Travelling to South Africa

Almost all visitors from abroad fly to South Africa. The main hub for international flights is OR Tambo International Airport on the outskirts of Johannesburg, but some carriers also operate international flights to Cape Town and/or Durban.

The national carrier SAA, operates an extensive network of flights between Johannesburg and a large number of major cities in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and elsewhere in Africa. Almost all visitors from abroad fly to South Africa. The main hub for international flights is OR Tambo International Airport on the outskirts of Johannesburg, but some carriers also operate international flights to Cape Town and/or Durban.

The national carrier SAA, operates an extensive network of flights between Johannesburg and a large number of major cities in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and elsewhere in Africa.

Most major international carriers operate direct flights between their home country and South Africa, among them Air China, Air France, Alitalia, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta, EgyptAir, EL AL, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad, Iberia, Kenya Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, Qantas, Qatar, RwandAir, Singapore Airlines, Swiss, Turkish Airlines and Virgin Atlantic,. Particularly coming from a major European city such as London or Paris, there might be dozens of indirect options and you can save a lot of money by shopping around.

Travelling to South Africa_Cape Town International Airport Cape Town International Airport was ranked the best airport in Africa | Credit: Cape Town Etc

It is also possible to enter South Africa overland from the neighbouring countries of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia, but you’d only be likely to do so as part of an extended overland trip through Africa.

There are overland borders with the Kingdoms of Lesotho and Swaziland, the former surrounded entirely and the latter on three sides by South Africa. It’s highly unlikely anybody would enter South Africa directly via either of these small countries, but some itineraries pass through them (Swaziland in particular) in which case any visitor who requires a visa should apply for multiple-entry.


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South Africa visa requirements and fees

All visitors must present a passport upon arrival at their port of entry. This must be valid until at least 30 days after the end of their intended stay, and must have at least one blank page to accommodate entry and exit stamps. Technically, visitors should also have a return or onward ticket, and be able to demonstrate access to sufficient funds to cover day-to-day expenses for the duration of their stay, but these requirements are seldom enforced. Visas for stays of up to 90 days…

Getting around in South Africa

A good network of domestic flights connects Johannesburg and Cape Town to other major cities such as Mbombela (for the Kruger Park), Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth and George (for the Garden Route). Trunks roads are all surfaced and well maintained, so self-drive is a straightforward option, provided you have a valid license. The usual international car rental companies are represented in all major cities and airports. Driving is on the left side of the road, as in the UK, which…

South Africa vs Botswana

Botswana is known for its pristine wildlife destinations and natural world wonders Botswana is a more pure wildlife destination than South Africa. Its main safari reserves, for instance the Okavango and Chobe, are less accessible than their South African counterparts, far wilder in feel, and tend to cater more to high-cost, low impact fly-in tourism. Botswana thus offers more of an overt wilderness experience than anything in South Africa, but it is not well suited to budget-conscious…


Popular South Africa Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

 | Cape Town & Kruger Family Safari (SA 8 days)

Cape Town and Kruger family safari

Combine the best that Cape Town and the Kruger National Park have to offer – beach and bush – for the ideal family holiday...

 | South African holiday adventure

South African holiday adventure

Explore the southern-most city on the African continent, before jetting off to spot the Big Five...

 | Luxury South Africa to Zimbabwe safari

Luxury South Africa to Zimbabwe safari

Spot the Big Five in Thornybush Private Game Reserve and enjoy the majesty of Zimbabwe's roaring Victoria Falls ...

 | Nature, Romance, Exclusivity and Luxury - A Complete African Honeymoon

Nature, Romance, Exclusivity and Luxury - A Complete African Honeymoon

This exclusive African honeymoon through East and Southern Africa is the perfect way to celebrate the start of your new journey together...

 | Sabi Sands & Madikwe Combo

Sabi Sands & Madikwe Combo

Our selection of South Africa's top safari lodges and game reserves are guaranteed to suit every taste and budget. Consider this exciting safari package...

Elephant on Game Drive | Cape Town & Kruger Luxury Safari (SA 11 days)

Cape Town and Kruger Luxury Safari

Combine Cape Town and the surrounding Cape Winelands with a safari in the Kruger National Park for a relaxing and exhilarating South African safari...

 | Thornybush Game Reserve Safari

Thornybush Game Reserve Safari

Enjoy the city life in Johannesburg and track the Big Five in the Thornybush Game Reserve...

 | Luxury Cape Town and Kruger Safari

Luxury Cape Town and Kruger Safari

Explore two of South Africa's most desirable locations in this whirlwind safari tour...

 | Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve and Okavango Delta safari

Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve and Okavango Delta Safari

Explore the famous reserve that offers exceptional game viewing and sight the elusive Sitatunga antelope...

 | Midlands meander in South Africa

Midlands meander in South Africa

Explore the Eastern Cape, Lesotho and KwaZulu Natal...