South Africa Travel
Where are South Africans flying to?
August 27, 2018

As a travel influencer I fly a lot locally and a fair bit internationally too. In the past two months I’ve flown return twice between Joburg and Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth. Internationally I’ve flown Joburg – Maputo and Cape Town – Walvis Bay.

TravelStart recently released their study on the most popular flight routes for South Africans and I was interested to see how my air travel compared with the rest of Mzansi. Their rankings are based on an analysis of more than 800 000 individual trips booked on since the start of 2017.

Harare is winning!

Who would have guessed that Harare beats London as the top international destination for flights originating in SA ?

Johannesburg airport

According to the rankings, Harare takes the number one spot followed by London, Windhoek, Mauritius and New York City respectively.  Perhaps this is a sign that the political climate in Harare with more business travel heading to Zimbabwe’s capital? Or Zimbabweans living in South Africa finding it cheaper to fly home?

In the previous four years the top international destination for Saffers has been either London or Windhoek. When it comes to long-haul flights, the most popular flights go from Johannesburg to London – closely followed by the route from Johannesburg to Dubai. London is still an important tourism and business air route for South Africans  – British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and SAA all increased their offering on direct flights between London and SA this past year. From October 2018, BA is launching direct flights between Durban and London, which is a big win for tourism to KZN. 

Mauritius- South Africans favourite international holiday destination
Photo: Lux Belle Mar

I wasn’t surprised to see Mauritius in the top 5 – it’s clearly one of Mzansi’s favourite holiday destinations. Do they even have to do any marketing anymore? South Africans keep going back! Check out my blog posts on Mauritius here.

Also interesting to note is that NYC makes the list for the first time, moving past Dubai to take fifth place. South African’s are clearly loving the Big Apple!

Top domestic destinations

Did you know that the air route between Johannesburg and Cape Town is the busiest in Africa and the 12th busiest in the world with more than 13,000 people flying this route daily?

In terms of domestic air travel, Cape Town, Johannesburg (OR Tambo) and Durban maintained their first, second and third place rankings respectively, which have been constant for the past 4 years.  Lanseria, SA’s fourth largest airport by passenger numbers, has moved up to fourth in the rankings (due to increased capacity and runaway upgrade) with Port Elizabeth coming in fifth.

Flying into Cape Town from Walvis Bay on Air Namibia

Lanseria is winning too!

I find it convenient and cheaper to fly domestically from Lanseria and seem to be taking more and more flights from Joburg’s northern airport these days, as Mango, Kulula and FlySafair offer great domestic rates from Joburg’s northern airport.  Also good to see that Lanseria has announced plans to double its passenger numbers to more than 4 million within the next six years, which will hopefully include a few more local destinations. .

Routes on the Rise

In 2017, global air traffic passenger demand increased by 8.1% on the year before with a further 7% growth expected in 2018. The TravelStart research shows that flights from Johannesburg to London increased by 88% between 2014 and 2017 and regional destinations such as Windhoek and Harare increased by 51% and 118% respectively.   International routes between Cape Town and the UK and Namibia have seen big increases since 2014. Good news for Namibian Tourism!

My top local routes & Travelstarts birthday sale

I did a little research of my own into my top destinations. It seems Joburg (OR Tambo) comes first for me followed by Joburg (Lanseria), Durban,  Cape Town and Port Elizabeth! Clearly I love local travel 🙂 Where are your top destinations to fly to?

I’m always on the look out for a good flight deal. It’s TravelStart Birthday Sale from 27 – 31 August. Check out their website for awesome deals to local and international destinations. I’ve just seen some pretty sweet return faress to Mauritius for R4999 return and Namibia for R3199 return. Sweet deals!


Which destinations do you find yourself flying to the most?


Disclaimer: This post was brought to you in collaboration with Travelstart, however all opinions expressed are my own.

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Meruschka Govender

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