair, SA Express, SA Airlink and Interair operate scheduled air services within South Africa and the Indian Ocean islands. In addition to serving Africa, SAA operates services to Europe, Latin America and the Far East.
Scheduled international air services are also provided by Air Afrique, Air Austral, Air Botswana, Air France, Air Gabon, Air Madagascar, Air Malawi, Air Mauritius, Air Namibia, Air Portugal, Air Seychelles, Air Tanzania, Air Zimbabwe, Airlink Swaziland, Alliance Express, BA, Cameroon Airlines, Delta Airlines, El Al, Egyptair, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Ghana Airways, Iberia, KLM, Kenya Airways, LAM, LTU, Lufthansa, MK Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Martinair Holland, North-West Airlines, Olympic Airways, Quantas, Royal Air Maroc, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Swissair, Taag, Thai International, Turkish Airlines, Uganda Airlines, United Airlines, Varig, Virgin Atlantic, Yemenia, Zambian Air Services and Zambian Skyways.
There are frequent direct and indirect flights by numerous major airlines from destinations throughout Europe and North America.
Approximate flight times: From Cape Town to London is 12 hours 35 minutes, from Durban is 14 hours and from Johannesburg is 11 hours 50 minutes. From Johannesburg to Los Angeles is 23 hours (no direct flight available).
Cape Town (CPT) (Cape Town International), 22km (14 miles) east of the city (travel time – 25 minutes). Airport facilities include outgoing duty-free shop, car hire, bank/bureau de change (0830-1630 Monday to Friday, 0830-1200 Saturday) and restaurant/bar (0600-0305). Inter-Cape buses meet all incoming and outgoing flights. Courtesy buses are operated by some hotels. Taxis are available, with a surcharge after 2300.
Bloemfontein (BFN) (Bloemfontein International), 10km (6 miles) east of the city (travel time – 15 minutes). Airport facilities include automatic teller machine, restaurants, car hire and conference facilities. Airport shuttle bus to the city centre (leaving from outside the airport building). Taxis are also available.
Durban (DUR) (Durban International), 16km (10 miles) south of the city (travel time – 20 minutes). Airport facilities include outgoing duty-free shop, car hire, bank/bureau de change and bar/restaurant. Airport buses and taxis are available to the city.
Johannesburg (JNB) (Johannesburg International), 24km (15 miles) northeast of the city (travel time – 35 minutes). Airport facilities include incoming and outgoing duty-free shops, post office, car hire, bank/bureau de change (24 hours), restaurant and bar (1000-2400). Bus services to Pretoria and Johannesburg are available. Buses link Kempton Park with Johannesburg. Taxis are available. Courtesy coaches are operated by some major hotels.
Port Elizabeth (PLZ) (Port Elizabeth International) is 25km (16 miles) from the city (travel time – 30 minutes). Airport facilities include Nedbank automated teller machine, conference facilities, information desk (0600-2200 Monday to Friday; 0700-2100 Saturday; 0800-2210 Sunday) restaurants and pubs, shops, a pharmacy, postal services, car hire. Airport shuttle bus to the main international hotels in Port Elizabeth. Taxis are also available.
Nelspruit (KMIA) (Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport) is 23km (14 miles) from Nelspruit, 44km (28 miles) from the Numbi Entrance Gate of Kruger Park and within close vicinity of the major game lodges in the area. Recently opened, the airport facilities are created over a period of time.
Air Charter Services:
Sunrise Aviation offers a variety of affordable helicopter corporate and VIP charters and transfers in South Africa and Mozambique -- including transfers to the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) from private game lodges.
||The Baz Bus offers independent budget travellers and backpackers the opportunity to explore the most beautiful towns and cities in South Africa at your own pace. All you need is one ticket to your final destination and you can hop on and off as often as you like along the route. Furthermore; the Baz Bus drops you off and picks you up from your backpacking hostel or lodge!