Cape Town international airport welcomes more than 10 million passengers through its doors every year. It is Africa’s most award-winning airport and the third largest on the continent. Many people are overwhelmed when landing at a large airport for the first time. Not knowing what to expect and where to go. Normally they just follow the crowd. After reading this post you will be able to enter Cape Town airport and walk through like a local. We are here to ensure that your Cape Town South Africa vacation starts on a high. As Cape Town Locals we want to ensure that your first interaction with Cape Town is pleasurable and easy one.
International arrivals at Cape Town airport
When arriving on an international flight you will use one of the skybridges to access the terminal before proceeding to immigration control. South African residents are processed on the left-hand side and other passport holders through the large number of kiosks on the right. South African immigration control is efficient with everything processed electronically. Once clearing immigration, you will proceed to baggage the collection carousels, collect your baggage trolley after you exit immigration. Flight details are displayed on information boards and at the carousels.
Baggage trolleys at all South African airports have safety lock handles, which means you need to press down on the handle for the trolley to move. Once you have collected your bags proceed to custom control that is situated just before you exit to the public area. You have the option of following the red line, Goods to declare, or the easy flow Green line, when you have nothing to declare.
Please note that even if you follow the green line custom officials do randomly stop passengers to inspect their bags. Don’t panic if they stop you, they just doing their job and the inspection should not take too long. See graphic below of goods that you need to declare.
Domestic arrivals at Cape Town airport
When you arrive on a domestic flight you will access the terminal by the skybridge or by airport bus depending on what airline you are using. You will find the baggage trolleys on your left hand side when entering the terminal. Collect a trolley and proceed to the baggage collection carousels on the right. Flight details are displayed on boards and at the carousels. Once you collect your bags you have a walk down a very long wide corridor to the public area. If you are aged or have a disability there is a free golf cart service on standby to assist you. You will find the golf cart parked on the left hand side past the baggage carousels.
Entering the public area
Once you enter the public area you will be greeted by numerous retail, banking and service facilities. There are close to fifty retail outlets at Cape Town International airport including fashion, electronics, luggage, Souvenirs, mobile, food, banking etc
If you have arranged for a pick-up service with your hotel or through one of the shuttle companies they will be standing with a board with your name on it as you enter the public area. If you have booked an airport shuttle service you can also find their travel desks under the escalators in the main area.
If you need to refuel or use the toilet after your flight now would be a good time to just take a breather in the main public. There are tables and counters at the fast food outlets where you can rest or sort out your baggage or just regroup.
If you feel like sitting down at a more formal restaurant or coffee shop you can proceed upstairs to the departure terminal where you will find numerous eateries. Note that the baggage trolleys at South Africa’s airports are escalator friendly. So, you can use the escalator or if you are not comfortable taking your trolley up the escalator there is a trolley friendly elevator opposite the food outlets.
Cape Town South Africa vacation information
Before leaving the terminal you can visit the Cape Town tourism desk that has been set up close to the exit. You cannot miss it. It’s a welcoming pavilion providing lots of information on what will make a great Cape Town South Africa vacation. It is manned by knowledgeable staff from Cape Town Tourism who can answer any question you might have. Also pick up your free copy of Love Cape Town – Official visitors guide. Its a handy book describing the different areas in Cape Town and includes a handy pull out map of Cape Town CBD and the peninsula.
Finding your transport
If you are hiring a vehicle in Cape Town you must proceed out of the terminal on the left hand side and follow the signboard to the vehicle hire depots. You will find numerous international and local vehicle hire options. You must follow the walkway which goes under the road and leads to the vehicle hire depots.
There is also a free golf cart service running between the terminal and the vehicle hire depot which you will encounter when you exit the terminal building. Operating hours are from 8h00 to 22h00. If you do not see the golf cart they are probably dropping other passengers and just wait a few minutes at the dedicated pick up point for them to return. Otherwise you can stretch those legs after your long flight and take a leisurely stroll to your vehicle hire.
Cape Town also runs the MyCiTi bus system which is safe and reliable public transport system. You will find the brightly coloured MyCiTi terminus outside the terminal as you exit.
Breathe you have arrived in the Mother City
Once you step out of the terminal pause for a moment, breathe in the fresh Cape Town air and pat yourself on the back for making a great holiday choice to visit one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Your Cape Town South Africa vacation has started. Congratulations.
We hope you found this blog useful. Look forward to your feedback or comments.