The Guide to Sleeping in Airports, a reputable Canadian travel and hospitality company, has voted two South African international airports as among the top five in Africa.
The Guide to Sleeping in Airports survey was conducted last year, but with the results just recently released.
Coming as no surprise to Capetonians was Cape Town International Airport sweeping the category as the continent’s top airport.
“When reviewing the best airports in Africa, Cape Town International Airport is a long-standing fan favourite.
“Travellers are consistently happy with the terminals’ cleanliness and simplicity – and they’re pleased with the helpful and friendly staff,” stated the travel guide.
“Amenities like four hours of free Wi-Fi, a few pay-to-use lounges, a small budget-friendly grocery store and a library are other welcome additions, not often seen in terminals across the continent.”
However, not to be outdone, Oliver Reginald Tambo International Airport (OR Tambo) in Johannesburg was not far behind, coming in at fourth. But the reasons for the airport dropping place in popularity were also outlined.
“OR Tambo Airport appears to have lost a few points in the hearts of travellers this year. People still praise it for being clean, easy to navigate and full of good shopping and dining options,” said the Canadian website.
“However, as one of Africa’s largest travel hubs, the long immigration queues and maintenance issues seem to be wearing on those who travel through.
“That said, Jo’burg’s airport does go above and beyond in the amenity department. Here, you can find luggage storage, a supermarket, a dry cleaner, a barber, several pay-per-use lounges, and a ton of restaurants!”
In their survey, the travel guide asked travellers to rate the African airports based on their overall experience.
The following factors were taken into consideration: Comfort (Rest Zones & Gate Seating); Services, Facilities & Things to do; Food Options; Immigration/Security; Customer Service; and Cleanliness.
“The Best Airports in Africa are those that appear to have figured out how to offer travellers an efficient, clean and friendly travel experience.
“Though you won’t find a plethora of extravagant amenities here, you can expect these five terminals will offer reasonably comfortable chairs, clean floors and easy navigation.
“Coupled with basic services like internet, restaurants, lounges and a few shopping spots, it becomes easy enough to spend your time at these airports.
Pipping OR Tambo to the post was Kigali International Airport in Rwanda, which came in third.
“Kigali International Airport’s 2014 facelift continues to serve travellers well, boosting its continental ranking for Best Airports in Africa from last year. Passengers are pleased with how clean and modern the terminals are, and by how helpful staff can be.”
At number five was Algiers International Airport, which kept survey respondents satisfied by being reliably clean, spacious, comfortable and easy to navigate.
Though some feel the facilities available could use “freshening”, there are enough shops, restaurants and lounges to keep the transit traveller entertained. Plus, there’s a great number of sleeper-friendly benches located throughout!
Not to be left out, and definitely worth a mention, was the top five worst airports in Africa, according to the travel guide.
“Once again, the Worst Airports in Africa have attracted fervent criticism from travellers subjected to spend time here.
“Tiny terminals are likened to mosh pit saunas with questionable and often-unpredictable security processes. Staff are too often criticised for being anything from inefficient to corrupt, depending on where you go, and who you get.
“When using these airports, you’ll want to double-down on patience since you’ve got a near guarantee that you’ll leave hot and tired.”
The five Worst airports in Africa based on overall experience, as determined by voters in our 2016 Airport Survey are:
1. Juba International Airport, South Sudan
2. Port Harcourt International Airport, Nigeria
3. Nouakchott International Airport, Mauritania
4. Douala International Airport, Cameroon
5. N’Djamena International Airport, Chad (NDJ)