Sleeping in Airports

Best Airports in Africa 2015

Best Airports of 2015: Cape Town
Cape Town Airport – Photo Courtesy of ridhwaana_baradien / Instagram

Date: October 17, 2015

Best Airports of 2015: AfricaAlthough Africa is hardly world-renowned for its high calibre airports, a handful of gems can be found across the continent. Though they lack some of the pizzazz of the ultra-modern Asian airport finalists, those airports that top this list are reliably comfortable, clean, and offer decent facilities. And we must say, there is something to be said for creating and maintaining a simple and efficient terminal! Unsurprisingly, the majority of this year’s finalists are located in South Africa, where terminals have been pleasantly reliable for years. However, recent renovations and other efficiencies in Algeria, Mauritius and Rwanda level out the competition, making continent-wide travel just a little more pleasant.

These are the Top 5 Best Airports in Africa based on overall airport experience as determined by voters in our 2015 Airport Survey:

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

Unlike many other African airports I have never been approached by persons who “offer advice” then demand an exorbitant fee. – a traveller

Topping the list of Best Airports in Africa is Cape Town International, an airport noted for exceptionally clean bathrooms, an easy layout and decent amenities. Although the airport lacks some of the ultra-cool features offered up by the city in which it is based, the terminals are a simple and pleasant welcome to one of Africa’s best cities. The ground-level Woolworth’s grocery store is a budget-friendly spot for snacks, and the “Flybrary” is a unique spot to lounge in a comfortable chair with a borrowed book. Though it is rare to sleep at CPT, those that do say the terminal is quiet but bright, and that there are often armrest-less benches available for sleeping. Sleepers are virtually guaranteed little disturbance until about 4:00 am when shops and check-in desks re-open for the day.

Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • 30 minutes Free WiFi • Showers ($) • Flybrary • Baggage Storage • Prayer Room. Visit our Cape Town Airport Guide for more information.

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

This place has several padded seats which are actually 4 seats combined with no arm rest in between! – a traveller

Another favourite African airport is O.R. Tambo in Johannesburg – a transit hub for much African travel. Survey respondents describe the terminals as clean and simple, with an overall modern and friendly feel. The luggage storage area is praised for reducing worries about theft while sleeping, and other amenities like a supermarket, dry cleaner, barber and restaurants keep non-sleeping passengers occupied as they await their flights. Sleepers in particular are pleased with the availability of long benches near South African-style outlets, and for the relative quiet found in the terminals overnight. Praises said, the terminal did drop a point this year – possibly because of the abundance of hawkers and some inefficiencies at customs.

Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Transit Hotel • WiFi • Showers ($) • Prayer Room. Visit our Johannesburg Airport Guide for more information.

3. Algiers Houari Boumediene International Airport, Algeria (ALG)

As an expat working in sub saharan Africa, I found Houari Boumediene International Airport to be an exellent airport for my layover to Europe. – a traveller

Algiers climbs a spot to land a third place ranking, likely because in spite of its large size, the terminals remain organized, efficient and easy enough to navigate. That, and the floor seem to be perpetually kept reflectively clean! Travellers also remarked on how modern the design of the terminal was, and how safe they felt within it – always a perk! Seating throughout is sleeper-friendly, with a number of linear and circular armrest-free cushioned benches. Amenity-wise, there have been few developments over the past year. Highlights include the usual mix of restaurants, curio shops and a few basic lounges.

Airport Services/Facilities: Visit our Algiers Airport Guide for more information.

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

For a 3rd world country this is a very clean and efficient airport — traveller

Mauritius’ main airport climbed a few spots on this years list after a series of relatively recent renovations. Voters remarked on how clean and efficient the new terminals are, and how nice the internal infrastructure is – and we’re particularly big fans of the splashes of indoor gardens. Amenities remain fairly limited, including WiFi, internet workstations, a pay-per-use lounge and a few coffee shops. That said, given that the airport is a destination rather than a travel hub, these amenities are generally sufficient for the short amount of time travellers spend here.

Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • WiFi • Internet Workstations. Visit our Mauritius Airport Guide for more information.

5. Kigali International Airport, Rwanda (KGL)

It’s still being remodeled, small but efficient. It will be excellent once fully remodeled. – a traveller

Kigali International Airport snags the title of fifth best airport in Africa after having nearly completed a terminal facelift. Renovations have left the airport far brighter, roomier and much more efficient. The airport has the capacity to accommodate up to 1.5 million passengers – more than double current traffic levels – meaning that for now, queues are limited and chairs are plentiful. Other perks at KGL include excellent locally sourced coffee, free Wi-Fi, and cheery staff. Additionally, the terminal is located conveniently close to the city centre.

Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($).  Visit out Kigali Airport Guide for more information.

Top 10 Best Airports in Africa

Below is a list of the Top 10 Best Airports in Africa as voted by travellers in our 2015 Airport Survey:

  1. Cape Town International Airport, South Africa (CPT)
  2. Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport, South Africa (JNB)
  3. Algiers Houari Boumediene International Airport, Algeria (ALG)
  4. Mauritius Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, Mauritius (MRU)
  5. Kigali International Airport, Rwanda (KGL)
  6. Brazzaville Maya-Maya International Airport, The Republic of Congo (BZV)
  7. Durban King Shaka International Airport, South Africa (DUR)
  8. Oujda Angads International Airport, Morocco (OUD)
  9. Addis Ababa-Bole International Airport, Ethiopia (ADD)
  10. Harare International Airport, Zimbabwe (HRE)

Having read the best, it now is fitting to continue on to the Worst Airports in Africa winners!