How to get there

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Visitors arriving into South Africa will need to have an understanding of the country’s main airport, airlines and land borders providing visitors access to this southwestern Africa gem and how much guests should expect to budget for this.

How to get to South Africa: Options available


Most visitors going on a South Africa safari access the country by plane for a safari at Kruger National Park and Phinda Private Game Reserve.

South Africa has a large number of international flights including direct flights from the UK, Germany, France, Turkey, the Netherlands, Singapore, Australia, Qatar and the UAE.

O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) near Johannesburg and Cape Town International (CPT) are two of the main entry points for visitors wondering how to get to South Africa to parks including Kruger National Park and Phinda Private Game Reserve.

Visitors should also be aware of South African vaccines and other entry requirements including Covid 19 documentation and South Africa visa conditions.

Domestic flights

Fly Safair, Hahn Air and CemAir also operate domestic flights within the country, typically from between the various cities including Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, East London, George and other smaller airports.

The choice of airport for arrival and departure should be selected according to the particular safari destination and route which visitors will embark on, to avoid excessively long transfers.

Entry requirements can change, so please contact your local South Africa embassy to verify the information below is current.

  • A passport is required for all foreign visitors and has to be valid for at least six months.
  • All foreign visitors will need to carry a return or onward ticket.
  • Citizens from most countries do not require a visa and will get a 90-day entry permit on arrival.
  • Children (under 18 years of age) must have a certified copy of their full, unabridged birth certificate as well as a valid passport to enter South Africa.
    • If a child is traveling with only one parent, or no parents, the child must have an affidavit from the missing parent(s), which gives their consent for the child to travel.


Despite the vast distances in South Africa, many people get around by land, and not air. If renting a car, plan to have plenty of cash on hand to fill the tank with petrol. Petrol stations generally accept credit cards, but it is a good idea to confirm with the pump attendant beforehand.

A small tip ($5NAD) for the attendant pumping your petrol, cleaning your windshield and checking your car’s fluids is quite common. If you are on the back roads of South Africa, it’s always wise to stop and top-off your tank when you see a service station.

Carrying a small amount of South African currency, the rand (ZAR) can be useful when paying for smaller ticket items.

Fuel shortages are infrequent, but always be prepared for the possibility of not being able to buy as much petrol as you may like.

South Africa’s roads are very good, with primary routes very well paved, and secondary routes of well-graded gravel. 3G services tend to be good on most major routes.

Road users drive on the left-hand side and motorists should pay attention to the road signs as, on some roads, wildlife can fearlessly crisscross busy highways. .

South Africa vehicle border entry requirements

Motorists should be aware of the various border post locations and their opening and closing times.

There are six countries that have borders with South Africa including Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Visitors should be prepared to be patient and polite at the border crossings.  Make sure you have the necessary documents readily available to show the border crossing guards. Occasionally, rules may be lax, but always approach the border expecting strict adherence.

One of the best South Africa 4×4 maps is produced by Tracks4Africa. You can get a large double-sided map that is made of tear-proof and water-resistant paper, and it includes:

  • Distance and travel times table
  • Within the map – there are distance and times measurements between certain points which is really handy
  • User friendly scale, 1cm = 10km

Border crossing requirements in South Africa

  • Passport: You will need a valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining
  • Drivers license: To drive you will need a valid driver’s license and/or an International driver’s License
  • Vehicle registration cert: An original or certified copy of the vehicle registration certificate.
    • If the vehicle is financed by a bank, the registration certificate must be accompanied by a letter from the bank giving you the authorization to take the vehicle across the border and must indicate dates.
    • Both the bank letter and license papers should be signed by a Commissioner of Oaths. If you are not the registered owner of the vehicle, you will need an affidavit from the police giving you authorization from the owner to take the vehicle abroad.
  • Border Fees: This is normally a small amount of local currency.
  • Stickers: If you’re traveling from South Africa across borders, vehicles should bear a ZA sticker that designates that they are from South Africa
    • If you are traveling in a rented car or 4×4 you need to have a letter from the rental company giving you permission to take the vehicle out of the country
  • Yellow fever cert: If you are arriving in South Africa from an area infected with yellow fever then you will need to show your Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate
  • Warning triangles: Most countries bordering South Africa require you to have a set of red warning triangles

For more information and for the whole list of 72 land borders within South Africa go to the South African Government immigration services website.

Note that at each border there will be an exit and entry border. It is also worth checking the visa, documentation and vehicle sticker/equipment requirements for each country that you will be entering.

South Africa driving tips

One of the main concerns of most foreigners when arriving in South Africa is personal safety and whether it is safe to drive here. We were offered advice on precautions to take before arriving, which was also echoed and added to by locals when we arrived. We’ve included all of them here.

For clarity, some of these precautions are particularly important to adhere to when driving in the major cities, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

When you are away from the cities, in more rural areas, the risk of crime decreases. You may notice that the local houses are no longer walled with barb wire or surrounded by high-security gates.

However, ask locals who live in the area about the relative safety of the district you are in. In addition, often the best sign is to trust your gut instinct – if the area feels dodgy – move on.

Visitors to South Africa will also need to be aware of any travel restrictions depending on the latest Covid-19 travel information and requirements.

South Africa Insurance

Full car insurance coverage is highly recommended when renting a car in South Africa due to the uncertainty of the gravel roads meaning the risk of getting a cracked windscreen from stones on the road is higher as well as wildlife crossing the roads.

With full car insurance, visitors won’t have to deal with any of the formalities with the car hire firm who can take care of all repairs and costs.

Travel insurance (in case you need to be repatriated by plane) is also recommended and will give visitors peace of mind.In South Africa, you will often be at least half a day’s driving distance from the nearest doctor or pharmacy, so travel well prepared.

Most lodges are foreseen to provide first aid if needed, but it’s wise to carry any medication you think you might need with you. Also, make sure to take a basic first aid kit with you.

When and where to book a flight to South Africa


Scheduled flights to South Africa can be booked:

  • Online, either directly on an airline website or via a price comparison site
  • Travel agency booking


For South Africa safaris and adventure holidays, visitors can travel to South Africa by flying into Cape Town or Johannesburg. Other international flights arrive in Durban, Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein.

Cost of getting to South Africa?

Costs vary depending on origin, time of year, connections required, distance traveled and country of origin. Visitors can expect flight prices from £750/$990 for a return flight from London. Prices can vary from season to season.

Understanding the best time to visit South Africa can be helpful when budgeting costs and planning regions to visit as well as knowing what the coolest things to do in South Africa are beyond the safari wildlife tours.


How to get to South Africa?

O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) near Johannesburg and Cape Town International (CPT) are two of the main entry points for visitors wondering how to get to South Africa to parks including Kruger National Park and Phinda Private Game Reserve.

How to get to Kruger National Park?

There are 3 main options to get to Kruger: 1). Fly to Johannesburg and then drive four hours to the park 2). Take an internal flight from Johannesburg to Kruger Mpumalanga airport and drive one hour or 3). Take an internal flight from Johannesburg straight into Skukuza.