Travelling to New York City from South Africa

Out of Town Blog has readers from all over the world, and quite a few from South Africa. This is an article especially for any South Africans that fancy heading off to the Americas this year – New York in particular.

Statue of Liberty in New York
Statue of Liberty in New York (photo courtesy of

New York is perhaps the most famous city in the world, attracting around 50 million visitors annually in recent years. With an endless supply of things to do and sights to see, it’s the perfect destination for a South African looking for an exciting city break.


The time zone in New York City is EST (Eastern Standard Time), which is seven hours behind SAST (South Africa Standard Time). However, the clocks move forward by one hour to EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) in March and revert back in November.

You need to use dollars (USD) on your trip – visit Travelex South Africa to get the most competitive rates when exchanging your rand. You can even load it to a Cash Passport prepaid currency card for extra safety and security while travelling.

The weather in New York is loyal to the seasons, with low temperatures and snow common December to February, a comfortable and mild climate in spring, heat and humidity in the summer months and brisk days in the fall.


South African Airways operates the only direct flight from Johannesburg to New York City – you board in OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) and then arrive at John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

From here, you can board the AirTrain system to the Jamaica Station or Howard Beach Station for public transport connections to the city. The subway is a quick and easy way to get to the major attractions, and a great way to engross yourself in the city culture.

Of course, you might choose to take a ride in an iconic yellow New York Taxi Cab instead. Between JFK, a flat fare of $52 applies – this is approximately 520 rand, but you can see a more up-to-date equivalent using the currency converter  from Travelex.

You can also climb on a shuttle from the airport to the iconic and beautiful Grand Central Terminal, which boasts stunning architecture as well as a host of stores and restaurants. You can even take a headset audio tour to learn more about the train station’s history.

What to see

The list of must-see attractions in New York City is huge, so you might want to start with those iconic locations you’ve seen in your favourite TV shows and movies. One of your first stops should be Times Square, a breathtaking and bustling centre of shops, restaurants and lights.

You should also take a ferry trip to the Statue of Liberty – the National Park Service “highly recommends making advanced ticket reservations”. Explore the famous Central Park, stroll down shopping hotspot Fifth Avenue, and go to the top of the Empire State Building too.

For a little culture, why not visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, or the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)? You should also be sure to pick up tickets for a show on Broadway – The Lion King, set in Africa, is particularly popular.


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