Africa’s Best And Worst Airports

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Air travel across Africa doesn’t hold many expectations when it comes to state-of-the-art airports. However, there are a few that are reliably comfortable, clean, and offer decent facilities, added to this they maintain efficient terminals.

The majority of the best airports are located in South Africa, but on a positive note, recent renovations and other efficiencies in Algeria, Mauritius and Rwanda are making strides in allowing continent-wide travel far more pleasant. Of course, there are always those that are on the bottom of the list, and they must have their place too!

5 Top Airports In Africa in 2015

  1. Cape Town International Airport, South Africa (CPT)

Topping the list of Best Airports in Africa is Cape Town International, an airport noted for exceptionally clean bathrooms, an easy layout and decent amenities. Although the airport lacks some of the ultra-cool features offered up by the city in which it is based, the terminals are a simple and pleasant welcome to one of Africa’s best cities.

The ground-level Woolworths grocery store is a budget-friendly spot for snacks, and the ‘Flybrary’ is a unique spot to lounge in a comfortable chair with a borrowed book. Though it is rare to sleep at CPT, those that do say the terminal is quiet but bright, and that there are often armrest-less benches available for sleeping. Sleepers are virtually guaranteed little disturbance until about 4:00 am when shops and check-in desks re-open for the day. 

  1. Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport, South Africa (JNB)

Another favourite African airport is O.R. Tambo in Johannesburg – a transit hub for much African travel. The terminals are clean and simple, with an overall modern and friendly feel. The luggage storage area reduces worries about theft while sleeping, and other amenities like a supermarket, dry cleaner, barber and restaurants keep non-sleeping passengers occupied as they await their flights. Sleepers in particular will be pleased with the availability of long benches near South African-style outlets, and for the relative quiet found in the terminals overnight.

  1. Algiers Houari Boumediene International Airport, Algeria (ALG)

Algiers climbs a spot to land a third-place ranking, likely because in spite of its large size, the terminals remain organised, efficient and easy enough to navigate. That, and the floors seem to be perpetually kept clean! The modern design of the terminal and how safe travellers feel within it is a plus. Seating throughout is sleeper-friendly, with a number of linear and circular armrest-free cushioned benches. Amenity-wise, there have been few developments over the past year. Highlights include the usual mix of restaurants, curio shops and a few basic lounges.

  1. Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, Mauritius (MRU)

The main airport in Mauritius climbed a few spots after a series of relatively recent renovations. With clean and efficient new terminals, the internal infrastructure is boasts splashes of indoor gardens. Amenities remain fairly limited, including Wi-Fi, internet workstations, a pay-per-use lounge and a few coffee shops. That said, given that the airport is a destination rather than a travel hub, these amenities are generally sufficient for the short amount of time travellers spend here. 

  1. Kigali International Airport, Rwanda (KGL)

Kigali International Airport snags the title of fifth best airport in Africa after having nearly completed a terminal facelift. Renovations have left the airport far brighter, roomier and much more efficient. The airport has the capacity to accommodate up to 1.5 million passengers – more than double current traffic levels – meaning that for now, queues are limited and chairs are plentiful. Other perks at KGL include excellent locally sourced coffee, free Wi-Fi, and cheery staff. Additionally, the terminal is located conveniently close to the city centre.

5 Worst Airports in Africa 2015

If you are thinking of travel that requires a stopover at one of the following airports, you may want to think again and rather pay good money to stay at a hotel. These airports seem to be embroiled in corruption, crowds, chaos, confusion and a total lack of cleanliness. Amenities across the board are decidedly scarce, if not entirely non-existent, and much of the architecture in these airports verges on decrepit. Make sure you arrive at these airport terminals equipped with your own snacks, your own entertainment, lots of patience and definitely a sense of humour. These airports are the stuff books are written about and horror movies are made of.

  1. Port Harcourt International Airport, Nigeria (PHC)
  2. Khartoum International Airport, Sudan (KRT)
  3. Kinshasa N’djili International Airport, Democratic Republic of the Congo (FIH)
  4. Juba International Airport, South Sudan (JUB)
  5. Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport, Djibouti (JIB)

COMPILED BY: MELISSA JANE COOK. IMAGES BY: ISTOCK.COM.

SOURCE: THE GUIDE TO SLEEPING IN AIRPORTS

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Bewitched by the magic of France, Melissa Jane Cook is an intrepid explorer. A lover of traversing the globe, she eagerly absorbs different cultures and laps up the magnificent oceanic experiences. Wooed by words and writers alike, her penchant for facials, chocolate, owls and bugs, is surpassed only by her fascination with the stage aglow in lights or bookshelves that heave with stories, where characters invite her along on their marvellous journeys.

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