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PAIA, 2000 (Act 2 of 2000) 

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OR Tambo Airport Print E-mail
11 January 2007

OR Tambo Airport welcomes international travellers

Your first stop on any trip to South Africa is likely to be OR Tambo Airport, the hub of all air travel on the sub-continent.

OR Tambo International Airport is the busiest airport in Africa: about 17 million passengers pass through it each year.

The upgraded airport
A programme to revamp the airport and the highways that lead to it is currently underway. Once complete the airport will be a modern and attractive building that is simple to navigate and more accessible from Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Getting there
The airport is a 20-minute drive from the eastern suburbs of Johannesburg and a 45-minute trip from Sandton and Rosebank, where most hotels are found.

Visitors are warned, though, that traffic can be bad during peak hours because the roads to the airport serve some major industrial areas.

The terminals
The airport has two terminals: Terminal A receives international traffic and Terminal B handles domestic flights. The terminals are connected; passengers can easily walk from one to the other, but there are shuttles for those who need help.

Each terminal has two levels. On the top you will find departures; on the bottom, arrivals. The terminals are arranged in a long, narrow strip: the airfield is on one side and cars and buses are on the other.

A luxury hotel, the Airport Sun Intercontinental, is inside the airport complex, no more than 30 metres from the Terminal A arrivals door. This five-star hotel's major attraction is 24-hour service: you can check in or out - or order a meal - at any time.

A Garden Court hotel is less than a kilometre away, on the opposite side of the ring of highways that encircle the airport.

Other hotels, one of them at a casino named Emperor’s Palace, are a few minutes' drive from the airport.

Airport hotels

Shops and extras
The expanded airport has become a booming mini-city. New features include a terminal for shuttle buses and taxis, a duty-free shop called Big Five (said to be the second-biggest duty free shop in the world), an emergency medical clinic, prayer centres, a library, hairdressers, pharmacies, and luggage deposits.

Transport from the airport
Across the road from Terminal B is a multi-storey parking garage that has one floor reserved for car-rental companies and another for buses and coaches.

To the right of the parking garage is a terminal for minibus shuttles and metered taxis. For those who get lost, there are plenty of information booths.

And visitors needn't tangle with taxi touts: minibus shuttles and metered taxis can be booked at the baggage-claim area. Tickets can be bought to a range of destinations - in Johannesburg or other towns.

Car rental
All car-hire companies have information kiosks on the ground floor of Terminal B. Cars are collected from the parking garage across the road from the terminal's entrance.

Company Contact details
Avis Car Rental Tel:+27 11 394 5433
Budget Rent A Car Tel: +27 11 394 2905
Europcar Tel: +27 11 394 8831
Hertz Car Hire Tel: +27 11 390 2066
Imperial Car Hire Tel: +27 11 975 3376/011 390 3909
Khaya Car Rental Tel: +27 11 390 2347/8
National Car Rental Tel: +27 11 390 2342
Sizwe Car Rental Tel: +27 11 390 2340
Tempest Car Rental Tel: +27 11 394 8626

Visitors should use only accredited porters, who wear uniforms of bright orange and navy blue, and carry permits. Porters are allowed to work only in the arrival and departure halls, in the connecting corridors and on the pavements. Most porters know enough to point tourists to airport facilities.

The porters are not paid; they work for tips alone. The airport company recommends a tip of R5 a bag.

Mobile phones
Cellphones can be rented at competitive rates in the terminal foyers. The GSM network in South Africa is sophisticated and covers all but the most remote areas of the country.

A mobile phone will be useful because public phones are not as widely available as they are in Europe or North America. And, because hotels charge stiff fees for calls, a cellphone may be a cheaper option.

The country has four mobile operators: MTN, Vodacom, Cell C and Virgin Mobile that all offer similar services. MTN and Vodacom have a presence at the airport.

Currency exchange
There are four currency-exchange booths in the foyers of the airport terminals: Absa, Rennies, Master Currency and American Express. Visitors should cash a few travellers' cheques at the airport.

See the City of Johannesburg website's section on currency exchange.

The airport, the airmail hub of sub-Saharan Africa, houses a R55-million postal centre and a terminal for speed services.

Internet connectivity
Three Airport Online facilities are available to those who need Internet connectivity: one in the international departures terminal, one in the domestic departures terminal, and one in the shopping area of the domestic terminal. The Airport Online offices provide networked computers linked to the Internet and to local printing facilities. Credit card payment is preferred, but other payment options are available. Users can also plug their own laptops into the connections supplied and work from desks at the Airport Online facility.

A wireless connectivity service is available throughout the shopping area and dining area. This allows those who have wireless cards installed in their laptops to go online from their own equipment while enjoying a meal or cup of coffee.

For more information contact the Johannesburg Tourism Company on
Tel: 011 214 0700
Fax: 011 214 0715
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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Last Updated on 14 February 2013