The Top of Africa is the number 1 tourist attraction in Johannesburg. The Carlton Center opened in 1974 and was the tallest building of Africa with a hight of 223 m. In 2019, it was surpassed by the Leonardo skyscraper in the Sandton suburb with 228 m. There is a shopping center with ice rink on the ground floor of the Carlton Center. The former Carlton Hotel was in a building next to the tower and was closed in 1997. The high-rise is used as an office tower. From the observation deck you have the best view of the city, which makes the tower the top attraction of Johannesburg.
On the photo you can see the view to the west with the town hall and the former stock exchange building.
The old stock exchange building is also called the Diamond Building because of its shape. The Stock Exchange Building was designed by German-American architect Helmut Jahn and completed in 1985. The stock exchange has moved to the northern suburb of Sandton because it is safer there than in downtown. The futuristic building with its mirrored facade is now called the Old Johannesburg Stock Exchange Building.
Buildings by Helmut Jahn:
The "Newtown Park" is located in the center of Johannesburg along the Miriam Makeba Street. The Jazz Walk of Fame and the former "Stock Exchange Building" by architect Helmut Jahn are next to the Park.
The city hall of Johannesburg was built in 1915 on the former market square of the young city. The building with the british colonial style tower, was recently renovated and can now be used as concert hall. The Johannesburg City Hall is also the seat of the provincial government of Gauteng.
The "Jazz Walk of Fame" pays tribute to the most famous jazz musicians of South Africa. Like in Hollywood, the names of the musicians are immortalized in granite slabs in the walkway. In front of the "Bassline" in Newtown sits the singer Brenda Fassie, who died in 2004. The most famous singer on the "Walk of Fame" is Miriam Makeba, who was also known as "Mama Africa".
Nelson Mandela Square is a large shopping mall with many restaurants in the white ghetto of Sandton. A large sculpture by Nelson Mandela stands on the square in front of the shopping center. In 1994 Mandela won the election with the ANC and became President of South Africa. Before that, the freedom fighter spent much of his life in the Robben Island prison near Cape Town.
Sandton is increasingly becoming the second center of Johannesburg. Crime is very high in the city center, which is why the stock market and the majority of the white population moved to Sandton. In the meantime, the tallest high-rise building of South Africa was built here.
The brightly painted Orlando Towers are the most famous sight in Soweto. The power plant's cooling towers rise above the small huts of the townships. In the South Western Townships there were repeated uprisings against apartheid politics in 1976. Soweto is still a poor district, but with an expert guide it is also an interesting and historic place.
Another attraction of Soweto is the Hector Pieterson Memorial on Pela Street. The 12-year-old student was shot and killed by police officers in 1976.
The Gold Reef City amusement park was built around an "old" gold mining settlement. Even today, the site is still a gold mine with a casino, hotels, restaurants and roller coasters. Gold Reef City is on a hill southwest of downtown, just off the M1. From here you can see the skyline of Johannesburg. The Apartheid Museum is located next to the amusement park. Gold Reef City attractions, opening times and admission prices check the link below.
The Soccer City Stadium was built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The oval, also known as African pot, is a reminiscent of a calabash, the traditional African trinking pot. The stadium was planned by the architects Boogertmann + Partner from Pretoria. Today the football stadium is called the FNB Stadium. The stadium was built in 1989. It was rebuilt and modernized for the Football World Cup until 2009. With around 95,000 seats, the First National Bank Stadium is the largest football stadium in Africa.
It is the South African national stadium, here South Africa defeated Tunisia in 1996 and became African champion. The World Cup final 2010 between the Netherlands and Spain took place in the Soccer City Stadium, which Spain won 1-0.
Welcome to Johannesburg and Pretoria
The two cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria are only about 50 km apart. Johannesburg is the economic center of the country and Pretoria is the capital of South Africa. Johannesburg has about 1 million inhabitants, the neighboring Pretoria counts about 750,000 people. About 5 million people live in the region of Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Security in South Africa
Johannesburg is one of the most dangerous cities in the world and armed robberies are unfortunately not uncommon. The white upper class has therefore fled the inner city to Sandton. Tourists should not drive their own cars at night, as these are also attacked at traffic lights. If you want to go to "Soweto" you should take a local driver (hotels provide drivers) or join a guided tour. If you are a little afraid you should take a hotel in Sandton, robberies are much rarer here. If you are careful and don't have valuables with you, you can walk through downtown "Johannesburg" during the day. Pretoria is much safer. If you are afraid, you shouldn't show, but go to the nearest shop and have a taxi called for you. We drove through South Africa in a golden BMW for 2 weeks, nothing happened to us. If you are stopped by a cop who is asking for money for no reason at all, be kind and give them significantly less than they ask for. The sum is freely negotiable, he is happy if he gets anything at all. You can also deny everything, ask for evidence and give nothing. Don't be intimidated.