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Flight routes from South Africa to India
from Johannesburg
from Cape Town
from Durban
Visa Requirements
Attractions
When to Go

Cheap Flights to India

Want to join the 50,000 odd South Africans who visit the sub-continent every year? There are no direct flights to India from South Africa. There are 1-stop flights via the middle-east (e.g. Emirates, Etihad & Qatar Airways). To book a cheap flight to India, type details of your requirements into the flight bookings tool on the left and book with the cheapest airline.

If you're vegetarian you'll love India - from 20 to 40% of the population is vegetarian, so veggie food is ubiquitous.

Visa Requirements

A tourist visa entitles the holder to visit India for up to 6 months (if you leave India you have to wait at least 2 months before you can reenter the country, even if you have a multiple entry visa!). Click here to see visa requirements for South Africans visiting India.

Visa requirements may have changed since the above was written. Check the latest requirements with the High Commission of India. You can contact them at 012-342-5397 or send an email to indiahc@hicomind.co.za. Their physical address is 852 Schoeman Street, 0083 Arcadia, Pretoria. Note that the consular offices and High Commission are closed on India's public holidays.

South African High Commission in India
  • Physical address: B18 Vasant Marg, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi 

  • Phone number : +91-11-2-614-9411

Flight Routes

The flights below show one-stop flights from Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg to ten destinations in India using either Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Emirates or South African Airways. The grey blocks indicate that there are no one stop flights. If you need to leave from these airports, you may travel through Johannesburg or other countries to get to the destination, it just might be more than one stop.

1-STOP FLIGHTS

Etihad

Qatar

Emirates

SAA

 

DUR

CPT

JHB
via Abu Dhabi

DUR

CPT

JHB
via Doha

DUR
via Dubai

CPT
via Dubai

JHB via Dubai

DUR
via JHB

CPT
via JHB

JHB
via Mumbai

Delhi

 

 

Yes

 

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

 

 

Mumbai

 

 

Yes

 

 

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

Ahmedabad

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

 

 

Bangalore

 

 

Yes

 

 

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

   

 

Chennai

 

 

Yes

 

 

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

   

 

Kolkata

 

 

 

     

Yes

Yes

Yes

     

Hyderabad

 

 

Yes

     

Yes

Yes

Yes

   

 

Kozhikode

 

 

 

 

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

     

Thiruvananthapuram

 

 

Yes

 

 

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

     

Kochi

 

 

Yes

 

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

     

Johannesburg to India

Fly from Johannesburg to Ahmedabad (AMD) with Emirates (via Dubai), Etihad (via Abu Dhabi), SAA/Jet (via Mumbai) or Qatar Airways (via Doha).

Fly from Johannesburg to Bangalore (BLR) with Emirates (via Dubai), SAA/Jet (via Mumbai), Etihad (via Abu Dhabi), Qatar Airways (via Doha), Thai Airways (via Bangkok), Singapore Air (via Singapore), Lufthansa (via Frankfurt), Virgin Atlantic (via London) or British Airways (via London).

Fly from Johannesburg to Chennai (MAA) with Emirates (via Dubai), SAA/Jet via Mumbai, Qatar Airways (via Doha), Cathay Pacific (via Hong Kong), Singapore Airlines (via Singapore), Lufthansa (via Frankfurt), Virgin Atlantic (via London) or British Airways (via London).

Fly from Johannesburg to Delhi (DEL) with Emirates (via Dubai), Ethiopian Airlines (via Addis Ababa), Etihad (via Abu Dhabi), Qatar Airways (via Doha), SAA/Jet (via Mumbai), Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul), Kenya Airways (via Nairobi), Cathay Pacific (via Hong Kong), Lufthansa (via Frankfurt), KLM (via Amsterdam), Air France (via Paris), Virgin Atlantic (via London), British Airways (via London) or Singapore Airlines (via Singapore).

Fly from Johannesburg to Hyderabad (HYD) with SAA/Jet (via Mumbai), Qatar Airways (via Doha), Emirates (via Dubai), Sinagpore Airlines (via Singapore) or Virgin Atlantic (via London).

Fly from Johannesburg to Kochi (COK) with SAA/Jet (via Mumbai), Qatar Airways (via Doha), Etihad (via Abu Dhabi), Emirates (via Dubai) or Singapore Airlines (via SIN).

Fly from Johannesburg to Kolkata (CCU) with Emirates (via Dubai), Qatar Airways (via Doha), SAA/Jet (via Mumbai), Cathay Pacific (via Hong Kong), Thai Airways (via Bangkok) or Sinagpore Airlines (via SIN).

Fly from Johannesburg to Kozhikode (CCJ) with Etihad (via Abu Dhabi) or Emirates (via Dubai).

Fly from Johannesburg to Mumbai (BOM) with Emirates (via Dubai), Ethiopian Airlines (via Addis Ababa), Etihad (via Abu Dhabi), SAA (direct), Kenya Airways (via Nairobi), Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul), Air Mauritius (via Mauritius), Cathay Pacific (via Hong Kong), Thai Airways (via Bangkok), Singapore Airlines (via Singapore), Air France (via Paris), Lufthansa (via Frankfurt), Virgin Atlantic (via London), British Airways (via London) or El Al (via Tel Aviv).

Fly from Johannesburg to Thiruvananthapuram (TRV) with Etihad (via Abu Dhabi), Qatar Airways (via Doha), Emirates (via Dubai) or Singapore Airlines (via SIN).

Durban to India

Fly from Durban to Ahmedabad (AMD) with Emirates (via Dubai).

Fly from Durban to Bangalore (BLR) with Emirates (via Dubai).

Fly from Durban to Chennai (MAA) with Emirates (via Dubai).

Fly from Durban to Delhi (DEL) with Emirates (via Dubai).

Fly from Durban to Hyderabad (HYD) with Emirates (via Dubai).

Fly from Durban to Kochi (COK) with Emirates (via Dubai).

Fly from Durban to Kolkata (CCU) with Emirates (via Dubai).

Fly from Durban to Kozhikode (CCJ) with Emirates (via Dubai).

Fly from Durban to Mumbai (BOM) with Emirates (via Dubai) or SAA (via Johannesburg).

Fly from Durban to Thiruvananthapuram (TRV) with Emirates (via Dubai).

Cape Town to India

Fly from Cape Town to Ahmedabad (AMD) with Emirates (via Dubai) or Qatar Airways (via Doha).

Fly from Cape Town to Bangalore (BLR) with Emirates (via Dubai) or Singapore Airlines (via Singapore).

Fly from Cape Town to Chennai (MAA) with Emirates (via Dubai) or Qatar Airways (via Doha).

Fly from Cape Town to Delhi with Emirates (via Dubai), Singapore Airlines (via SIN) or KLM (via Amsterdam).

Fly from Cape Town to Hyderabad with Emirates (via Dubai) or Qatar Airways (via Doha).

Fly from Cape Town to Kochi (COK) with Emirates (via Dubai) or Qatar Airways (via Doha).

Fly from Cape Town to Kolkata (CCU) with Emirates (via Dubai) or Qatar Airways (via Doha).

Fly from Cape Town to Kozhikode (CCJ) with Emirates (via Dubai) or Qatar Airways (via Doha).

Fly from Cape Town to Mumbai (BOM) with Emirates (via Dubai), Air France (via Paris) or Singapore Airlines (via SIN)

Fly from Cape Town to Thiruvananthapuram (TRV) with Emirates (via Dubai) or Qatar Airways (via Doha).

Flight review

Yes, an SAA flight to India can be rather special - Rubenthree catches a return flight to Mumbai and is sold on South African Airways.

Attractions

"So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked." --Mark Twain, from Following the Equator

The five words I would use to describe India, from what I have read and discovered, would be: colourful, expressive, spiritual, vibrant and hearty. However, words alone can hardly begin to describe India so take a look at this clip below showing how captivating India can be.

There are 10 popular destinations in India to discover and Emirates fly to them all:

Central: Hyderabad
North: Delhi
East: Chennai, Kolkata
South: Bangalore, Kozhikode, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram
West: Ahmedabad, Mumbai

Hyderabad

Hyderabad is located on the southern banks of the Musi river and has also been called the "City of Pearls". This city was also named 'Best Heritage City of India' in March 2012. The best time to visit Hyderabad is from November to February. Try avoid the months from June to September as heavy rainfalls accompanied with high humidity are expected.

Laad BazaarCharminar

This grand structure was built by Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah in 1591 AD. It marked the end to the epidemic plague which had caused so much devastation to the city. It has become the symbolic monument of Hyderabad.

Charminar is situated at the centre of the old city and is surrounded by one of the busiest bazaars in Hyderabad, Laad Bazaar (popular for its bangles). The name Charminar defined literally means '4 towers'. There are 4 open arch ways on each side of the magnificent structure leading to a plaza.

Golconda Fort

This fort is located 11 kilometres from Hyderabad and the literal meaning of the telgu words "Golla Konda" means 'shepherd's hill'. An interesting feature about the Fort is that if you clap your hands at the entry gate of the Fort, it can be heard almost a kilometre away at the pavilion. This was used to warn the Royal family if an attack was upon them. The entire grounds of the Fort complex stretch over 11 kilometres of land and consist of 4 district forts. The major attractions within the Fort include the light and sound show, Taramathi Gana Mandir and the Premathi Nritya Mandir pavilions and the famous Rahban cannon.

Delhi

The best time to visit Delhi would be either in Spring (February – April) or Autumn (September – November). These seasons are popular amongst tourists as the weather is not too hot or too cold. Another good reason to visit Delhi during Spring would be to partake in the colourful festival celebrated by natives, Holi (also known as the Festival of Colours). Holi celebrates the beginning of the new season, Spring. A bonfire is held on the eve of Holi and prayers are said. On the main day, scented powder and perfumes are thrown at one another and the celebrations continue with a wild atmosphere.  Take a look at this clip showing the festivities of the Holi Festival.

If you are planning a trip to Delhi, a must see would be the India Gate and the Red Fort.

India Gate

The India Gate is the national monument of India built in the year 1931 and designed by Edwin Lutyens. This monument is in memory of the ninety thousand soldiers who lost their lives whilst fighting in the Indian Army for the Indian Empire. The stunning arc is about 42 metres high and is easily visible from quite a few kilometres away. The monument is made of red sandstone and features the word 'India' etched at the top of the gate on both sides. The names of the soldiers have also been etched onto the gate.

Red Fort

The Red Fort is known as one of the most historical forts in India. The Fort has a perimeter of 2.4 kilometres with a height of 33 metres on the city side and 18 metres on the river side. Construction of the Fort was ordered by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan in the year 1638. The building was finally completed in the year 1648 and boasted a large moat around the impressive Fort.

The amazing architectural building does not only have a pretty face, there are a few extraordinary buildings inside the fort which are equally as important to view.

Chennai

Chennai is most famous for Marina Beach, the longest urban beach in the country and second longest in the world, with a length of 13 kilometres. Marina Beach is known as one of the largest tourist attractions in Chennai and a visit can not be missed during your stay. A stunning site on the beach to see is the Rock Fountain which was built for the 'Chennai Forever' initiative.

Marina Beach

Chennai experiences very hot and humid temperatures throughout the year, therefore the best time to travel would be in the winter months from November to February. Chennai is much cooler in these months and touring the cities will be much more pleasant.

Kapaleeshwarar Temple

The Kapaleeshwarar Temple is located in a town called Mylapore in Chennai. The beautiful pyramid shaped structure is typical to that of the Dravidian architecture and is over 300 years old. The temple is dedicated to the Lord Shiva and houses many shrines of Shiva and Parvati (wife of Shiva). The Brahmotsavam festival takes place in September/October and is a celebration of Shiva and Parvati. Idols of the Lord and his wife are decorated with jewels and clothing and are placed on the shrines. The people of Mylapore then dance around the temple with the shrines in a clockwise direction. The festivities last for nine days.

Fort St. GeorgeKapaleeshwarar Temple

This British Fort was founded in 1644 in a coastal town called Madras, also known as the most modern city of Chennai. The origin of the Fort was based on the East India Company needing a port closer to the Malaccan Straits. The Company then began the construction of the harbour and the Fort. Once the Fort was completed, it was used mainly for trading by merchants. Nowadays, the Fort is used by the government. A popular building located inside the Fort is the St. Mary's Church, the oldest Anglican church in India.

Kolkata

Kolkata, or Calcutta is one of India's major metropolitan and cultural areas. The best time to visit Kolkata is from October to March as this is their Autumn season and the weather is most pleasant. The other reason why this time is most popular amongst tourists is because Kolkata hosts a few festivals from October to March, Durga Puja being the most celebrated. This festival has been referred to as the Rio Carnival of the Eastern Hemisphere. Have a look at the video below showing the festival in Kolkata in 2008.

Eden Gardens

Eden Gardens is the oldest and finest cricket stadium of Kolkata. Many historical cricket matches have been witnessed at this stadium and if you are a fan this tourist attraction is a must see on your list. The first match to be played on the fields was in January 1934 between India and England. The stadium was renovated for the 2011 Cricket World Cup and the capacity is now said to be approximately 120,000 people.

Victoria Memorial

The Victoria Memorial is one of the finest art museums and was established in the year 1921.The building was dedicated to Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom who was also the Empress of India at that time.

The memorial also boasts a beautiful garden. In this garden, you will find a bronze statue of Queen Victoria seated on her throne. You will also find a memorial arch of King Edward VII with a bronze equestrian statue of the King on top of the arch.

Bangalore

Bangalore, also called Bengaluru was once called the Garden City because of the numerous parks and greenery as well as the Pensioner's Paradise. Nowadays, Bangalore is a cosmopolitan city with a large working population, mostly for the information technology industry.

The best time to visit Bangalore is during their winter months, October to February. Tourists often find the summers too hot whereas the winters boast cool afternoons and evenings (similar to other cities of India). A popular festival is hosted in March/April called Bangalore Karaga, one of the oldest and most important festivals celebrated in this city.

Vidhana Soudha

The Vidhana Soudha is used for housing the Legislative Chambers of the state government. The building has approximately 300 rooms and reaches a height of about 46 metres. The structure was built in the year 1956 and the style is similar to that of the Dravidian architecture.

In 2005, a replica building was constructed called the Vikas Soudha. The building is located to the south of the Vidhana Soudha and is used to take over some of the ministries and legislative offices.

Shiv Mandir TempleShiv Mandir Temple

This Hindi temple is dedicated to the Lord Shiva and the motto is "Believe and Achieve", urging its devotees to believe in the impossible. The statue is situated in the middle of an artificial pool and has a walkthrough behind it. This temple becomes very busy over the festival Maha Shivaratri.

Lalbagh Gardens

The Lalbagh Botanical Gardens are a must see in Bangalore. These beautifully kept gardens showcase plants from all over the world, for example Iran and France. The famous glass house hosts an annual flower show which attracts plenty of environmentalists. The garden also boasts a lake, an aquarium and one of the oldest rock formations on earth, Lal Bagh Rock. This rock formation is said to be roughly 3000 million years old.

Kozhikode

Kozhikode (also known as Calicut) is called the City of Spices since this is where most eastern spices were traded. Kozhikode can be visited at any time of the year as their summers are not too hot and the winters not too cold. However, this city usually experiences heavy rainfalls from June to September which might put a halt to sight seeing. As the weather is fair year round, tourists like to plan their visits around the city's popular festivals, like Onam.

Kappad beachKappad beach

This is the beach which Vasco Da Gama set foot on in May 1498. A small stone statue sits on the beach to commemorate the landing of the Portuguese explorer. The beach is located about 16 kilometres from Kozhikode.

Thusharagiri Waterfalls

The literal meaning of the word 'Thusharagiri' is snow capped mountain, which is what can be viewed from the waterfalls. These waterfalls show the magnificent display of two streams meeting from the Western Ghats, the result being the Chalippuzha River.
The river then splits into three and forms the waterfalls. The waterfalls are located about 50 kilometres from Kozhikode. Exotic animals and birds have also been spotted in the forest on the way to the falls.

Dolphins Point

If you are a fan of these loving creatures, then make sure you take an early morning visit to Dolphins Point. It is located 15 minutes from the city. Many tourists and locals have spotted dolphins frolicking near this spot in the early hours of the morning for their daily play time.

Kochi

Kochi has been called the Queen of the Arabian Sea as well as the Gateway to Kerala, both of which describe Kochi perfectly. The city was rated in the top three tourist destinations by the World Travel & Tourism Council and featured in National Geographic Traveler's '50 greatest places of a lifetime'. The tourist season in Kochi is from August to February as the main festivals take place over these months. The times to avoid the harsh summer would be March/April.

The Chinese fishing nets of Kochi (Cheena Vala) are an icon of the city and are located at Fort Kochi beach. This unique sight is seen all along the beach as there are about 100 of them, but only some are still able to function properly. These large nets hang from bamboo posts and have lights suspended above the net, luring the fish in.

Santa Cruz Basilica

The Santa Cruz Basilica is one of eight Basilicas in India (Basilica being a roman building mainly used for religious purposes). This cathedral is one of the oldest churches in Kochi and India. The original church was built by the Portuguese in 1505. This church was then destroyed by the British in 1795. The Santa Cruz Cathedral which stands today was re-built in 1905 and declared a Basilica in 1984 by Pope John Paul II. This building is definitely a must see if you are visiting Fort Kochi.

Thiruvananthapuram

This 'Evergreen city of India' (as referred to by Mahatma Gandhi) consists of many coastal hills and clean sandy beaches making this destination very appealing to nature enthusiasts. The most ideal months to travel to this city is between November and February. Tourists will want to avoid the monsoon season (June - September) as well as the hot humid summers (February - May).

The city of Thiruvananthapuram celebrates Onam which lasts for 10 days from the end of August to the beginning of September. See the clip below showing the events which are common to Onam.

Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple

The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and the main shrine depicts the Lord reclining on a serpent with five hoods facing inwards. The temple is famous for being the Worlds Richest Temple for containing the Lords assets including diamonds, gold, emeralds, antique silver, brass and gold idols. The temple is open only for Hindus dressed according to a strict dress code.

Kanakakkunnu Palace

The palace was built mainly to hold royal banquets and ceremonies but today the big magnificent grounds are used to host concerts and evening dance shows. The palace boasts a Nishagandhi open-air auditorium and Sooryakanthi auditorium. The annual All India Dance Festival is hosted at this open-air auditorium and dancers from all over the world visit this palace to partake.

Lighthouse Beach, Kovalam

View of Lighthouse beachKovalam means 'grove of coconut trees' which can be seen all over in this beach town. It is located 13 kilometres from down town of Thiruvananthapuram.

The Lighthouse Beach is the southernmost beach in Kovalam and is the most popular of the three beaches amongst tourists. The name is derived from the Vizhinjam lighthouse built on a rocky headland. The lighthouse reaches a height of 35 metres. Seafood is sold along the shoreline of this beach making this place the most relaxed way to spend a quiet evening.

Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad is not really a tourist city but still has a rich culture and heritage worth seeing. This city is proud to have the title of "Manchester of the East" after the city's fast growth within the textile industry. The best time to visit Ahmedabad would be from October to March. The famous Ahmedabad International Kite Festival takes places in January and marks the end of winter.

Gandhi Ashram

This is undoubtably one of the most popular places to see amongst tourists visiting Ahmedabad. Mahatma Gandhi lived here for about 12 years. It was at this ashram where Ghandi spoke up about the hated ruling of the British. Upon viewing the ashram you can expect to see a light and sound show of Ghandi's life, actual letters written by Ghandi and photos taken showing his achievements.

Kankaria Lake

This circular lake is the biggest in Ahmedabad and was originally used for bathing by the kings and queens. There is a garden situated on an island in the middle of the lake which adds to the beauty of this attraction. There is a pathway which connects the island to the mainland. If you decide to visit this lake, be sure to enjoy a boat ride along the lake at sunset.

Kankaria Lake

Mumbai

Mumbai, also called Bombay is known as the Gateway of India. In this city, you will see a diverse mix of people from almost every culture, religion and economic background. Mumbai is also home to one the largest film industries in the world, Bollywood. The best time to visit this city is during the dry season, from November to March. You will enjoy the sites a lot more if it's not constantly raining.

The Gateway of India is a symbolic monument of Mumbai. It was constructed to honour the visit of King George V & Queen Mary to Bombay in 1911. The building is 26 metres in height and overlooks the Arabian Sea.

Elephanta Caves

A popular excursion at the Gateway jetty is a ferry trip to Elephanta Caves which is a 50 minute boat ride. The caves are located at Gharapuri Island and were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The caves are famous for the ancient sculptures and the temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Mumbai has a lot to discover and sometimes you do not have enough time to experience all that there is to offer. Merja has written a great blog about her travels to Mumbai and has summed up her trip with a list of 10 things you need to do in Mumbai.

About India

I was lucky enough to have toured India as a Junior U.N representative at the impressionable and idealistic age of sixteen and I was awed. I survived the infamous "Delhi Belly" which is impossible to escape. Every journey in a car, a bus, on an elephant or a "Tuck-Tuck" (which is a local bicycle based form of transport) seemed like a near death experience. However, no amount of long-drop toilets and dodging malicious cows; who seem to be aware that it is their birthright to simply lie down in the middle of the road for an afternoon nap could make me immune to India's charm and spirit. The country seems to be constantly and inherently aware of its history and it was touching and strange to see that many of the stalls in the market places had shrines to an ancestor. All over there were simple platforms with incense and small offerings at the foot of an aged family portrait. Even in the Macdonalds franchises, which don't sell beef, there are small talismans and photographs at the tills. In a country where over 40% of people live beneath the breadline it was an amazing experience to watch teeming crowds made up of the poor and the wealthy take part in the weekly ritual of laying flowers on Ghandi's grave.

If I could sum up India I would call it the land of paradox. I have never seen grandeur live along-side poverty on the scale I saw it in India. I will never forget the visual image of approaching the Taj Mahal in Agra in its white marble splendor, surrounded by shanty towns mostly populated by young children a sight that makes you painfully aware of the damage of the caste system. However if you watch India in the news it becomes evident that the country is as aware of its modern progress as it is of its history, with small businesses and entrepreneurship flourishing. It is evident that big things are happening in the country that feels like an ancient myth where the sun in the summer looks like a blood-orange and the culture and history is as tangible and sensory as a daal chappati.

by Kelly-Eve

India's 3 major religions in 1 photo

3 religions of India in one photo

Languages

English is widely spoken, but Hindi is the official language.

When to Go

Because India's climatic conditions vary, the optimum time to visit also varies:

  • Travel to the far north's Ladakh area in June, July, August, September and October (monsoon season).

  • In November, December, January and February it's a bit cooler; so hit the beaches (i.e. opposite to most of the world where you visit the beaches in summer!)

  • Visit the mountains in March, April and May, when it's a bit too hot on the coast. north from October to April when it's a bit warmer.

Public holidays in India

States have their own holidays, but the national public holidays are:

  • 26 January (republic day)

  • 15 August (independence day)

  • 2 October (birthday of Mahatma Ghandi)


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