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Transiting thru Jo'burg airport

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Bengaluru, India
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Transiting thru Jo'burg airport

Hi -

I am arriving into Jo'burg at 7.25 am local time (with wife + toddler) on a Saturday morning (late Aug 2013). I have an onward connection to Cape town.

How much time do you reckon one needs to clear customs, pick up bags and catch the connection?

I know these things can't be predicted but a general sense would be helpful. I have read that there's only 1 building in OR Tambo which houses both arrivals and departures on different floors.

How strict or thorough is the customs - any unusual policies? for eg, in auckland new zealand, is very strict about food items coming into the country....we had to declare all items of food and they took close to 30 mins to go thru all our bags before letting us proceed!

Maun, Botswana
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532 posts
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1. Re: Transiting thru Jo'burg airport

I would allow a minimum of 2.5 hours - more if possible.

Although in the same location, the International Arrivals is in a different building from Domestic Departures. One can walk between the two

7.25am is 'peak time' for international arrivals, so the delay in getting through Immigration and customs can be lengthy

No food allowed - or plants, they are very strict on that, but you will find whatever foodstuffs you need in South Africa

Johannesburg, South...
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for Johannesburg
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2. Re: Transiting thru Jo'burg airport

The above is correct, no food or plants.

It will take about 60 minutes to clear immigration, get luggage, and pass customs... I do not usually wait longer than that for international arrivals( perhaps 75 minutes if the arrivals are VERY busy, and customs is on a "Go Slow").

Allow an hour on top of that, because you need to check in for local flights 60 minutes before flight time.

Another 30 minutes, just to be sure, and you will be OK, so, 2 1/2 hours is right.

The two terminals are NOT separate buildings.

Terminal A is international, and Terminal B is domestic.

They are both under the same roof, in one large building..

When you emerge on landside, into the Terminal A arrivals hall,(ground floor) turn left. Go past the Bureaux De Change, and take the escalators up TWO levels. Keep walking in the same direction. This will get you to the Terminal B departures level. All you need to do is look on the large board/s for your domestic flight number, note the check in counter number, and walk to that counter. This process that should not take more than about 5 minutes.

Everything is clearly "signposted". If you should become confused, simply ask any security person, any person wearing a High visibility vest, or any porter ( Orange shirt or vest) or any Tourist guide (They wear badges which resemble the South African Flag)

Do not accept help from anyone who asks if you need help, who is not one of the above, as they may be "chancers", trying to elicit a gratuity.

If you make use of a legitimate porter ( Orange shirt, or vest), you should tip them the equivalent of about US$1.00 per bag, in South African currency.

Enjoy your visit

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3. Re: Transiting thru Jo'burg airport

Please can someone clarify - does "no food" mean "no food whatsoever" or only products like fresh foods (fruit, meat, dairy products)? The various traveller websites don't seem that conclusive (maybe someone can point out a good site). What about products like, for example, dried oats sealed in original packaging? (yes, I know that all these items can probably be found in South Africa but that's not the point of my question ..)

Brisbane, Australia
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4. Re: Transiting thru Jo'burg airport

Anything you bring in must be clearly labelled with a list of ingredients. I don't often see Customs officials inspecting goods in the arrivals area but it does happen. When I go to Australia (one of the harshest inspectors) if I take food, I always make sure I get stuff that can be easily identified, is sealed and clearly branded. But almost always avoid fruits, and stick with candy.

This is the official message, but probably doesn't make it any clearer:


Johannesburg, South...
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5. Re: Transiting thru Jo'burg airport

In my experience, sealed, processed things are fine as long as it's not meat products or honey. Chocolates, biscuits etc are fine. They don't search often, normally just use their cute beagle dogs and worst case scenario you have to bin whatever it is - not like Oz where it's taken very seriously.

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6. Re: Transiting thru Jo'burg airport

Is there an express line for passport & customs at JNB? We will be arriving on South African from overseas and have 2.5 hours to domestic connection to Port Elizabeth - both flights in business class.

Johannesburg, South...
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7. Re: Transiting thru Jo'burg airport

There isn't a business class express queue, but if you tell the ground crew when you land, I am sure they will help you to get through quickly.

8. Re: Transiting thru Jo'burg airport

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