Mesmerising views of a pulsating city and way beyond to the countryside... This is one of Africa’s best views, no doubt!
South Africa has some extraordinary viewing spots. Have you ever seen the sunset from Table Mountain in Cape Town, or experienced the soft filtered light over the majestic amphitheatre in the Drakensberg at dawn? Perhaps yes, but have you seen Africa’s most spectacular city view at sunset - when the sky turns bright orange and when millions of lights transform the cityscape into a magical wonderland?
If this is the view you are after head straight to the viewing floor at the top of the Carlton Centre in central Johannesburg. Known as the ‘Top of Africa’ this 50th-floor viewing spot provides 360 degree views of the skyscraper metropolis around you - and all the way to the countryside beyond. It really is incredible to stand right in the centre of Africa’s most impressive skyline and to see the city unfold around you. I can come back here a million times and never tire of the view. For every time the city’s mood is different. Every time the experience is unique.
If you are on one of the late-afternoon City Sightseeing buses I recommend you hop off at the Carlton Centre to enjoy a most memorable African sunset. Then head back to Braamfontein with the last bus for drinks at one of the trendy bars – gourmet hot dogs at Great Dane sounds like a fantastic idea!
However, don’t make this mistake of only heading for the Top of Africa when you at the Carlton Centre. The ground level and below-ground shopping centre is huge and busy and pulsates with the vibrant energy of Africa’s ‘New York’. It is worth exploring just to feel the vibe. While taking in the spectacle also consider that this centre was built between 1971 and 1974 already, yet it does not look dated and the office tower has been Africa’s tallest building ever since!
What I like most about the Carlton Centre area, though, is to walk out of the buildling and down the pedestrianised part of Fox Street just west of the shopping centre. Here are some great Joziburg hangouts like the Brazenhead Pub in Mathoma Mall. There are also some fantastic boutiques here with Urban Zulu a firm favourite among the city’s young and hip.
For the hungry there are many more eateries on Gandhi Square just around the corner and down Main Street Mall in the corporate mining district. The good news is City Sightseeing buses stop at all three of these spots. So it is easy to hop-off at Carlton Centre to see the Top of Africa, then to walk to Gandhi Square and down Main Street Mall to enjoy the mining district walk. Then hop on the bus again in order to return to Braamfontein. A great day in Joziburg - one that you will remember and smile about for a long time!
Gerald Garner is a passionate Joziburg ambassador having lived in Johannesburg for nearly 18 years already. He resides in a 'countryside' cottage overlooking the Braamfontein Spruit and Delta Park and from here he enjoys frequent forays into the exciting, dynamic and energetic Joburg inner-city. He is the author and publisher of various Joburg books, the latest being Spaces & Places 2.0 – www.joburgplaces.com. Gerald is also an enthusiastic guide for regular walking tours of the inner-city. When not in the inner-city, he enjoys the green spaces of Joburg's northern suburbs as well as its village streets. Look out as you may just encounter Gerald and his son Joshua, together with their three dogs walking next to the Braamfontein Spruit!