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Cape Town Airport Guide

Cape Town Airport is the primary airport serving South Africa’s second most populated city, Cape Town, and is situated 20 km from its city centre. It is the second busiest in the country and the third busiest in Africa, with more than 8.5 million passenger movements recorded from 2011-2012. The majority of passengers using this airport are domestic travellers.

Cape Town Airport

Cape Town is the Western Cape’s provincial capital, and is most famous for its harbour and natural beauty, including Table Mountain, which is situated in a National Park, and Cape Point. As Africa’s most popular tourist destination, there are many activities and things to see in Cape Town. It is much-loved by sunseekers and hikers alike, with white sandy beaches flanked with bars and restaurants, and many walking routes leading through regions of spectacular scenery. Surfing is another common activity in Cape Town.

It is easy to access Cape Town Airport, with the easiest public transport link being a shuttle bus connecting the airport with the city centre’s Civic Centre bus station, with buses running every 20 minutes for throughout most of the day. While a rail station has been proposed for the airport, starting in 2013, there is currently no rail link to the city. Alternatively, airport rental cars can be arranged at the car hire desks in arrivals, with the quickest route into Cape Town being the N2 freeway, which can be accessed through Airport Approach Road.  Alternatively, cars can be rented from other locations in South Africa.

There are separate domestic and international terminals with five air bridges each, with one large central terminal connecting the two in which check-ins are handled using 120 desks. The terminals are within walking distance of one another, with a shuttle bus taking passengers to the car parks. Arrivals take place on the lower floors with departures on the upper floors. There are meeting areas in arrivals where passengers can arrange to meet friends and relatives. The bagging system, located in the central terminal, can handle up to 30,000 bags an hour.

The airport has direct flights both domestically and internationally, to South Africa’s other big airports, Durban and Johannesburg, and countries throughout Africa, Asia and Europe. The route connecting Cape Town and Johannesburg was the ninth busiest in 2011 with more than 4.5 million passengers making this journey. Other important routes include those to London Heathrow and Buenos Aires.

Airlines using Cape Town Airport include Mango, Kulula and Airlink, which deal with domestic flights, and British Airways, Emirates and Qatar Airways among the airlines providing international routes. Another runway has been proposed to handle larger aircraft. By 2015, 14 million passengers a year are expected to use Cape Town Airport.

Bars and Restaurants

Restaurants can be found on the third level above departures, including one very large restaurant overlooking the terminal’s airside. There is an extensive range of food and drinks facilities comprising casual coffee shops, fast food outlets and juice bars, as well as establishments for full sit-down meals.


There are shops on the arrivals level of the terminal along with on the airside in departures. Duty-free shopping, souvenir shops, clothing stores and grocery outlets are available. Luxury goods, sportswear and electronics shops can also be found in departures.

Business Services

A shoe shine service can be found on the airside in the international terminal. There are VIP and executive lounges in both terminals offering refreshments, reading material and a comfortable place to relax or work before a flight. The conference centre can be found near the domestic terminal, and acts as a venue for meetings, seminars and conferences, along with offices for hire with a secretarial service.

Travel Services

Services offered at Cape Town Airport include two bureaux de changes, a post office, two banks and baggage wrapping facilities. There are also VAT and tax refund desks located on the airside and landside respectively.

Disabled Facilities

Disabled passengers should call the Landside hotline on +27 21 935 3737 to arrange for a wheelchair, which can be collected at the ground floor and check-in information desks situated in the central terminal building. Wheelchair assistance between the terminal and aircraft can also be arranged by contacting the relevant airline up to 48 hours before the flight.