Airport Guide to OR Tambo International Airport (JNB)

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Airport Name
OR Tambo International Airport

Airport Location
The airport is located 14 miles east of Johannesburg.



+27 (0)11 921 6911 / 6262

Airport Overview

After massive upgrades for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) is vastly different to the disorganized airport of only a few years ago. South Africa’s main hub and Africa’s busiest airport, it processes nearly 18 million passengers each year from destinations around the world and is the point of entry for nearly every visitor to South Africa.

Many flights to OR Tambo Airport come from other parts of Africa, including Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, George, Maputo, Harare and Gabarone. However, there are also regular flights from major international destinations such as London, Paris, Cairo, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Dubai, Madrid, Athens, Mumbai, Sydney, Singapore, Bangkok, Lisbon and Istanbul.

As the gateway to the wonders of South Africa, including nearby Kruger National Park and the historic townships of Alexandra and Soweto, Johannesburg’s improved airport gets high marks for service. The spacious terminals are perfectly adequate for a long stopover.

Terminal Transfer

It’s a long walk from one terminal to the other.

Getting into Town

Train: The Gautrain is the easiest and fastest way to get to downtown Johannesburg. The Airport line stops at Marlboro and Sandton, from where passengers can transfer to North-South Commuter line, which goes to Johannesburg Park Station, Rosebank, Midrand, Centurion, and Pretoria.

Bus: There are no public buses to OR Tambo. There is a station for coaches between the car rental area and the car parks, across the street from the terminal. There you can buy tickets to many different destinations, including Johannesburg and Pretoria. Several nearby hotels offer free shuttle services as well from the terminal behind the Airport Sun International Hotel.

Taxi: Official ACSA-approved taxis are available at the rank outside the international arrivals area.

Car Parking

The pick-up/drop-off area is in the basement of Parkade 2. Parkade 1 is near the International Terminal. Parkade 2 is near the Domestic Terminal. Long-term international parking is available in Shaded Lots 1 and 2. There is also an open car park for both terminals. Further away, the official long-term parking lot. There are free shuttle buses from the long-term car parks to the terminal buildings.

Information Desks

There are information desks in the arrivals area of each terminal, and in the international departures area.

Airport Facilities

Money and communications: There are banks, ATMs, currency exchange facilities, public phones, a post office, and a VAT-refund desk in the airport.

Luggage: It’s probably worth it to wrap your bags with the heavy-duty plastic available in the arrivals area, as there are annoyingly frequent thefts from checked luggage in South African airports. There are free baggage trolleys and porters in bright orange uniforms. OR Tambo is a large airport and it’s easy to get lost, so if you’re connecting from one terminal to the other a tip of ZAR 5-10 (about $0.40 to $0.60) per bag isn’t much in exchange for being led straight to your check-in counter.

Conference and business: The Premier Conference Center in the Domestic Terminal has conference facilities for groups ranging from 10 to 120.

Shopping: The international departures area has a number of shopping options ranging from beauty products to magazines to luggage, but most of the shops sell African curios and souvenirs. The selection is very good, but don’t expect to find any bargains compared to downtown prices. Several of the shops offer wrapping and shipping services, which is a great idea if you have your heart set on a four-foot wooden giraffe. The shops in the Domestic Terminal are more limited, but you’ll find a music store, gifts and accessories, and one or two newsagents alongside dozens of Springbok rugby jerseys in the sports clothing store.

Food and drink: The recent upgrade added many restaurants and coffee shops to the pre-security dining options, and there are plenty of choices once you pass security as well. The International Terminal has takeaways, sandwich shops and a bar with smoking facilities, but for the best view of the runways, have a sit-down meal at News Cafe. The Domestic Terminal has a food court on the upper level with a bakery, takeaways, seafood restaurant and coffee shops, but very few options past security.

Other facilities: Medical clinic, prayer rooms, handicapped facilities, smoking areas and massage chairs.

Wi-Fi: There is Wi-Fi throughout the airport.

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Airport Guide to OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Ryan Clare
Author: Ryan Clare (353 posts)

Ryan has traveled to more than 15 countries including Canada, France, Austria and Spain. He has an insatiable curiosity that manifests in a knack for travel. He hopes to travel to every continent and experience as many cites and cultures as possible.