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O. R. Tambo International Airport (formerly Johannesburg International Airport) is about 19 km (12 mi) from Johannesburg and is linked to the city by a fast highway, which is always busy but especially before 9 am and between 4 and 7 pm. Beginning in 2010, a high-speed train, the Gautrain, will connect Sandton (and eventually Johannesburg and Pretoria) directly with O. R. Tambo. Magic Bus offers private transfers to all major Sandton hotels (R350 per vehicle plus R40 per person). The journey takes 30 minutes to an hour. Airport Link will ferry you anywhere in Johannesburg in a Toyota Camry or Mercedes minibus for R335 per person. Wilro Tours runs from the airport to Sandton (R580 for three people, plus R200 if you arrive between 9 pm and 6 am). In addition, scores of licensed taxis line up outside the airport terminal. By law they must have a working meter. Expect to pay about R250-R450 for a trip to Sandton. Negotiate a price before you get in a taxi.
Lines at the airport can be long: plan to arrive two to three hours before an international departure and at least an hour before domestic departures. The airport has its own police station, but luggage theft has been a problem in recent years. Keep your belongings close to you at all times.
If your hotel or guesthouse does not have a shuttle, ask it to arrange for your transportation with a reliable company. Most lodgings have a regular service they use, so you should have no problem arranging this in advance. If it's proving difficult, that is a red flag that you might want to choose a different establishment.
Prices vary, depending on where you are staying, but plan on R350-R400 ($35-$40) for a ride from the airport to Sandton hotels, and about R275 or R300 ($28-$30) for a hotel or guesthouse in Rosebank or Melrose. Most will allow you to add the charge to your bill, so you needn't worry about paying in cash.
Magic Bus runs shuttles from the airport to downtown or the suburbs. You save on price, but you will lose time on a shared ride. The fare is R350 to Sandton or Rosebank and other Jo'burg suburbs. Airport Link is a prebooked, private door-to-door service starting at R335 for one passenger, then an additional R55 for others going to the same destination, with slightly higher rates for Pretoria stops. Legend Tours and Transfers offers prearranged shared-ride transfers starting from R355 from O. R. Tambo.
O. R. Tambo International Airport. 086/727–7888.
Airport Link (011/794–8300 or 083/625–5090. www.airportlink.co.za.)
Legend Tours and Transfers. 021/704–9140. www.legendtours.co.za.
Magic Bus. 011/548–0822 or 011/394–6902. www.magicbus.co.za.