While OR Tambo International Airport is an awesome airport, for local flights it can be a bit of a mission to get to for anyone staying in the Northern and Western parts of Johannesburg. For this reason, I always rather book local flights from Lanseria International Airport. It’s much closer to where I live – a 20-minute drive versus a minimum of 45-minute drive to OR Tambo (that’s with no traffic!). It’s also much less intimidating and easier to find your way around.
The major downside of Lanseria International Airport though, is that there are fewer nearby hotels and the Gautrain doesn’t come to the airport. So for tourists staying in the popular Sandton, Rosebank, or even city center areas, it will probably be easier to get to OR Tambo as you’ll be close to the Gautrain Stations which will take you straight to the airport.
For those looking to make use of Lanseria International Airport though, here are a few of my tips for the airport.
Five Tips for Lanseria International Airport
1. Drop-off vs Parking
Lanseria International Airport has one of the best drop-off zones compared to any other airport that I’ve been to in South Africa. There’s a full-on parking lot that whoever is picking you up or dropping you off can park in while waiting for you. I’m not sure how long the waiting period that they’re allowed is, but it’s longer than the usual five minutes (as long as they don’t leave their car!). This is also great if you’re getting dropped off/picked up with an Uber or another taxi service.
If your driver, however, wants to park and come into the airport with you, then there is a large short-term parking lot. The first 30 minutes are free, from then it’s R18 for up to an hour and up it goes. There is also long-term parking available, which is great for Joburgers just heading out of the city for a weekend. It’s R125 for one day, R250 for two days, and a week will cost you R480.
For more information on the parking and drop-offs at Lanseria International Airport click here.
2. Online Check-in
I never used to do this, but learned that it’s best to always check-in online before heading to the airport after traveling with my sister who convinced me that it’s the only way to travel. Because this airport is quite small and they only have a few check-in counters, the queues can get quite long (particularly in the early mornings). Though, you’ll likely still stand in a queue to check in your luggage as many other travelers have also jumped on the online check-in wagon.
3. Restaurant Viewing Deck
If you arrive early for your flight then head up to the Wings ‘n Things restaurant on the first floor before you go through the terminal gates. They serve the usual breakfast, lunch and dinner options, but also have a great viewing deck. You can watch the planes come and go while sipping on your cappuccino or glass of wine. Other dining/coffee shop options in the airport include Vida e Caffè and Wiesenhof Restaurant.
It’s best to make use of the restaurants outside of the terminals, as once you go through there is only one small cafe selling coffees, teas, cold-drinks and a few light pre-made snacks (muffins, sandwiches, wraps etc.). You can also look out for the free filter coffee stations!
4. Double Check Travel Times to the Airport
There’s loads of development going on around Lanseria International Airport, meaning that there are often roadworks happening on the road to the airport. These can cause severe days, particularly during peak times. Make sure to double check the travel times to the airport from wherever you are staying and give yourself enough time to get there.
5. Nearby Attractions
For tourists arriving in Joburg via Lanseria International Airport, there are a few nearby attractions that you can quickly head to straight from the airport before venturing further into the city. Some of them include:
- Aha Lesedi – a cultural village with local tour, dancing, and restaurant a 15-minute drive from the airport.
- Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve – a nature reserve about a 20-minute drive from the airport (if you go here, please don’t play with the cubs. Read here to find out why.)
- Ama Zwing Zwing Zip Lines – for a bit of adventure, head here for some fun ziplining. It’s about a 20-minute drive from the airport.
- Cradle of Humankind – a World Heritage Site a 30-minute drive from the airport.
Airlines making use of Lanseria International Airport include Kulula, Mango, British Airways, FlySafair, SAA, Majestic Air. Flights from Lanseria go to Cape Town, Durban, George (only with FlySafair), and Upington & Sishen (with Majestic Air).
Disclaimer: This post was done in collaboration with Travelstart.