I sketched a map of Cape Town Airport to show where the shop is.

Where to Find a SIM Card at Cape Town Airport, Map Included

Updated by Chris. Chris has so many South African friends, he's planning a trip to visit

To help travellers to Cape Town Airport figure out where to buy a SIM card and which one to buy, I put together this guide. I’m a frequent traveller to new cities, I understand how confusing it can be. Hopefully this guide will fix that confusion.

There is only one provider shop at Cape Town Airport that sells SIM cards:

Shop Location SIM Cards Available
5am - 11pm
At the far end if arriving from international (it's near domestic arrivals)
  • Vodacom, from R105
Locations of SIM card shops at Cape Town Airport

Vodacom is the only shop at Cape Town Airport that sells SIM cards. The outlet is located on the far side of the arrivals area, if arriving from an international flight. I sketched out a map above.

SIM cards with Vodacom start at R105, however to get a decent a amount of data and calls, budget at least R2201.

Data is added by bundle and a comparison rate is offered between the cost of data purchased as a bundle and the cost of data if not purchased as a bundle. Bundles last for 30 days. Vodacom SIM cards do not have a fixed expiry if in use.

If looking for large amounts of data (more than 3GB), the provider MTN can offer a better deal; MTN is not available at Cape Town Airport.

More credit can be purchased at a Vodacom store, or at retailers such as Woolworths, Spar, Checkers, and most petrol stations.

200 South African Rand is equivalent to approximately 14 US Dollars at time of writing

Which SIM cards are available at Cape Town Airport?

There is only one SIM card provider available at Cape Town Airport, and that is Vodacom with cards starting from R105. Other options are available if leaving the airport.

Data, calls, and the SIM card itself are all priced separately with Vodacom. Buy a SIM card, top it up with credit, and then activate the bundle. Rates for bundle and “un-bundled” data are advertised side by side so you can see how much you’re “saving” when activating a bundle; this is called in-bundle rate and out-of-bundle rate.


  • Data, starts at R10 for 15MB, I find the best value for travellers to be R 299 for 3GB.
  • Local Calls, a voucher of R29 is suggested, this buys approximately 12 minutes of local calls.
  • SIM itself, a fee of R105; it will need to be activated in store with a passport.

Data bundles mentioned above will last for 30 days from activation. Calls will be available as long as the SIM has credit (as making a call simply deducts from the credit).

Vodacom appears to offer decent coverage, particularly in Cape Town and along major surrounding roads (such as the roads to Port Elizabeth, Jacobs Bay, or Johannesburg). Outside of towns, even when driving along what feels like busy roads, coverage may be unavailable with any of the providers. Consider a satellite phone as well.

International calls start at R0.89 per minute2. To access this rate, an International Calling Plus bundle needs to be activated. It costs R5 per month. If making more than one international call, activating the bundle first is worth it: Bundle call to the USA is R0.99/minute, un-bundled call is R4.49/minute. Other bundled rates are:

  • UK, for R1.79/minute
  • Australia or Netherlands, for R0.99/minute
  • Ireland, from R1.29/minute

What are the other options outside the airport?

Other options include MTN, Cell C, and Telkom. Overall it seems Vodacom is the best SIM card to get when visiting Cape Town for a short while. MTN offers comparable plans and coverage, but it is not as easy to buy as Vodacom.

To compare these SIM cards from the perspective of a short-term traveller, I looked at:

  • Data (Vodacom for convenience, MTN for lots of data)
  • Coverage (MTN is good, comparable to Vodacom)
  • Calls (stick with Vodacom)


Vodacom is slightly cheaper, some of their options include:

  • 500MB for R79
  • 1GB for R115
  • 3GB for R299

MTN, by comparison, offers:

  • 300MB for R60
  • 1GB for R149
  • 3GB for R299

If buying 10GB or more, MTN is the best value per gigabyte. With R499 for 10GB or R899 for 20GB3. Even when travelling for work, thanks to hotel Wi-Fi, I’d struggle to use this much data.


MTN and Vodacom offer similar coverage, including major roads and towns surrounding Cape Town. It seems that for the best coverage, stick with Vodacom or look for MTN.

Telkom also offers good coverage of larger towns and major roads. Cell C only offers coverage in cities and larger towns.


For international calls, I see Vodacom as better value. I haven’t had enough experience to comment on the quality of the phone calls however.

Vodacom offers another bundle for international calls for R5 per month. If making more than 1 international call, this bundle is worth it as it can reduce the price of calls by R3 per minute. Example prices include:

  • UK, for R1.79/minute
  • Australia or Netherlands, for R0.99/minute
  • Ireland, from R1.29/minute

MTN, for comparison, charges R30 for their bundle with call rates such as:

  • UK, from R1.49/minute
  • Netherlands, from R6.99/minute
  • Australia, from R1.99/minute
  • Ireland, from R2.99/minute

For local calls, Vodacom starts at R1.25/minute and MTN starts at R0.79/minute. Cheaper options are available by purchasing a bundle.

Getting to the city centre to buy a SIM card

Cape Town Airport is connected to the city and surrounds by bus, Uber, and taxi. If taking a bus, I’ve included below some shops near the bus stop to purchase a SIM card. By taxi or Uber, SIM card shops may be available near the accommodation.

I’ve also looked at if it’s possible to get to the city centre while staying connected with Wi-Fi (it’s not).

Bus (with free Wi-Fi)

Airport bus services are provided by MyCiTi. The airport route does not appear to have free Wi-Fi, however some of their other routes do.

The bus stops at Civic Centre, the following stores are nearby:

  • Vodacom: Picbel Parkade, open 9am-7pm generally; Golden Acre Shopping Mall, open with the mall.
  • MTN: Thibault Square, Golden Acre, and St George Mall (open 9am - 5pm).

Uber and ride-share, using the airport Wi-Fi to book

Uber appears to be available at Cape Town Airport, though there is no pick up area at the terminal. This means it’s a walk to the carpark to find the Uber. The free airport Wi-Fi does not appear to include coverage of the carpark.

I don’t like to use Uber when it isn’t available at the terminal. Airport Wi-Fi often doesn’t stretch to remote Uber pick up locations (and I don’t like walking there with my luggage). If there is a problem finding the driver, it can be awkward walking back to the terminal to get Wi-Fi again.

I assume Wi-Fi is not available once in the car.

Alternatives to Uber in Cape Town include Talixo and Bolt.


Taxis in Cape Town do not have Wi-Fi.

Cape Town Airport has an official taxi provider and recommends pre-booking a taxi. There are booths available at the airport to book a taxi if unable to book one in advance. More information can be found here.

Is Wi-Fi available at Cape Town Airport?

Yes, free Wi-Fi is available at Cape Town Airport. Connect to # AIRPORTS FREE Wi-Fi to use up to 1 gigabyte over 4 hours4. The service seems to work to book an Uber, though I don’t like to rely on airport Wi-Fi for this. I have never tried Cape Town’s myself.

If in need of more data or time after that, connect instead to # AIRPORTS PREMIUM Wi-Fi and enter payment details.

Do I need ID to buy a SIM card at Cape Town Airport?

Yes, identification is required to purchase a SIM card in Cape Town, and generally anywhere in South Africa5.

Identification information is required to activate the SIM card, and I’ve found it’s generally better to have the shop attendant complete this step for you. A record of your address may also be required, showing details of your accommodation seems to suffice.

Can I roam with my South African SIM card to another country

Bundles for roaming appear to only be available with Vodacom, where rates start from R99 per day for 50MB6. This price appears to be better than MTN (I haven’t tried either), but for most people is more expensive than buying a local SIM card.

United Kingdom

The UK is included in Vodacom’s Travel Data Bundle, meaning the following are available:

  • R99 per day for 50MB
  • R199 per day for 100MB

I feel it’s better value to purchase a SIM card upon arrival in the UK, especially if staying more than 2 days. SIM cards are available on arrival in the UK from £20 (about R375).


The Netherlands is also included in Vodacom’s Travel Data Bundle. Prices are as above, R99 for 50MB or R199 for 100MB.


Australia too is included in Vodacom’s Travel Data Bundle. Prices are the same as above, R99 for 50MB or R199 for 100MB.

SIM cards are available upon arrival at most of Australia’s major airports. These start from $10 AUD (R100). Guides to getting a SIM card on arrival at Australian airports can be found here:



Written by Chris who travels frequently for work and understands what it can be like to arrive somewhere new and unfamiliar.

I wrote Landing Last Minute to help the hurried traveler get necessary information about any destination.