Standing on top of manmade Africa! – The Carlton Centre in Jozi

Standing on top of man-made Africa! – The Carlton Centre

When we did our hop on-hop off tour of Johannesburg, our initial idea was not to get off the bus but simply enjoy Joburg sitting down. However, the bus company’s steward at the start of the tour told us that if there is one place we need to get off, it is at the Carlton Centre and take the lift to the 50th floor to enjoy the spectacular views on offer.

He didn’t need to do much to convince us, so we got off at stop number 3 to climb to the top of Africa’s tallest building. As a side note here I have to say that the bus operator is doing a fantastic job as it also has a steward escorting people from the bus stop to the lift. I find this particularly useful for the folks who still see Joburg as a cesspit of criminals and think they might get killed at any point.

The Carlton Centre was at a time the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest building, however, that feat has been surpassed already (Keep in mind that the tallest building in the world is 828m high), though it remains Africa’s tallest building at 223 meters high.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but the view from the top is spectacular, especially on clear day like we had. What’s more is that sometimes, building and structures that look impressive from the ground, lose some of their grandiosity when up seen from a higher vantage point.

This is the case for the FNB stadium which hosted the World Cup 2010 final. From the ground it looks like a vast structure that stands-out from its surroundings, but from 200 odd meters in the air, it almost loses significance and grandeur, blending in to its surroundings so much that I failed to spot under my second turn of the view deck.

My only complaint is that the windows up there could be a bit cleaner but it does not detract from the spectacular views! Enjoy!

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6 Responses to Standing on top of manmade Africa! – The Carlton Centre in Jozi

  1. Jay says:

    Wow, I’ll keep that in mind should I ever get back to Joburg!

  2. Timone says:

    I love your posts they bring back so many memories, I remember going up to the top when it was first built I was very very young I think it was in the 70’s, when the Carlton Centre first opened they had an ice-rink in the centre of the shopping mall downstairs until they built the Skyrink on top of the car park (I think). I don’t know if they still allow it but we also went to the top of the Hilbrow Tower and the Barry Hertzog tower (the one behind the SABC building) and the views from the BHT were even more spectacular as it is built on a hill. I worked at the SABC on the 22nd floor for a number of years and we looked out over the Northern Suburbs from our office window, in summer it is so green and looks like a huge forest. I really must get back into blogging, thanks again for your wonderful posts.

  3. Timone says:

    I once went for an interview on the 49th floor of the Carlton Centre at a Diamond Company and never took the job as I had visions of “Towering Inferno” a movie that was made the same year as the Carlton Centre opened.

  4. 2summers says:

    Glad you made it up there — one of my favorite places in Joburg. Although I agree about the windows. The whole Top of Africa could really use an overhaul, actually.

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