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Getting around by air

From Asia

Most of the major hubs have direct connections to Jo'burg.

South African Airways From Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Cathay Pacific (www.cathaypacific.com) From Hong Kong, with connections to Cape Town.

Singapore Airlines (www.singaporeair.com) From Singapore, with connections to Cape Town.

Air Mauritius (www.airmauritius.com) Hong Kong, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai via Mauritius to Jo'burg, Cape Town and Durban.

From the UK & Ireland

British Airways flies direct from Heathrow to Jo’burg and Cape Town, with onward connections; Virgin Atlantic (www.virginatlantic.com) and South African Airways also serve Jo'burg. You can find budget flights from Gatwick.

Cheap fares are also available via the Middle East, with airlines such as Turkish Airlines, Emirates and Qatar Airways, and continental Europe. Ethiopian Airlines (www.ethiopianairlines.com) offers competitive fares via Addis Ababa.

From Ireland, you’ll need to fly via London or continental Europe.

As well as travel agents, preferably those registered with the Association of British Travel Agents (www.abta.com), check ads in the travel sections of weekend newspapers; and in such publications as the South African (www.thesouthafrican.com), TNT (www.tntmagazine.com), Time Out (www.timeout.com) and the Evening Standard (www.standard.co.uk).

From Australia & New Zealand

It often works out cheaper to travel via Asia, the Middle East or London.

Air Mauritius Perth via Mauritius to Jo’burg, Cape Town and Durban, with connections to and from other major Australian cities.

Singapore Airlines Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin, Auckland and Christchurch via Singapore to Jo’burg, with connections to Cape Town.

South African Airways Perth to Jo’burg.

Emirates (www.emirates.com) Most major cities in Australia and New Zealand via Dubai to Jo’burg, Cape Town and Durban.

Qantas (www.qantas.com.au) Sydney to Jo'burg.

From Africa

There are good connections between Jo’burg and most major African cities.

South African Airways, Airlink, SA Express, other countries’ national carriers and British Airways (www.britishairways.com) are good starting points.

Most transcontinental flights have set pricing, with little of the competition-driven discounting that you’ll find in other parts of the world. To reach a far-flung part of Africa from Jo'burg, flying via Europe or the Middle East is often cheaper than travelling direct.

Southern Africa

Jo’burg is well connected, including to secondary Southern African airports. For example, Air Botswana (www.airbotswana.co.bw) offers direct flights from Jo'burg to Francistown and Maun as well as the Botswanan capital, Gaborone.

In addition to national carriers, budget South African airlines serve other destinations in the region:

Kulula Offers online discounts on British Airways flights from Jo’burg to Harare (Zimbabwe), Livingstone (Zambia), Windhoek (Namibia) and Mauritius, and on Kenya Airways flights from Jo'burg to Nairobi (Kenya).

Mango Jo’burg to Zanzibar (Tanzania).

Fastjet Jo'burg to Harare and Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), with connections from the former to Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Lusaka (Zambia).


International fares to South Africa are usually highest during December and January, and between July and September. They are lowest in April and May (except during the Easter holiday period) and November. The rest of the year falls into the shoulder-season category.

It’s normally cheaper to fly via Jo’burg than directly to Cape Town. If an airline serves both, an ‘open jaw’ ticket may be available, allowing you to fly into one city and out of another; more commonly, you may be able to fly to Jo'burg and return from Cape Town via Jo'burg (or vice versa).

London is a hub for airlines offering discounted fares.

Intercontinental (Round-The-World) Tickets

Some standard around-the-world (RTW) itineraries include South Africa.

It’s possible to include both Jo’burg and Cape Town, allowing you to fly into one city and out of the other, and make your own way between the two.

The easiest and cheapest option may be to fly in and out of Jo’burg on a RTW ticket and make separate arrangements from there for Southern African travel.

From Continental Europe

You can fly to South Africa from most European capitals. Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich are hubs; all are within about nine hours of Jo’burg.

Several airlines fly direct to both Jo’burg and Cape Town, including KLM (www.klm.com) from Amsterdam. South African Airways flies direct from Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich to Jo’burg.

It can work out cheaper to fly via the Middle East. Turkish Airlines (www.turkishairlines.com) often offers competitive fares to Jo’burg, Cape Town and Durban via Istanbul.

Departure Tax

Departure tax is included in the price of a ticket.

Airports & Airlines

South African Airways is South Africa’s national airline, with an excellent route network and safety record. In addition to its long-haul flights, it operates regional and domestic routes together with its partners Airlink and SA Express.

OR Tambo International Airport, east of Jo’burg, is the major hub for Southern Africa. The other principal international airports are Cape Town International Airport and King Shaka International Airport in Durban.

From South America

Travelling via London or continental Europe opens up more choice. South African Airways flies from São Paulo to Jo’burg.

From the Middle East

Emirates Dubai to Jo’burg, Cape Town and Durban.

South African Airways Cairo to Jo’burg; Dubai to Jo’burg, Cape Town and Durban.

Turkish Airlines Istanbul to Jo’burg, Cape Town and Durban.

Egypt Air (www.egyptair.com) Cairo to Jo'burg, with connections to Cape Town and Durban.

Qatar Airways (www.qatarairways.com) Doha to Jo’burg and Cape Town.

From Canada & the USA

The cheapest route is often via London, continental Europe or even the Middle East. A discounted transatlantic ticket and separate onward ticket to Jo’burg or Cape Town may work out the same or cheaper than a through-fare.

Some airlines fly via West African airports such as Accra (Ghana) and Dakar (Senegal). South African Airways flies to Jo’burg from New York and Washington, DC, with a fuel stop in Dakar.

From the US west coast, you can occasionally get good deals via Asia.