Whether it’s the colonial splendour of Herbert Baker’s Union Buildings or the funky vibe of Johannesburg’s Arts on Main or the eclectic mix of design in Cape Town and Durban, South African urban architectural design has much to offer visitors.

Did you know?

Many visitors regard Cape Town’s Table Mountain as the premier South African urban design icon.

A South African urban architectural design tour is an unusual way to see and enjoy a very special element of this country.

Urban architectural design in South Africa can be discovered from the southernmost tip to the northern reaches of the country. It’s found in the fabulous swoop of Herbert Baker’s Union Buildings in Pretoria, the Constitutional Court precinct in Johannesburg or, not very far from there, the individually styled rooms of the 12 Decades Hotel in Main Street, which celebrate the city’s history since its founding in 1886.

South African urban architectural design is evident in unique Cape Dutch architecture all around the Cape, from the Houses of Parliament to Groote Schuur, former home of empire-builder Cecil John Rhodes. You can see it as you walk up funky Long Street, with its wrought-iron balconies and Art Deco exteriors, its Latin bistros and the hint of New Orleans in its pavement bars and cafés.

And there’s so much more. Visit Arts on Main in Johannesburg, which was converted from five downtown warehouses into an exciting collection of restaurants, galleries, a publishing house and historical archives.

To see old Johannesburg, in particular the randlords' mansions (the randlords were wealthy gold magnates of early Johannesburg, so-called because they lived high up on the rand, or ridge, in Johannesburg, with beautiful views), there’s nothing better than a walking tour with the Parktown and Westcliff Heritage Trust.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Parktown and Westcliff Heritage Trust (walking tours in Johannesburg)
Tel: +27 (0)11 482 3349
Email: mail@joburgheritage.co.za

Arts on Main (Johannesburg)
Mobile: +27 (0)83 245 1040
Email: mabonengprecinct@gmail.com

Cape Insights (Cape Town)
Tel: +27 (0)21 424 0018
Email: info@capeinsights.com

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