What are the main flight hubs in East Africa and Southern Africa?

Flying into Africa is as easy as flying anywhere else in the world. However, Africa is an enormous continent with various international and national airports acting as gateways to its remote islands and iconic safari destinationsβ€”you’ll need to know which gateway airport best serves the destinations you have in mind.

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EAST AFRICA

There are no direct flights from New Zealand into Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda, and most flights route through Nairobi.

NAIROBI (JOMO KENYATTA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT)
Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city, is home to East Africa’s flight hub and will be your first landfall if you’re planning to go anywhere in Kenya – including the Masai Mara – as well as Uganda, Rwanda and indeed Tanzania and Zanzibar. Travellers can transfer from Nairobi Airport to Wilson Airport for onward regional flights and inter-camp light aircraft flights.

DAR ES SALAAM (JULIUS NYERERE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT)
Tanzania’s primary flight hub is set on the coast and perfectly placed if you’re heading for Zanzibar or islands off the Tanzanian coast like Pemba as well as the Selous Game Reserve. Mount Kilimanjaro and Tanzania’s northern safari destinations are served by transferring from Dar es Salaam to either Kilimanjaro International Airport (also offering limited international flights) or Arusha Airport for local light aircraft flights.

SOUTHERN AFRICA

There are no direct flights from New Zealand into Botswana, Namibia, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, or Zambia, and all flights route through Johannesburg.

JOHANNESBURG (OR TAMBO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT)
Africa’s premier flight hub, O R Tambo, serves all destinations in Southern Africa, including Kruger National Park, Victoria Falls, Botswana and Madagascar.

CAPE TOWN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Serving South Africa’s Cape destinations, such as Cape Town, the Whale Coast, and the Cape Winelands, this is the gateway airport for the Garden Route and Eastern Cape. Namibia and Botswana can also be easily accessed from Cape Town.