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FFind the Top of Africa at the top of the Carlton Centre in downtown Johannesburg. At 50 storeys, it is Africa’s tallest building and though it may not be as glitzy as New York’s Empire State Building, the views are magnificent – particularly on a clear day and at sunset.
If you have a head for heights and want the best view in Johannesburg, then be sure to visit the Top of Africa on the 50th floor of the 223m-high Carlton Centre, a building that just fails to make the list of the world’s top 100 skyscrapers by a mere 40m. This feat of architecture makes the centre one of the must-see attractions in Johannesburg.
TThe Top of Africa is a wrap-around viewing deck with stupendous 360-degree views over Johannesburg. On a clear day, you can see as far as the capital city of Pretoria, and at any time of year you’ll be amazed at the number of trees you’ll see – more than a million of them, making Johannesburg the biggest urban forest in the world.
Top of Africa, Johannesburg
TTake the lift up the 50-storey building – the highest in Africa and once the highest in the Southern Hemisphere – and prepare to be amazed at just how much you can see of the city and its lovely suburbs.
You won’t, however, see any water anywhere. Johannesburg is the only major city in the world that is not built near a river or the sea, thanks to those gold deposits that were the richest in the world.
TThere are helpful information boards posted around the deck, and a particularly interesting exhibition of photographs about Gandhi, his connection with the city and South Africa’s turbulent past.
Although the Carlton Centre, home of the Top of Africa, has lost some of its former glamour and glitz since it opened in 1973, the array of shops and bustling crowds make it a great place to feel the vibe of a modern African city.
South African urban architectural design tours introduce visitors to the eclectic array of styles and influences behind the country’s most iconic buildings.
South African Breweries’ World of Beer in Newtown Cultural Precinct, Johannesburg, presents a fascinating history of beer globally, and brewing in South Africa – with some welcome samples thrown in.
Leafy Greenside in Johannesburg looks spectacular in spring and offers excellent restaurants and bars, great shopping and nearby outdoor attractions like golf, water sports and botanical gardens.
Wits Art Museum – part of the University of the Witwatersrand – houses an African art collection that was started in the 1920s and includes masks, photographs, paintings and more.
Sandton is Johannesburg’s financial capital, as well as boasting 5-star luxury hotels, world-class conference venues and premier shopping destinations, including Sandton City, Nelson Mandela Square and the Marc.
Johannesburg might be something of an urban jungle, but it also has some wonderful natural attractions. The land on which Johannesburg is built was once grassland, but is now the biggest urban forest in the world, with over 10 million trees in its city, gardens, 600 parks, open spaces and suburbs.
There are many places to eat in Soweto from formal restaurants to more informal taverns and shebeens. There’s lots to experience in Soweto, so include a meal at one of the more popular restaurants as part of your tour itinerary.