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Cheap flights to
South Africa

Save hundreds on your next flight with deals on highly rated airlines.

Flights to South Africa overview

Going searches for the best fares and sends members deals bookable 1-12 months in advance. Going members save approximately 36% compared to normal flight prices to South Africa.

Cheapest Going deal

$715

Average price roundtrip

$1402.07

Average Going deal price roundtrip

$891.68

Best month to fly

Going found the most deals with travel dates in February.

February

Worst month to fly

Going found the least deals with travel dates in June and July.

June, July

Top tips for finding a cheap flight to South Africa

Aim for the Goldilocks Window to book tickets

Things would be so much easier for travelers if there were a certain day of the week or month when airfare was reliably cheap to buy, but that’s just not the way it works. We’ve been watching the constantly changing cost of airfare for years now—and while there’s no magic day when tickets are cheap, there is a pattern that can save you money. There’s a period before every flight when you’re most likely to get a great deal on a ticket: 1-3 months before a domestic trip and 2-8 months before an international one. We call this sweet spot the Goldilocks Window.

Now, if you’re planning a trip over a big holiday or during peak season, or if your travel dates are set in stone or you have zero flexibility about vacation time, we recommend adding a few months to that math. And you don’t want to wait until the last minute, hoping for a bargain basement fare. Airlines almost always raise prices on tickets 21, 14, and 7 days before departure, so book before then if possible.

Try the Greek Islands Trick

There really isn’t any magic involved in getting a good deal on airfare, though it does sometimes require a little creative planning. Take, for instance, our beloved Greek Islands Trick. The trick (and its name) comes from the fact that finding a cheap flight to the Greek Islands is significantly harder than we’d like it to be. Instead, we advocate finding a cheap flight that gets you close (say, to Athens) and then booking a separate ticket to get to the islands (on a plane or a boat). And the trick works for destinations all over the world, saving travelers lots of money.

Since there are only a few nonstop flights to South Africa, chances are very good you’ll end up with a connecting flight anyway. And that means that it couldn’t hurt to look around for the cheapest route to get you there. You could book a nonstop flight from Newark to Johannesburg, but you might pay $1,500 or more roundtrip. If you find a $300 roundtrip fare from NYC to London, however, then even buying a separate $770 roundtrip ticket from London to Johannesburg means you’re saving a few hundred bucks. Yes, this kind of itinerary requires more legwork on your part, but the savings may be worth it.

Search other nearby (and not so nearby) departure airports

This money-saving tip is a bit like the Greek Islands Trick, only it’s about potentially changing the departure airport rather than the arrival one. Travelers who live near multiple major airports are already accustomed to searching for flights from all of them to find the best deal, but it’s a good habit for any traveler who wants to save money.

Fabulous deals pop up all the time across the country, from both big hub airports and smaller regional ones. Let’s say you’re looking at flights from Detroit to Cape Town, but they’re in the disheartening $1,700 roundtrip range. If you find there’s a flight from New York to Cape Town for around $975 roundtrip, though, you could still save a bundle even if you have to fly from Detroit to NYC to take it.

Keep your travel plans as flexible as you can

Being flexible when you’re starting to plan a trip is one of the best ways to save money overall, whether it’s on airfare or lodging, or just about anything else. This is why so many frequent flyers avoid peak season and target the shoulder (or even low) season. But not everyone has the luxury of that kind of flexibility, either because the kids are only out of school in the summer or because your work schedule limits when you can take time off. If you have even the smallest amount of flexibility, though, you can still save a little bit of money.

For travelers for whom it’s either summer or never, check out the fares during the first two weeks of June and the last two weeks of August, as they are often the cheapest summer weeks to fly. You probably know Thanksgiving is notoriously expensive to fly in the US, but it’s something of a secret cheap week to fly internationally. You should also try to avoid scheduling flights on the most expensive days of the week (Fridays and Sundays), targeting the cheaper days of Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday instead.

Sign up for airfare alerts

You can save both time and money with an automated airfare search, which is just the kind of win-win we all love. When you’re starting to figure out a flight itinerary, sign up for a fare alert for that trip. Then, you’ll get an email notification when the fare drops, so you know when it’s time to buy. Just keep in mind that if you’re looking at multiple trips, you’ll have to sign up for multiple alerts. Or, you could join Going and put our dedicated airfare search resources to work for you.

The main international airport in South Africa is Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport (JNB). It’s a hub for Airlink, CemAir, FlySafair, LIFT, and the country’s flagship carrier, South African Airways. There are an additional 42 airlines with service into Joburg and two airports in the US with nonstop flights: Newark (EWR) and Atlanta (ATL).

Cape Town International Airport (CPT) also has a few nonstop flights from the US. There are direct flights into Cape Town from Atlanta, Newark, and Washington DC (IAD). It’s a hub for Airlink and FlySafair, with service from another 26 carriers.

Frequently asked questions about flying to South Africa

When is high season in South Africa?

Depending on what your itinerary looks like, the high season in South Africa might be two completely different times of year. There are rainy and dry seasons to consider, as well, and the country is big enough that it’s impossible to make blanket statements about peak or off season that apply everywhere.

Generally speaking, though, the summer months (about November-February) are considered the peak season because of the warmer weather. The Christmas and New Year’s holidays contribute to the crowds, too. But the rainy season in most parts of South Africa is roughly November-March, so you’d be wise to pack a light rain jacket along with a swimsuit.

During the winter (about June-August), safari operators in the eastern part of the country are incredibly busy—animals are easier to see when tree branches are bare, after all. The temperatures might be cooler overall, but the dry season (roughly April-October) helps keep winter in South Africa pretty pleasant.

When is the best time to visit South Africa?

The “best” time to go to South Africa depends a bit on what you’d like to do while you’re there. If you want to spend all your time on the beach, for instance, then summer (November-February) is the way to go—even if it is the busy and expensive high season.

For many travelers, though, the dry season of April-October is the best time to visit South Africa. It’s absolutely the peak season for seeing wildlife on safari, so be prepared for high season prices on safaris, but otherwise it’s a great option for budget travelers who want to experience a little bit of everything the country has to offer. The weather is cooler than during the summer, but it rarely gets so cold that you won’t want to get out and explore.

How many airports are there in South Africa?

There are more than 20 major airports in South Africa. The overwhelming majority of passengers, international and domestic, pass through Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport (JNB). From the United States, there are two airports with direct service to Johannesburg: Newark (with United) and Atlanta (with Delta).

There are also nonstop flights from the US to Cape Town International Airport (CPT) from Atlanta (with Delta), Newark (with United), and Washington DC’s Dulles (with United).

Which city in South Africa is the easiest to get to?

Johannesburg is home to the largest and busiest airport in South Africa, OR Tambo International Airport (JNB). It’s the primary international gateway to the country, so Joburg is the easiest city to find flights and deals on airfare to South Africa. But it never hurts to check on flights to Cape Town, too, depending on your itinerary, since there are also nonstop flights from the US into Cape Town International Airport (CPT).

What are the rules for traveling with pets to South Africa?

The regulations about bringing a pet with you from the US on your trip to South Africa are different depending on the animal in question.

If you’re traveling with your dog, for example, South Africa requires that you have a veterinary health certificate that has been officially endorsed by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). You’re also required to have a veterinary import permit, which must be approved by the South African government. Some of the health tests your dog must get have to be done in a specific time frame before you leave the US and others must be done by one of the international labs identified by South Africa.

To get more details, or to find out the requirements for traveling with a different kind of animal, check the USDA’s APHIS site for South Africa. And be sure to check with your airline, too, for the rules regarding flying with pets.

How long is the flight to South Africa?

Flights from the US to South Africa are long, there’s no way to get around that. If you can get a nonstop flight, you’ll at least be able to reduce your travel time by eliminating layovers. Most travelers end up with at least one layover, though, so keep that in mind when you’re comparing airfare.

Nonstop flights from Newark to both Johannesburg and Cape Town are about 14.5 hours. From Atlanta, it’s about 14.75 hours nonstop to Cape Town and 15.25 to Johannesburg. And from Dulles in Washington DC, you’re looking at a nonstop flight to Cape Town of about 14.5 hours.

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Number of deals

Total to South Africa in the last month

47

Total Mistake Fares

Airline slip-ups we've caught to South Africa

9

Fly to regions in South Africa

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* Prices are per person and include all taxes & fees in USD. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing, however, prices are not guaranteed, as airline pricing can change by the minute. Average Going fares are based on average prices of deals found by Going.

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