Travel Guides

7 Worst Airports in Africa and Why They Are Terrible

worst airports in africa
Avatar of Teresa Mwangi
Written by Teresa Mwangi

How real is it about the worst airports in Africa and how bad is it? Do they exist?

These are questions that international travellers looking at travelling to Africa always ponder over. They are valid in every thought and sense because it is a fact of life that Africa has some airports that leave travellers with a terrible experience.

Nonetheless, Africa also has some incredible airports you will always want to be in. Let’s find out which of Africa’s airports left international travellers with a bitter experience.

What Are The Bad Airports In Africa?

There are many but pertinent factors that fuel the perception of the worst airports in Africa. Thus, before listing these airports, you should understand the reasons that build up these statuses about some African airports.

Among them is poor infrastructure. Airport runways and other facilities are extremely expensive in building and maintenance. Thus, if a country is not well-resourced, then, its airports are bound to give travellers a bad experience.

worst airports in africa

Juba International Airport. Photo/VOA Africa

Low-quality hygiene in public places such as washrooms, slim food options and of low quality lower the overall standards of an airport. Coupled with limited seating areas and poorly maintained/outdated facilities; you feel the depth of the worst airports in Africa.

In addition, civil and political strife ruins the impression travellers have of airports due to the insecurity and hostility that comes with such strife. Moreover, unprofessional staff carry a lot of weight when it comes to the perception building of an airport. If they are unfriendly, unsupportive rude or inexperienced, you get a damaging feeling about the airport.

Commonly, cancellations and flight delays stir frustration and anger in passengers and the aftermath of it is a negative impression of the airport. Lastly, airport accessibility plays a crucial role in how bad or good an airport is. If it’s too difficult to get to or from as a result of traffic snarl-ups, or it has limited transport options to and from; be sure it will shape the narrative of negativity on African airports.

From the above, you can clearly see and understand the factors that make African airports look bad. Based on these factors mostly given as feedback by travellers, the following rank as the seven worst airports in Africa.

  1. N’Djamena International Airport – Chad
  2. Khartoum International Airport  – Sudan
  3. Kinshasa N’djili International Airport – DR Congo
  4. Tripoli International Airport –  Libya
  5. Juba International Airport  – South Sudan
  6. Port Harcourt International Airport – Nigeria
  7. Murtala Muhammed International Airport – Nigeria

What Is The Oldest Airport In Africa?

Mogadishu Airport in Somalia, formerly known as Aeroporto Petrella di Mogadiscio Airport is the oldest in Africa. It was opened in 1928 when the Horn of Africa was an Italian protectorate.

Its naming was in honour of Italian pilot Enrico Peterlla, who passed away in the same airport a few years before. The airport was about 5 km south of Mogadiscio’s port, and a bus service—one of the continent’s first—operated between it and the port a decade later.

This airport served as Italian Somaliland’s primary military airport. In military war history, the airport served as the focal point for Italian airstrikes and bombings on southern Ethiopia in 1935 and 1936 while Italy occupied Abyssinia.

Further, it holds a lot of prestige in aviation history after Francis Lombardi flew nonstop from Rome to Mogadiscio in 1930. He set an aviation record and amplified the airport’s status globally.

Midway through the 1930s, the airport started providing both commercial and passenger flights. Although not much of it is said – even in the worst airports in Africa – Somalia’s civil strife took all of its glory.

Which Is The Most Finest Airport In Africa?

best airports in Africa

Cape Town International Airport. Photo/Storewell

Cape Town International Airport in South Africa is the finest of African airports in 2023 according to the World Airport Awards. This Cape Town-based airport bagged this victory for, among other things, the best airport staff, cleanliness, and customer service.

In terms of Best Airport, Best Airport Staff, and Cleanest Airport in Africa, Cape Town International Airport in South Africa defeats Nigeria, Ethiopia, Senegal, and Ghana. The World Airport Awards results are based on customer votes in the yearly international airport customer satisfaction survey.


Unprofessional customer care personnel, low-quality meal options, poor infrastructure, and civil and political strife birth the worst airports in Africa. Passengers value quality, safety and politeness which, unfortunately, is a hard bargain in some African airports.

[convertful id="221063"]

About the author

Avatar of Teresa Mwangi

Teresa Mwangi

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, loves travelling and telling stories about tour and travel in Africa by every angle.

Leave a Comment