21 October 2014
Three South African airports have been voted the top three airports in Africa by frequent travellers in the sleepinginairports.net’s 2014 Best Airports in Africa survey.
Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport tops the list, with Cape Town International Airport coming second, followed by Durban’s King Shaka International Airport in third place, taking all the top spots in the top five airports in Africa. The survey rates airports based on business and leisure travellers’ reports on comfort, convenience, cleanliness and customer service. The winning airports all sport modern conveniences: wi-fi, premium lounges, shower facilities and especially for those needing a place to work or snooze during layovers, quiet areas.
OR Tambo International
OR Tambo International in Johannesburg is a major continental transit hub – it efficiently processes thousands of visitors a day and received a major overhaul to welcome football fans for the 2010 Fifa World Cup. Its appearance on the list is virtually a no-brainer then.
According to one survey respondent, it’s a “nice airport to get some sleep in after you’ve checked in. The area inside the international departures is a “silent zone’ so there are no annoying tannoys. Always clean and tidy, but very limited smoking. Enough shops to keep you entertained. But be warned the prices are much higher that outside the airport. A much better airport to sleep in than Skiphol in Amsterdam.’
According to the sleepinginairports.net website, “Travellers praised the airport for its overall soothing ambience, its intuitive layout and friendly staff.’
Cape Town International Airport
Cape Town International, while less of a layover destination than OR Tambo, nevertheless offers options to wile away a few hours. Bookshops, curio stands, restaurants, showers, premium lounges and the now must-have wi-fi make waiting for a flight a breeze. A bonus is the relative quiet, as the airport seldom hosts late- night flights.
King Shaka International Airport, Durban
Durban is one of South Africa’s lesser-known international destinations, but a hit with locals for its year-round tropical climate. Its once somewhat poky airport was replaced in 2010 by the far more modern and efficient King Shaka International, offering an airy cool space to wait out flights, with a “decent variety of restaurants and shops’.
The other African airports that made the list were: Algeria’s Algiers Houari Boumediene International and Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa-Bole International Airport.
The best airports in the world
Singapore Changi Airport was voted the Best International Airport for the 18th year running. The virtual city within an airport sports “themed gardens, 800 mobile charging points, TV lounges and movie theatres, spas, a swimming pool and gym, free Singapore city tours and even a four-storey slide. There are also dedicated rest and relaxation zones allocated around the airport.’
Seoul Incheon International Airport in South Korea is the second-best, then Helsinki International Airport in Finland, Munich International Airport in Germany and Vancouver International Airport in Canada.