Johannesburg Airport, named the OR Tambo International Airport, is 25 kms east of Johannesburg

Johannesburg Travel Guide

Explore The  Real  Johannesburg

OR Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg International Airport)

OR Tambo International Airport, which is Johannesburg’s main airport, is Africa’s busiest airport and lies 25 kms. to the east of the city.

It’s here where most visitors who travel to South Africa, first touch the hallowed soil of Africa.

The airport was previously known as the Johannesburg International Airport, but was officially renamed in October 2006, as a tribute to Oliver Tambo who was President of the African National Congress (ANC) from 1967 to 1991.

Lanseria International Airport, a second, but much smaller airport to the north-west of Johannesburg, offers scheduled services to Cape Town and Durban, and charter services that service mainly Southern African destinations.

The Arrivals Hall at OR Tambo International Airport near Johannesburg

To help find your feet, this website gives details of the shops and services offered at the airport; Guest Houses, B&B’s and Backpacker accommodation as well as the numerous Johannesburg airport hotels in the vicinity and the car rental Johannesburg companies that operate out of the airport complex.

I’ve included links to help you find cheap flights to Johannesburg, for your African safari with links to carriers such as South African Arways and British Airways plus links to car rental companies such as Europcar, Budget and First Car.

A statue of Oliver Tambo in the Terminal A Arrivals Hall, by artists Kgaogelo Mashilo‚ Paballo Majela and Zelda Stroud, depicting his first step onto South African soil after being in exile for 30 years.
A close up of the statue of Oliver Tambo, who was President of the African National Congress (ANC) from 1967 to 1991, in the Terminal A Arrivals Hall, OR Tambo International Airport.

TERMINALS

The airport has two terminals, and in line with international trends, they are each used by both international and domestic airlines.

This allows those carriers with domestic and international routes, to use the same check-in counters.

It’s a very short walking distance, through the shopping mall, between the two terminals which are both housed in a long, narrow central terminal building.

Access to the terminal buildings is available around the clock, as the doors are open 24 hours, but a lot of the businesses inside, which keep to normal business hours, are not.

ARRIVALS :

The lower level in both terminals is used for arrivals.

Use this OR Tambo Airport JNB Live Flight Arrivals link to see a flight arrivals information board, with the status of all flight arrivals, in real time, into Johannesburg – OR Tambo International Airportt (IATA Airport Code – JNB)

DEPARTURES :

The upper level in both terminals is used for departures.

International passengers are advised to be at the airport 3 hours before departure.
Domestic passengers are advised to be at the airport 1 and a half hours before departure.

DISABILITIES :

+27 (0)86 727-7888 : Persons with a disability, passing through OR Tambo, who require help, can phone this 24 hour number to arrange assistance.

Car hire offices at OR Tambo International Airport near Johannesburg

GETTING AROUND :

JOHANNESBURG AIRPORT CAR RENTAL :

The Johannesburg airport car rental companies have their offices on Level 0 of the multi-level parkade (Parkade 2 South), just outside the main exit from Terminal A arrivals.
The rental vehicles, plus the kiosks for returning the vehicles, are one floor above, on Level 1 of the same parkade.

AIRPORT PARKING :

Airport parking used to be a nightmare, but with over 10,000 bays in an underground and multi-storey parkade as well as shaded carports and low cost parking outside the airport complex, it’s no longer a problem.

ACCESS ROADS :

OR Tambo International Airport is on the R21 Highway (Toll), with fast, easy access to other major highways.
There is a lot of accommodation in the vicinity, and a relatively easy 45 minute drive to the hotels in the Sandton / Rosebank area.
Traffic can be very bad in Johannesburg, so take this into consideration when planning to use the highways.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT :

Johannesburg has very little public transport, and Private Airport Shuttle Services, the Gautrain, Uber and Metered Taxis form a major part of what’s available.

Private Airport Shuttle Service : There are a number of private airport shuttle services that do both pick ups and drop offs at OR Tambo International Airport.
I run a Tour Operator business and offer a meet-and-greet service in the Arrivals Hall, with a drop off at your front door.
I also offer a pickup from your front door, and drop off at your point of departure at OR Tambo International.
Landline : 011 788-6066
Mobile : 083 399-6778

 

Gautrain : The Gautrain Rapid Rail System, which links the OR Tambo International Airport (Airport Service) directly with Sandton, and with changes, Johannesburg and Pretoria.
It became operational on the 8th of June, 2010, and operates from 05h30 until 20h30 every day.
The terminal at the Airport is two levels above the Terminal A Arrivals hall, and accessed via a lift, or an escalator opposite the KFC outlet.
Changing at Sandton, passengers can take a different line (Commuter Service) to either Johannesburg or Pretoria.
 

Uber : Uber is very popular in Johannesburg, but due to friction between them and metered taxis, their pick up is usually in the drop off area!
 

Metered Taxi : The metered taxis’, which display the ORIATA (OR Tambo International Airport Taxi Association) logo, stand outside the exits of both terminals. The airports company has, to prevent illegal touting, appointed them as a favoured service provider. Their contact number is : +27 (0)11 390-1502
 

Shuttle Bus : The shuttle bus terminal, which is situated behind the Intercontinantal Hotel, is where the hotel shuttle buses, as well as the long distance buses that service the airport, drop and collect passengers.
The Intercontinental Hotel at OR Tambo International Airport

ACCOMMODATION

JOHANNESBURG AIRPORT HOTELS :

There are numerous Johannesburg Airport Hotels in the vicinity of the Airport, including the only luxury 5 star hotel at an airport in South Africa – the Intercontinental Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport Hotel.
The hotel is a short, uncovered walk across the service road from the terminal building.

Still in the airport complex is the very successful City Lodge.
Recently opened, this, their 46th and largest hotel, the City Lodge OR Tambo Airport Hotel is a short covered walk from the Terminal buildings.

Outside of the airport complex, but in close proximity to the airport, are a number of Johannesburg Airport Hotels.

Map of Airport Hotels :

This is a link to a Google map with the Johannesburg Airport Hotels.
Click on the “View Johannesburg Airport Accommodation in a larger map” at the bottom left of the map to get more information on each hotel.

GUESTHOUSES, B&B’s and BACKPACKERS :

These are a number of Bed and Breakfast/Guest House/Guest Lodge Accommodation as well as Backpackers, which I’ve attempted to name here.
Please let me know of any, if they haven’t been included in this list.

SURROUNDING SUBURBS :

The eastern suburbs are within an easy 20 minute drive.

SHOPPING

OR Tambo Intrnational Airport was rebuilt in the early 2000s, and now resembles a shopping mall, with a couple of runways added to make it feel like an airport – although it is modern, and relatively easy to get around.

ACCESSORIES

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AFRICAN SOUVENIRS

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BOOKS and MUSIC

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CLOTHING and FOOTWEAR

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COSMETICS and PERFUME

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ELECTRONICS

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FLOWERS

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GIFTS

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JEWELLERY

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LIQUOR and TOBACCO

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LUGGAGE

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MASSAGE SERVICES

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MOBILE PHONES

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MONEY, FOREX and VAT RETURNS

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PHARMACY

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RESTAURANTS and PUBS

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SPORTS and OUTDOOR

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SWEETS and SNACKS

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SERVICES

OR Tambo International Airport was rebuilt in the early 2000s, and now resembles a shopping mall, with a couple of runways added to make it feel like an airport – although it is modern, and relatively easy to get around.

AIRLINES

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LUGGAGE : STORAGE and EXCESS BAGGAGE

There are two options for storing luggage – one at OR Tambo, and a second, off site.

i : A-teck operates at OR Tambo – down the escalators at the main exit of Terminal A arrivals, on Basement Level 1, going towards the Parkade 2 (South) – behind the barber.

ii : Tour with Ease, a private company, offer baggage storage off site, in a secure environment.

To see more details about both these options, click here.

 

 

BANKING

NOTE! BANKS DO NOT DO FOREX TRANSACTIONS
See below for Foreign Exchange outlets at OR Tambo International Airport

BANKS : There are branches of First National Bank, Nedbank and Standard Bank on the Mezzanine Level, one level up, directly above Arrivals Terminal A.

A branch of ABSA Bank is on the same level as Arrivals Terminal A, past the Foreign Exchange outlets, in the direction of Terminal B.

ABSA Bank also has an outlet in the holding lounge of the international departures terminal, but this is not for the use of South Africans.

Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are situated :
. . . at the banks mentioned above, one level up, directly above the Arrivals Terminal A, and on . . .
. . . level one of the shopping concourse in Terminal B.

To see more details about these Banks, click here.

CHRISTIAN CHAPEL

The interdenominational chapel at OR Tambo International Airport is at Basement Level, down the escalators in Terminal A, at the entrance to the underground parking.
The chapel is open 24 hours a day and has volunteer clerics in attendance at certain hours of the day.

Catholics have a celebration of Mass in the chapel every Sunday at 13:00.
For more details contact Fr. Arvin Tauro on 061 692-4270 or at carmelretreathouse.sa@gmail.com

CONFERENCE CENTRE

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DISABLED NEEDS

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FLIGHTCHECK

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FOREIGN EXCHANGE

These Foreign Exchange Outlets at OR Tambo International Airport are situated to the left when entering the Terminal A Arrivals Hall, in the direction of Terminal B :

American Express Foreign Exchange
Hours : 05h00-22h00 (5.00am-10.00pm) 7 days a week.

Bidvest Bank Foreign Exchange
Hours : 05h00-21h30 (5.00am-9.30pm) 7 days a week.

Inter Africa Bureau de Change
Hours : 05h30-21h30 (5.30am-9.30pm) 7 days a week.

Travelex Worldwide Money Foreign Exchange
Hours : 05h00-23h00 (5.00am-11.00pm) 7 days a week.

These Travelex Worldwide Money Foreign Exchange outlets are on the Airside of International Departures :
Travelex Worldwide Money Foreign Exchange : OR Tambo Airside Shop 1 : International Departures

Travelex Worldwide Money Foreign Exchange : OR Tambo Airside Shop 2 : International Departures

To see more deatils about these Forex Exchange outlets, click here.

INFORMATION DESK

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INTERNET Wi-Fi

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LOST PROPERTY

Contact your airline for items you’ve mislaid/lost at the check-in counter, the departure gate area or onboard the airplane. 

For items lost inside the passenger terminal, contact the information counter, or the Helpdesk.

Tel. +27 (0)11 921-6262

e-mail : customercare@airports.co.za

MEDICAL CLINIC

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MOBILE PHONES

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MUSLIM PRAYER ROOM

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PORTERS for LUGGAGE

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POST OFFICE

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RESTROOMS

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TRANSPORT

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VAT REFUNDS

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VIEWING DECK

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Wi-Fi

4 hours of FREE Wi-Fi or 1 GB/500MB of FREE data is available at OR Tambo International Airport, courtesy Airports Company South Africa

Select “# AIRPORTS FREE“, and follow the on screen instructions.
You need to register and provide your email address

If more is needed, a top-up, pay-as-you-go facility is available at “# AIRPORTS PREMIUM Wi-Fi”.

Once registered, you’ll be recognised each time you visit the airport.

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