Getting to South Africa

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.

Flying, of course, is the most practical choice.

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.

OR Tambo International Airport (formerly Johannesburg International) is the major gateway, offering both domestic, African regional and international connections. There are also an increasing number of international flights direct to and from Cape Town, and a few direct to and from Durban.

Altogether there are more than 30 airports in SA, ranging from smaller airports for cross-border flights to and from neighbouring countries to larger airports for flights to and from other African airports.

For more information on the three main airports, see:



  • Cape Town International Airport


  • King Shaka International Airport


For information on the seven major domestic airports – Bloemfontein, East London, George, Kimberley, Port Elizabeth, Pilanesberg and Upington – go to Airports Company South Africa.

How long does it take to get here?

South Africa is served by more than 70 international airlines and our national carrier, South African Airways, flies to many destinations in Europe, North and South America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

So we are never more than a flight away if you are on a major air route internationally.

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.

SAinfo reporter and South African Tourism

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