If you’re planning a trip to South Africa, then you’re probably considering visiting the two major cities: Cape Town and Johannesburg. With the biggest airport in the country being in Johannesburg, it is quite common for most airlines to offer direct flights to that city rather than Cape Town. That’s why most people choose to visit Johannesburg first, as they’ve already arrived there and then decide on visiting Cape Town at a later stage. Being prepared and pre-planning everything before you start your trip will help ease your mind as well as enjoy a hassle-free trip. 

Here are a few tips to make your connection from Johannesburg to Cape Town straightforward and easy 

Avoid driving from Johannesburg to Cape Town

You might think that South Africa is a small country and it would be interesting to take a road trip from one city to another. Think again! That’s not because the road trip isn’t interesting or is considered to be dangerous, but only because the distance between the two cities is almost 1500 Km which would approximately take 14 hours to get there by car. That’s if you decide to take the direct route. There are longer routes with more scenic views and interesting stops for a road trip that can be taken if that’s what you’re after. However, if you’re just looking for a means of transportation, then the route is far too long to drive and not really worth the hassle. 


Book a flight 

With Cape Town being a hot tourist destination in South Africa, many tourists will not want to miss it. Instead of spending half your time wasted driving from one city to another, there are many cheap flights to Cape Town from Johannesburg that you can take and only spend an average of two hours in the air. Being a common route, you can choose from a variety of cheap airlines depending on which you feel most comfortable with. This will give you more time to enjoy your trip in South Africa without losing it on the road. 

Johannesburg Airport travel tips: 

  • Getting from your hotel to the airport should be fairly easy as most hotels provide shuttle service. If not, you can easily book an Uber or ask for a licensed private cab to take you to the airport. However, be wary of the white minivans that fill up on a first come, first served basis. While they offer cheap fares, these taxis can be dangerous for foreigners. 
  • Before you head to the airport, make sure you know which terminal you’re flying from. There are two terminals at O.R. Tambo airport: Terminal A for international flights and Terminal B for domestic flights. In case you find yourself at the wrong terminal, it is very easy to walk between them, so rest assured! 
  • When traveling from Johannesburg to Cape Town, you’ll be using the domestic flights terminal and will only need to be at the airport an hour and a half in advance; however, it is always recommended to be there half an hour earlier. Sometimes the airport can get rather busy.
  • When packing your luggage, make sure it is secured properly to avoid loose straps catching in the conveyor belt. 
  • No matter which airline you’re traveling, do not under any circumstances, place valuable items into checked-in luggage. This includes cell phones, laptops, jewelry, and any other item you wouldn’t want to lose.
  • Do not leave your baggage unattended regardless of whether it is checked-in or cabin luggage. Always keep them safe and within distance.
  • WiFi can be found at hotspots throughout the airport, and they offer 1 GB of free internet or the first four hours free, depending on which one ends first. 
  • Prayer rooms for Christians and Muslims can be found at the airport, as well as many other services. 
  • In case of a medical emergency, head to the Airport Medical Clinic, which is open 24 hours a day. 
  • If you have a pretty late flight and don’t want to catch a cab at a late hour, it is normal to head to the airport early and be one of the many overnight sleepers there. The security staff is so accustomed to them that they provide a safe atmosphere.  Many passengers are found sleeping on chairs or restaurant benches, but if you’re looking for a more comfortable sleeping option, there is a transit hotel at the airport and a few others that are just a shuttle ride away.

After landing and finally arriving at Cape Town airport, here are some other tips to consider:

  • If someone is picking you up from the airport, they are only allowed 30 mins in the pickup and go area. After that, a fee is applied. 
  • The distance between Cape Town International Airport and the city center is around 20km. In order to reach the city center, you can hire a car, call an Uber, take a taxi, catch a bus or hire an airport shuttle. 
  • You’ll find many metered taxis available at the airport. When using them to get to the city center, the trip will cost between R300 and R400.  Some taxis have flat rates, while others tend to charge by distance. In all cases, it is best to agree on a fee upfront to avoid getting ripped off. 
  • MyCiTi bus also offers routes to the city center, which you can take between 5.30 am -9.30 am daily.  In order to use this service, you will need a myconnect card which costs around R35 and can be purchased from the airport or at any MyCiTi station. The cost of a ride to the city center will vary between R60 and R100 depending on the time of day.

Travel smart and be fully prepared in order to enjoy your trip to the fullest. Understanding what to expect and the best routes to take will make your overall trip not only smoother but more enjoyable. So read the above tips carefully, plan accordingly, and enjoy your trip to South Africa. 

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