OR Tambo International Airport
The airport is located in Kempton Park,
+27 (0)11 921 6911 / 6262
After massive upgrades for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport is vastly different to the disorganised airport of only a few years ago. South Africa’s main hub and Africa’s busiest airport, it processes nearly 18 million passengers each year from destinations around the world and is the point of entry for nearly every visitor to South Africa.
Many flights to OR Tambo Airport come from other parts of Africa, including Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, George, Maputo, Harare and Gabarone. However, there are also regular flights from major international destinations such as London, Paris, Cairo, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Dubai, Madrid, Athens, Mumbai, Sydney, Singapore, Bangkok, Lisbon and Istanbul.
As the gateway to the wonders of South Africa, including nearby Kruger National Park and the historic townships of Alexandra and Soweto, Johannesburg’s improved airport gets high marks for service. The spacious terminals are perfectly adequate for a long stopover.
It’s a long walk from one terminal to the other.
Train: The Gautrain is the easiest and fastest way to get to downtown Johannesburg. The Airport line stops at Marlboro and Sandton, from where passengers can transfer to North-South Commuter line, which goes to Johannesburg Park Station, Rosebank, Midrand, Centurion, and Pretoria. Tickets from OR Tambo cost ZAR 100-ZAR 125 (£8-£11), depending on your final destination, and can be purchased at the station.
Bus: There are no public buses to OR Tambo. There is a station for coaches between the car rental area and the car parks, across the street from the terminal. There you can buy tickets to many different destinations, including Johannesburg and Pretoria. Several nearby hotels offer free shuttle services as well from the terminal behind the Airport Sun International Hotel.
Taxi: Official ACSA-approved taxis are available at the rank outside the international arrivals area. Metered taxis into Johannesburg cost ZAR 200 to ZAR 300 (£17 to £26) depending on your destination, and a tip of 10-15 percent is optional.
The pick-up/drop-off area is in the basement of Parkade 2, offering 15 minutes free parking and then charging ZAR 30 (£2.60) for up to 30 minutes and ZAR 60 (£5) for up to two hours. Parkade 1 is near the International Terminal, and charges ZAR 15 (£1.30) for an hour, ZAR 20 (£1.70) for two hours, and ZAR 30 (£2.60) for three hours. Parkade 2 is near the Domestic Terminal, and charges ZAR 5 (£0.44) for an hour, ZAR 10 (£0.88) for two hours, and ZAR 15 (£1.32) for three hours. Long-term international parking is available in Shaded Lots 1 (ZAR 80 per day – about £7) and 2 (ZAR 65 per day – approximately £6). There is also an open car park for both terminals charging ZAR 65 per day. Further away, the official long-term parking lot charges ZAR 40 (£3.50) per day. There are free shuttle buses from the long-term car parks to the terminal buildings.
There are information desks in the arrivals area of each terminal, and in the international departures area.
Money and communications: There are banks, ATMs, currency exchange facilities, public phones, a post office, and a VAT-refund desk in the airport.
Luggage: It’s probably worth it to wrap your bags with the heavy-duty plastic available in the arrivals area, as there are annoyingly frequent thefts from checked luggage in South African airports. There are free baggage trolleys and porters in bright orange uniforms. OR Tambo is a large airport and it’s easy to get lost, so if you’re connecting from one terminal to the other a tip of ZAR 5-10 (about £0.40 to £0.80) per bag isn’t much in exchange for being led straight to your check-in counter.
Conference and business: The Premier Conference Centre in the Domestic Terminal has conference facilities for groups ranging from ten to 120.
Other facilities: Medical clinic, prayer rooms, handicapped facilities, smoking areas and massage chairs.
Wi-Fi: There is Wi-Fi throughout the airport, free to MWEB subscribers. Non-subscribers can purchase access with a credit card. Airport Online has branches in both the international and domestic departures areas.