Johannesburg Layover Guide (JNB)
O. R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) is a major international airport situated in Kempton Park, Gauteng, South Africa. It is located about 23 km (14 mi) from downtown Johannesburg. It serves as the primary airport for domestic and international travel to or from South Africa, The airport was founded for civil aviation in 1952. The airport serves as the hub for South African Airways and other regional airlines. Johannesburg is a global city with strengths in commerce, finance, media, art, history, sports, education, and entertainment. It is known for being a great tourism destination for its architecture, museums, art galleries, and street art.
Can you leave Johannesburg Airport (JNB) airport during a layover? Do you need a visa?
Most foreigners require a visa to enter South Africa to visit Johannesborg. This depends on their nationality. (more info).
Tours, Things to do, Sightseeing
Johannesburg Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Ticket and Soweto Tour
One of the best ways to explore Johannesburg is aboard the city’s Red Bus. The Hop-on, Hop-off open buss tour takes you closer to several iconic monuments and important attractions around the city like the Carlton Centre (highest building in Africa)The Apartheid Museum, The SAB World of Beer which also offers a beer tour and the Constitution Hill which features some of the most notorious historic prisons of Johannesburg. There are over 16 stops featured on the tour where you see the beauty of the City Of Gold. » book this tour
Pilanesberg: Open-Vehicle Safari
Join a full-day safari in Pilanesberg National Park. This is a chance to see the home of the famous Big 5, namely, elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion, and leopard. Embark on a full-day experience in an open jeep. Enjoy the opportunity to not only see, but also to capture close-up shots of some of the most famous inhabitants of the African savanna. Enjoy a game drive inside an extinct mega volcano and explore a birder’s paradise with more than 370 species. » book this tour
Cradle of Humankind: Sterkfontein Caves & Maropeng Centre
For those wanting to experience the birthplace of humankind firsthand, the official visitor center for the Cradle of Humankind and the Sterkfontein Caves is the perfect entry point to this incredible history. Learn about the anthropological digs and explore skeletons than are over three million years old. It one of eight World Heritage Sites in South Africa known as where the first hominid, Australopithecus, was found in 1924 by Professor Raymond Dart. » book this tour
Things to do / Sightseeing
Lesedi Cultural Village
Here you will visit five traditional villages including Xhosa, Zulu, Pedi, Basotho and Ndebele. You will have the opportunity to listen to traditional music being played, and the fascinating stories told by the people of Lesedi. Enjoy a traditional South African tribal get-together, whilst experiencing some traditional dancing.
Time required: 2 hours.
Airport to here: 50 minutes via taxi and 1 hour and 30 minutes via public transport.
Nelson Mandela Centre Of Memory
Dedicated to celebrating the memory of the great Nelson Mandela is The Centre Of Memory founded by The Nelson Mandela Foundation, a non-profit institution started by Nelson Mandela. It features a photography exhibition that details the life of the great activist and the State Of Emergency era of South Africa in 1997. The entry here is free but the foundation accepts donations.
Time required: 1-2 hours.
Airport to here: 24 minutes via taxi and 58 minutes via public transport.
Bounce is an indoor trampoline park, first of its kind in the country, that features several sporting activities ranging from Free-Jump, Slam Dunk, Big Bag, Dodgeball, High-Performance Area, SuperTramp, BOUNCE Tuckshop and a kid-friendly bouncing area. If you’re looking to get involved in activities such as slam dunks, flips or trampoline dodgeball this facility is a must for you to visit coupled with some fun.
Time required: 2-3 hours.
Airport to here: 27 minutes via taxi and 1 hour 43 minutes via public transport.
Keep the fun rolling and experience the longest zorb ride in South Africa at the Jozi X. The 3m diameter inflatable balls roll down a 200m long slope which offers both hydro zorbing accompanied by water and Harness zorbing without water. Other fun activities featured are Bubble Soccer and the Big Air Krush Kushion Jump. Admission here is for all between the ages of 7 to 75, preferably the ideal place to catch some fun by yourself, the kids, or a loved one.
Time required: 2-3 hours.
Airport to here: 25 minutes via taxi and an hour and half via public transport.
Wits Origin Centre Museum
An in-depth exhibition curated to educate you on the history of early humans in Africa — their origins and Human Development, including a wide collection of ancient rock art that dates back to 80,000 years ago. The exhibit is accompanied by audio tours that take you through theories of evolution in ancient Africa, ancient African cultures by the early men, combining contemporary technology and creativity of South African artists that detail the beginning at the earliest evidence of humans, through to the development of art, symbolism, and technology on the African continent featuring a vast collection of fossils, paleoanthropological and archaeological materials. They also offer a DNA test to trace your origins.
Time required: 2-3 hours.
Airport to here: 25 minutes via taxi and 50 minutes via public transport.
At the courtyard of the museum is where the exhibition begins with seven pillars erected that represent each of the South African constitutional values; democracy, equality, reconciliation, diversity, responsibility, respect and freedom. The exhibition is an illustration of the South African struggle during the apartheid and thoughtful reminders of South African history. The museum’s importance is highly regarded and offers visitors an insight into the history of a cruel time for the people of South Africa. Informational materials are provided to help guide you through the tour. The entrance of the museum is segregated and entry is decided randomly by a ticket system, each entrance leads to individual exhibitions of the same subject. A must-visit place in the country.
Time required: 3 hours.
Airport to here: 25 minutes via taxi and an hour via public transport.
This is where you’ll find the feared former prison complex in which Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years, other prominent figures like Gandhi, Joe Slovo, Albertina Sisulu, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Fatima Meer were once held here also. The old cells are now purposed as museums to tell the story of South Africa’s turbulent past journey to democracy and its post-apartheid future. You can learn more about the history of South Africa and famed activist Nelson Mandela here.
Time required: 1-2 hours.
Airport to here: 30 minutes via taxi and 50 minutes via public transport.
Relaxing and Sleeping
Airport Lounges and Relaxing
The airport has lounges found in each terminal. » view all lounges or buy a lounge pass or membership online
Hotel and Sleeping
Many hotels are found within a mile of the airport. » view all or book an airport hotel online
Rest Area and Sleeping in Airport
There are no designated resting zones.
WIFI/Internet and SIM Card
WIFI/Internet: Free Wi-Fi is available for up to 4 hours, with maximum data usage of 1GB.
SIM Card: There are several shops within the airport that sell SIM cards.
Transportation to/from airport
Taxi: Airport-approved metered taxi operators can be hired in the ground transportation area.
Train: The Gautrain rapid rail system links the airport with Johannesburg and Pretoria. The station is on the International Departures level, accessible by lifts and escalators from the Arrivals level. (more info).
Bus: There are several buses connecting the airport to the city center. (more info).
Shuttle: Surrounding hotels offer shuttle services to their facilities.
Car rentals: Car rental desks are at the multistory parking lot opposite the Domestic terminal. » view available cars or rent a car now online
Parking: There are multistory parking lots available 24 hours a day throughout the year and can be booked online in advance.
Luggage Storage & Lockers
For information on luggage storage contact the Airports Company South Africa information desk situated at the terminal.