Best Airports in Africa

cape town airport
Photo credit: mikedabell / iStock

Date: October 15, 2017

best airports in africa 2017In our annual survey, we asked travellers to rate airports in Africa based on their overall airport experience. They ranked their experience based on:

  • Comfort (Gate seating & availability of rest zones)
  • Services, facilities & things to do
  • Food options
  • Immigration/Security
  • Customer service
  • Cleanliness
  • Navigation and ease of transit
  • Sleepability

The Best Airports in Africa stand out for being simple, tidy, and friendly. The same terminals tend to show up on this list year after year, with South African airports often leading the pack. These airports show that providing the basics - internet, good chairs, pleasant customer service, and simple layouts - is really all travellers need at the end of the day.

1. Cape Town International Airport, South Africa (CPT)

Cape Town International Airport has a well-secured position on this regional best airports list thanks to free Wi-Fi and its easy-to-navigate layout. The terminals themselves are reliably clean, and the staff are consistently friendly and helpful. Couple that with a few pay-to-use lounges, a library, and a budget-friendly grocery store and you’ve got a fresh and modern airport that stands out amongst its peers.

Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi (4 hours) • Showers ($) • Baggage Storage ($) • Prayer Room. For more information, visit our Cape Town Airport Guide.

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2. Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport, South Africa (JNB)

Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport is one of Africa’s more amenity-rich airports. This clean and easy-to-navigate airport has plenty of shopping, dining, and lounge opportunities that will keep you entertained on a layover in this transit hub. Should you find yourself with an overnight layover here, a few good, cushioned benches can be maneuvered into a bed - and they happen to be located in an area that remains quiet overnight. Long lines and overall efficiency does grate on travellers, though hopefully these will improve in the years to come.

Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Transit Hotel ($) • Free WiFi (4 hours) • Showers ($) • Prayer Room. For more information, visit our Johannesburg Airport Guide.

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3. Durban King Shaka, South Africa (DUR)

King Shaka International Airport, located 35km north of Durban, opened in 2010 just before the country hosted the FIFA World Cup. Travellers praise the airport for its layout, with manageable walking distances and efficient travel processes. Amenities, including dining options, are somewhat limited, though what is here seems entirely adequate given the airport's smaller size.

Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi (4 hours) • Showers ($). For more information, visit our King Shaka Airport Guide.

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4. Kigali International Airport, Rwanda (KGL)

Once again, Kigali airport’s customer service helps earn its place on our Best Airports in Africa list. Every year, travellers remark on how helpful, friendly, and efficient staff are - in fact, their ability to make check-in and security a breeze is considered by some to be a bit of a continental anomaly. There were some traveller complaints that the terminal size should be enlarged - something that hopefully will be remedied with the new Bugesera airport. That terminal is slated to be completed in 2019.

Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi. For more information, visit our Kigali Airport Guide.

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5. Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, Mauritius (MRU)

The relatively new international airport in Mauritius has the basics of a good travel experience sorted it is reliably clean, the staff are friendly, and there's plenty of airside seating. There isn’t a ton in the way of dining or entertainment options. However, this isn’t exactly a transit hub, so you’re unlikely to spend more than a few hours here. Bring a book and perhaps a snack from your hotel, and you should be totally content waiting for your outbound flight.

Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi • Internet Workstations • Showers ($). For more information, visit our Mauritius Airport Guide.

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Top 5 Best Airports in Africa

  1. Cape Town International Airport, South Africa (CPT)
  2. Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport, South Africa (JNB)
  3. Durban King Shaka, South Africa (DUR)
  4. Kigali International Airport, Rwanda (KGL)
  5. Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, Mauritius (MRU)

Top 5 Worst Airports in Africa

  1. Juba International Airport, South Sudan (JUB)
  2. Port Harcourt International Airport, Nigeria (PHC)
  3. Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Nigeria (LOS)
  4. Dar es Salaam Julius Nyerere International Airport, Tanzania (DAR)
  5. Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, Ethiopia (ADD)

2017 Best Airports

2017 Worst Airports

Survey Information

2018 Airport Survey

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