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Arrival logistics at OR Tambo

Lewes, United...
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Arrival logistics at OR Tambo

Apart from the usual formalities on arriving, we have a few things we need to achieve before leaving the airport and heading to the rental depot to pick up our car, so I'd really appreciate some advice:

Firstly, we will need some cash. I understand there are both ATMs and banks in the airport, but have seen from research on this forum that using the ATM is recommended. Is there a choice of ATMs or just the one? Where is it/they located? What size denominations do the machines dispense? Is there anywhere, if needed, where we can change the notes to smaller amounts for tips and small disbursements?

We need to buy a PAYG cell phone as soon as we can. Is there anywhere in the airport where we can buy one? Also, I read an old topic indicating the rules for foreigners buying SA cells phones were confusing or complicated. What is the current advice? Do we get the SIM card at the same time or from somewhere else? Am I correct in understanding that Vodacom has the best coverage in remote areas? Not knowing how much phone calls are, nor the amount we can load onto the phone, how many ZARs worth should we buy? We only need the phone to call ahead if we run late or get lost, and for emergencies.

As we always like some water with us in the car, is there a small store in or near the airport where we can pick up a bottle? (I know you can drink the tap water, but this is much more convenient on the go.)

Pretoria, South...
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1. Re: Arrival logistics at OR Tambo

These 2 recent threads should answer some of your questions:

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g312578-i9273-k5…

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g312618-i9872-k5…

- post #8 onwards.

Vodacom is supposed to have the best cellphone coverage although I've known places where other people had better luck with their MTN connections than I did with my Vodacom one. So I don't know that it's really material. You should be able to buy the SIM and phone at the Vodacom or MTN shop at the airport - just down the passage to your right as you come out of arrivals. It seems generally agreed that the staff in the airport cellphone shops understand how to apply the RICA provisions in the case of tourists so that should not be a problem - you would just need your passport and accommodation confirmation. Not too sure how much airtime you should buy - I have a contract - but would guess about ZAR100 to start with. As noted in the thread above, you can buy more airtime absolutely everywhere if you need it.

Lots of kiosk-y places at the airport where you can buy water; alternatively Woolworths, down the passage to your left as you come out of arrivals.

ATMs almost exclusively dispense ZAR100 notes. I can't think of any way to change these into smaller denominations - think you'd have to buy a newspaper or something and get change that way.

Edited: 24 August 2012, 20:23
Tempe, Arizona
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for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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2. Re: Arrival logistics at OR Tambo

The nearest ATMs would also be on the Arrivals floor.. to your left as you come out of Baggage Claim about a minute's walk away. These are ABSA bank machines. (The phone shops mentioned above are, as noted, to the right when you come out). Prepaid vouchers for Vodacom - the cell service I use - are R55. Each minute of a call you make costs R2.25, and when people call you - no charge to you. Only for outgoing calls. You don't have to buy the phone, either. You can rent it for very little and return it when you leave. As for change.. yes, you will probably have to buy something to get change.

Philadelphia...
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3. Re: Arrival logistics at OR Tambo

On the O.R. Tambo International Airport Website, click on the drop down for "Airlines, shops, restaurants, services and facilities", then click on "Electronics" followed by "Vodashop", it will give a telephone number and this e-mail address: christopher@cellucity.co.za If you e-mail that you are interested in either renting a phone while you are in South Africa or purchasing one, they will send you all of the information that you need to make a decision, as well as forms for an advanced reservation. All you have to do is fill out the form and e-mail it back. Then pick up your phone from the store before leaving the airport. If renting, you can return the phone to several other airports, including the one in Cape Town or even arrange for them to pick it up from your hotel. It's pretty easy.

Pretoria, South...
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4. Re: Arrival logistics at OR Tambo

The list of shops on the ACSA site seems quite outdated to me, so bear that in mind if using it.

Oxfordshire
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5. Re: Arrival logistics at OR Tambo

An interesting topic as we will be in same position soon. I had planned to pack an old mobile in hand luggage and purchase a sim card in SA. Will this work?

Somerset
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6. Re: Arrival logistics at OR Tambo

Oldfogies - providing your "old" mobile is unlocked then you can simply buy a local sim card plus air time. I do it every year.

If your mobile is "locked" ie can only be used with one provider Orange.vodaphone etc) then you could probably get it unlocked but failing that it would not work with a SA sim card (or any other sim card for that matter)

Oxfordshire
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7. Re: Arrival logistics at OR Tambo

Thanks will pop to market and get it unlocked asap - it's Vodaphone and I hadn't thought of the need to unlock it.

Lewes, United...
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8. Re: Arrival logistics at OR Tambo

Thanks everybody for the great info and contributions, most helpful. Sorry to be late in responding, TA didn't let me know there were responses, unusually!

Just a quick comment to oldfogies: From experience of travelling elsewhere, I'd suggest you make sure the old phone you plan to use has the correct band reception for SA or you'll be wasting your time getting it unlocked. I'd guess you need a quadband phone. Our old one isn't, which is why I'm looking to buy a new, cheap local one - also it seems to be cheaper than renting a phone these days for SA.

SWT

South Africa
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9. Re: Arrival logistics at OR Tambo

It is the same band as in Europe with your unlockes phone!

Facilities in SA Airport: http://www.acsa.co.za/index.asp

You will need your pasport for a SA Sim, that is all, at the airport they well know no problem. Get MTN of Vodaphone. Normaly with airtime of ZAR 50,- you can phone and sms a lot. More airtime at any supermarket, petrol station.

No idea what a ATM give out for notes. But buy some bottles of water in the food courd ( Terminal B

Retail level )and you have already some small water.

Branches for the major banks in South Africa are located at O.R. Tambo International Airport as follows:

First National Bank, Nedbank and Standard Bank: Terminal B - retail area

ABSA and African Bank: Terminal A - arrivals area

Automated teller machines (ATMs) can be found in the following locations:

Standard Bank-, FNB-, ABSA- and Nedbank ATMs are available in the food court area next to Wimpy and Spur

Standard Bank-, FNB-, ABSA- and Nedbank ATMs may be found on the retail level in the bank area

Standard Bank-, FNB- and Nedbank ATMs are located in Terminal A departures (next to Wandie’s restaurant)

Two ABSA ATMs may be found next to the ABSA bank branch in Terminal A arrivals

One Standard Bank ATM is available next to Khulula/BA/Comair ticket sales

have a good trip.

Annemieke

Oxfordshire
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10. Re: Arrival logistics at OR Tambo

Thankyou very much Annemieke - my research indicated that my phone would be OK but always good to have confirmation. Really looking forward to our trip in November - the first, but hopefully not the last holiday in SA Thanks Jean