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International Flights from South Africa

So, you want to check how far the green mamba (SA passport) will get you? The tricks to booking cheap international flights from South Africa are (1) to compare all airline prices using the booking engine on the left, (2) to be flexible regarding your departure and return flight dates, (3) to start planning a year in advance, (4) to be patient and (5) to be prepared to fly indirect flights. Most of the time it pays to book well in advance, but sometimes last minute flights are the cheapest. International airlines usually take bookings a year in advance of their flights.

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1time, Kulula, British Airways, SAA, Airlink and SA Express flight reservations

We guarantee the best airfares on international flights.

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International flights

Spring is a magical time in Europe and seeing the Eiffel Tower peek through beautiful blossoms is pure magic! Now you can experience it with flights from Cape Town to the City of Lights from only R6,610* with Kenya Airways. It is time to brush up on your French. Au revoir!

JNB - Dubai R4,714*
leave 10 Apr, return 17 Apr 2019

JNB - New York R10,036*
leave 7 May, return 14 May 2019

JNB - Rome R5,951*
leave 7 May, return 14 May 2019

JNB - Phuket R8,294*
leave 20 Mar, return 27 Mar 2019

JNB - London R7,487*
leaves 21 May, return 28 May 2019

CPT-Paris R6,610*
leave 9 May, return 16 May 2019

CPT-London R7,729*
leave 9 May, return 16 May 2019

DBN-Paris R9,589*
leave 16 May, return 23 May 2019


* There was very limited availability when we last checked flight prices, so please navigate through the link in order to see if the featured price has changed.

international flight routes from South Africa

Latest quotes

*Note that the prices below may have changed.

I am looking at flying from Johannesburg to London on the 16th of November 2014, returning on the 23th of November 2014? What is the best airfare that you can give me?

The best airfare I could find was R8,987* with Emirates.

Old international flight quotes

Cheap Airlines

When I flew from Johannesburg to New York, it was cheapest to fly with Emirates via Dubai. Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad often offer the cheapest flights, even though you first have to stop in the Middle East (Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi). For an irregular flyer this provides the opportunity to sight-see (Dubai, for instance, is home to the tallest building in the world, an indoor ski slope, desert safaris and the famous wild wadi; and Doha is going to be the venue of the Fifa World Cup 2022).

Flights to London

The most popular international flight route from South Africa is from Johannesburg to London (and Cape Town to London). If you want to fly direct, remember to consider Virgin Atlantic and British Airways in addition to SAA. Because of the fierce competition, it is sometimes cheaper to fly to Europe and the USA via London (and if flying onwards to Europe, Ryanair and easyJet offer cheap onward flights).

Popular international flight routes

The most popular international flight routes from South Africa are to London, New York, Atlanta, Paris, Frankfurt, Mumbai, Dubai, Perth, Sydney, Auckland and Singapore.

Africa flights

South Africa is becoming better connected with the rest of Africa via low cost airline routes. Fedair flies from Nelspruit and Johannesburg to Vilanculos. 1time airline now flies from Johannesburg to Maputo (Mozambique), Zanzibar (Tanzania) and Livingstone (Zambia, next to Victoria Falls). Comair (through its Kulula, BA & partner brands) flies to Livingstone, Harare (Zimbabwe), Maputo, Lusaka, Mauritius, Windhoek, Ndola, Dar es Salaam and Gaborone (Botswana).


Meals on international flights vary widely by airline, by length of flight and by class of ticket. On a low cost carrier flight, like a 1time Johannesburg to Livingstone flight, you'll have to purchase your own food. On a long haul flight with a reputable airline (like Emirates), you'll be able to select meals according to your specific dietary requirements (e.g. vegetarian, non-lactose, low-sodium). The standard and choice of meals for first class passengers is far superior to that for economy class passengers. Some airlines allow you to order cake or champagne at the time of making a reservation.

The First class meal menu on an Emirates flight may include cocktails, canapés, caviar, Arabic mezze, tangerine chicken, fresh salad, soup, braised beef, samka harra, glazed duck, aubergine lasagne, vegetables, banana pudding, strawberry cheesecake, an international cheeseboard, fruit, beverages and chocolate.

Getting sick

Cramming stax of pax from various places with exotic germs into a metal can for 10 hours is a recipe for getting ill! Recirculated air containing passengers' respiratory viruses may cross into your system, and crossing time zones can throw their circadian rhythm and natural defense mechanisms into dissaray. This may be aggravated by some people's fear of flying, circulation difficulties if you don't move around and the consumption of alcohol.

Prevention is better than cure, so wear disposable masks, use antiseptic hand gel, take a flu injection well before you travel, move around and pay for a business class seat to ensure you get your sleep in.

Electrical outlets

When travelling internationally it can be frustrating arriving with the wrong adaptors. Here's a handy resource which lists electrical outlets per country.


According to Business Traveller Magazine, these are the top 15 airlines in terms of legroom:

(1) Cathay Pacific
(1) Singapore Airlines
(3) ANA
(4) Etihad
(4) Korean Air
(6) Emirates
(6) Thai Airways
(6) Japan Airlines
(9) American Airlines
(10) Virgin Atlantic
(10) Kenya Airways
(10) United
(13) KLM
(14) Qatar Airways
(15) ANZ

Coping with long-haul flights

  • Get on the right flight - only fly night flights if you manage to sleep on flights. If you can afford it upgrade to premium economy. Pack a neck pillow.

  • You aren't in a fashion show on board planes - wear your most compfortable clothes, don't be afraid to wear your pajamas. If you're too embarassed to walk on the plane in your pj's then put them on when the seatbelt light turns off.

  • Arrive early at the airport to get a seat at the emergency exit (if you're willing to accept the responsibility), window or an aisle seat (if you like to drink a lot go for the aisle seat, so that you can easily go to the toilet).

  • Force yourself to say howzit to the person sitting next to you - it's corteous, and will also open up the chance of a conversation with your neighbour.

  • The secret is to get into the right state of mind - envision the flight as an opportunity to get tasks done without distraction:

    • Attend to any computer work (take along a spare battery), and use the lowest battery use setup.

    • Get in a lengthy guided meditation (easier to do if you're next to a window seat)

    • Take a book along

    • Avoid watching movies before the flight, so that you're amped to watch when you are flying - movies kill a lot of time.
  • Stretch before, after and as often as possible during the flight.

  • Take along an eye mask - even if you're male you'll appreciate it. Ambient light on planes is one of the biggest reasons people struggle to sleep.

  • Take along a tooth brush and face cloth, and stick as closely to your usual bed time routine as possible, to help you sleep. Maintain hygiene.  

Staying healthy on a long-haul flight

There's a cocktail of disease floating about in the air system of a typical international flight. Here's what to do to reduce your risk of getting sick:

  • Regularly wash your hands

  • Drink enough water to keep yourself hydrated - you'd be surprised at how dry the air is on these flights.

  • Avoid sleeping pills or alcohol - these will make you feel worse at your destination. If the sleeping pills do work, you'll be stuck in the same awkward position for a long time, increasing the chances of DVT.

  • Take vitamin C supplements

  • Regularly get up & go for a stroll to avoid deep vein thrombosis

  • Have your annual flu jab

Know your Destination


Before you leave make a note of where the South African embassy is in the country you are going to, and understand how to get there - if there is civil unrest in the country, it's the safest spot for you to go to.

Electrical outlets

When travelling internationally it can be frustrating arriving with the wrong adaptors. Here's a handy resource which lists electrical outlets per country.

Risks of travelling to countries

This map indicates the risk of terrorism and political violence in various countries. The safest countries to visit are Botswana, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Uruguay, Iceland, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay and Bahamas.

risk of visiting various countries

Re-entering South Africa

When you return to South Africa you must declare all the goods in your possession, and if necessary pay VAT & duties. Each person may include the following in their baggage (you cannot transfer your allowance or pool them):

  • 200 cigarettes

  • 250g of pipe or cigarette tobacco

  • 20 cigars

  • 2 litres wine

  • 1 litre of other alcoholic beverages

  • 50ml perfume

  • 250ml Eau de toilette

  • Other goods to a total value not exceeding R5000, excluding consumables. The limit for airline crew members is R700.

Cheap places to visit

Expensive places to visit

Cheap places to visit







New York

Sharm el Sheikh






Kuala Lumpur




Cape Town

Punta Cana


Registration on ROSA

When travelling abroad be sure to register on ROSA (Registration of South African citizens Abroad), so that the Goernment can contract yourself or your friends/relatives if there's an emergency.

Watching live sports when travelling overseas

  • For rugby navigate to KostazHDplus channel on Youtube - they upload the games about 2 hours after the match.

  • UK Sky TV is good for watching live rugby & cricket.

  • Cricfree.TV

Data roaming

An increasing number of international travellers are taking laptops, smartphones & tablets with them overseas, and using data roaming services. It's a good idea to download a data usage app before flying out. Many travellers believe that a WhatsApp message is cheapest, but forget to take into account that whilst it only uses a kilobit of datab, the cellphone operators charge a minimum of 25 kilobits. Skype calls can also be very data hungry (even the background checks it carries out of which contacts are online), as can application updates (which often happen in the background) and downloading of attachments. Data roaming rates vary from country to country.

Yoh! Well done on reading to the bottom - our statistics show you are the first person in the world ever to do so (jokes). We hope you have all the info you require now to book a cheap international flight (using the flight bookings tool on the top left of this page of course). If not, leave a question in the comments box below (in fact, leave a message anyway - we love to hear from our readers). When you do fly, please take lots of photos, and if you've got a chance email some to (another thing we love clients doing). Wishing you only blue skies and tailwinds. Ciao.

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