OR Tambo International Airport is located to the east of Johannesburg. It is named after a feted leader of the struggle against apartheid and it is the busiest airport in Africa.
Regular flights into the country are available and these are operated by several major airlines such as South African Airways, Emirates and Virgin Atlantic.
It is a 40-minute drive from the airport to the heart of the city. Bear in mind that public transport is not particularly accessible or reliable.
South Africa has a reputation for crime. Like any other major city in the world, you need to be aware and use your common sense. You will be perfectly safe as long as you are in a crowd and if you do not walk around excessively at night. Remember to lock car doors at all times and keep personal belongings out of sight where possible.
Renting a car is an excellent option. Reputable car hire companies include Avis, Budget and Imperial. Branches operate within the airport grounds.
Buses only run within the centre of the city. These are relatively inexpensive but do not have a sophisticated prepaid system so you would do well to investigate the ticket system. Buses do not run at night generally.
South African ‘taxis’ are unique. They are used by the masses and are generally a bit risky. Expect bad driving, road rage and some unscheduled stops along the way. It’s best to hire a recommended cab or pre-arrange a shuttle or transfer if you will not be travelling independently. Shuttle services are available at the airport.
Rail travel is not recommended for tourists. Construction of a major rail system known as the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link is currently under way and is scheduled to be completed around 2011. This will link the airport to major centres in the province.