Planning a trip to Cape Town? Get yourself a local sim card and avoid high roaming costs. Buying a sim card for South Africa at Cape Town Airport is very easy. Make it yourself easy: ordering an Uber, calling a restaurant and many more examples why having a local sim card is great!
In this guide I will tell you everything about buying a sim card in Cape Town. Where to get one, up to date prices, what are the best options and my own experiences. Also find a vlog about getting a sim card at Cape Town Airport.
Being an avid world traveler I recommend every tourists who likes to stay connected to buy a local prepaid sim card. There are also global sim cards, but they are ALWAYS more expensive than local sim cards. Wanna read more about this then check my article with the best international sim cards for world travelers.
I also wrote a guide for buying a prepaid sim card at Johannesburg Airport.
You can also buy a sim card for your South Africa trip online through the Simoptions website. They have an offer for $49.95 and you get 10 GB data. Or get an e-sim card for South Africa with 10 GB data for $33. Click on the links for more info.
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To make it easier, you can also watch this short 2 minute video about buying a sim card for South Africa at Cape Town Airport.
Cape Town International Airport
Don’t worry you won’t get lost here at CPT, it is a pretty small and easy to navigate airport. There are only 5 luggage belts and only one exit into the arrival hall for international arrivals. People are very friendly and helpful and there is free WiFi at Cape Town International Airport.
Where to buy a sim card at Cape Town Airport
As soon as you arrive in the luggage hall you will see a Vodacom kiosk with big signs saying FREE SIM VODACOM. First off the kiosk is probably not operational, second a Vodacom sim card at Cape Town Airport is NOT free. The Vodacom kiosk is located at Luggage Belt 3.
However finding where to buy a South African sim card for your trip is very easy at Cape Town Airport. As soon as you pass customs and enter the arrival hall you will see a Vodacom and an MTN store on your right hand side.
The operating hours for the shops are:
- Vodacom: 7.00 am - 8.00 pm
- MTN: 7.00 am - 6.00 pm
These are the only two sim card stores at CPT Airport. Although there is also an MTN and a Vodacom store at the Domestic Arrival Hall, but the prices are the exact same.
Buying a sim card in Cape Town City Center
May you not had the opportunity to buy a sim card at Cape Town Airport then don’t worry. All the popular tourist destinations in Cape Town have mobile phone shops that sell prepaid sim cards for South Africa. The best places to buy a sim card in Cape Town are:
- V&A Waterfront - Victoria Wharf Shopping Center
- Cape Quarter Lifestyle Village
- Downtown Cape Town
Locating the nearest shop? Go to Google Maps and type in the by you preferred mobile operator: MTN, Vodacom, Cell C or Telkom. For more info and up to date prices check out my article about buying a sim card in South Africa!
When buying a prepaid sim card in South Africa you need to register with your passport. You can buy up to 5 sim cards per passport.
Prices South Africa sim cards at CPT
Vodacom Cape Town Airport
At Vodacom they keep it simple and offer 3 tourist packages:
- R499 ($33) = 3 GB data + 30 min + R30 Airtime + 30 sms
- R649 ($43) = 5 GB data + 50 min + R50 Airtime + 50 sms
- R899 ($60) = 10 GB data + 100 min + R100 Airtime + 100 sms
The 30 Rand Airtime is like credit and the packages are valid for 30 days.
You can also make your own bundles, but then a Vodacom sim card costs R100 ($6.6). The most common available packages valid for 30 days are:
- 1 GB = R99 ($6.6)
- 3 GB = R229 ($15)
- 25 minutes = R55 SAR ($3.7)
- 60 minutes = R110 ($7)
A bit pricey as you can see South Africa sim cards are not super cheap.
MTN South Africa
At the MTN store there is whole lot more options available and an MTN sim card at Cape Town Airport is also FREE! MTN offers multiple packages with more flexibility. Tourists can opt for a sim card with a package valid for 1 week also.
Another great thing about buying an MTN sim card is that you can easily compose your own packages with data + voice. I like that!
Airtime/voice cost 1 SAR per minute, so 60 minutes = 60 SAR ($4).
The most common prepaid MTN sim card data packages at Cape Town Airport are:
For 7 days:
- 1 GB = R70 ($4.7)
- 2 GB = R99 ($6.6)
- 5 GB = R199 ($13)
For 30 days:
- 1 GB = R99 ($6.6)
- 3 GB = R229 ($15)
- 10 GB = R469 ($31)
- 30 GB = R999 ($67)
Then MTN offers also packages that give you 1 or 2 GB data per day, with a renewal every day at 00.00.
- R149 = 1 GB daily for 7 days ($10)
- R199 = 2 GB daily for 7 days ($13)
- R499 = 1 GB daily for 30 days ($33)
- R699 = 2 GB daily for 30 days ($47)
MTN claims to have the best network in Cape Town. But both Vodacom and MTN have a very good 5G network in Cape Town, based on my own experience. I always enjoyed a 5G signal in Cape Town and so did my friend with a Vodacom sim card.
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Best sim card for tourists at Cape Town Airport
As you can already figure out I am recommend tourists the following prepaid sim card: MTN is the best prepaid sim card at Cape Town Airport in 2022!
First off they are much cheaper than Vodacom, second they offer better and more packages and third they are more flexible when it comes to validity length.
Order a South Africa sim card online
Too much hassle buying a sim card on arrival at Cape Town International Airport then get yourself one before your trip. Order an international sim card for South Africa online and get it shipped to your home address.
Orange - Holiday World - $49.90
- NO calls
- NO text
- 10 GB data
- Valid for 14 days
True Move H - Travel Sim World - $39.90
- NO calls
- NO text
- 6 GB data
- Valid for 15 days
You can order the above prepaid sim cards for South Africa online through Simoptions. These international sim cards are automatically activated from its first use.
If for some reason you aren't able to buy a sim card for South Africa at Cape Town Airport then I recommend you to check out the my guide for buying a sim card in South Africa. It also includes a South Africa sim card with unlimited data, called Rain.
E-sim card for South Africa
On top of all the above options you can choose to not swap your sim card but buy an e-sim card for South Africa. The great thing is that you can order one directly from the internet. Check out the following e-sim card deals for South Africa:
- $5 USD = 1 GB data for 7 days
- $13 USD = 3 GB data for 30 days
- $17 USD = 5 GB data for 30 days
- $33 USD = 10 GB data for 30 days
You can order the above South Africa e-sim card deals directly through this link and also find more info on how it works.
My experiences buying a sim card at Cape Town Airport
As you can see in the video above I checked out both mobile operators first and then came to the conclusion that MTN had better deals. So I decided to buy an MTN prepaid sim card for my trip to Cape Town. Everywhere I went in Cape Town I had a good 4G connection, even when hiking off the beaten path.
I chose the R149 packages and got 1 GB data daily for 7 days. My trip to Cape Town was only 5 days, so that was perfect. This MTN packages is perfect for tourists staying less than 1 week in Cape Town. Just $10!
Every night at 00.00 you get a text saying that they renewed your 1 GB daily allowance. Also when you use 50% of the daily allowance you get a message from MTN.
After a couple days I needed to make some phone calls and I went to the supermarket to add airtime/voice. I added just R20. It was fixed within seconds. All my experiences using my MTN sim card in Cape Town were good!
How to get from Cape Town Airport to the city
The airport is located not far from the city and within less than 30 minutes you will be at your hotel by taxi. I recommend taking a taxi as they are only about $15 - $20 one way. The most trusted way is to order an Uber or Bolt, however normal taxis offer rides for the same price.
I hope these tips for buying a sim card in Cape Town were helpful! In case you still have question please leave me a comment below and I am happy to assist.
Enjoy your trip to Cape Town!