After an ambitious and lengthy period of construction—which lasted from 1967 to 1974—the Carlton Centre finally opened and was once home to the luxe Carlton Hotel—a five-star accommodation that occupied 30 out of the 50 stories. Today the building is comprised of both office space and a shopping mall, which is made up of a collection of more than 180 shops located on subterranean levels.
The top floor of the center is known as the “Top of Africa” and you can catch a glimpse of the entire Johannesburg skyline, including the FNB Stadium and Gandhi Square. Sightseeing tours of Johannesburg typically include a stop at the Carlton Centre and some bookings include a ride up to the Top of Africa.
Things to know before you go
- There is a fee to experience the Top of Africa, and the entrance to the elevator that takes you to the viewing deck can be found in the lower levels of the mall.
- The building is located in an urban section of Johannesburg, and as with most larger cities, it's best to visit during the daytime.
- If you parked in the center’s underground garage make sure to get your ticket validated after shopping or visiting Top of Africa for free parking.
How to get there
Unless it’s a walking tour, many guided tours provide transportation, as well as pickup and drop-off services. However, if you are going on your own, Carlton Centre is best reached by car. You can park in the underground garage located off of Kruis Street. You can also take a hop-on hop-off bus or the regular bus lines 1 C3 and 2 C3 taking the Carlton Center stop.
When to get there
Top of Africa is open regularly throughout the year with shorter opening hours at the weekend. The best time to visit Johannesburg is during the low seasons of March through May and September through November, for a less crowded experience.
Visit the Apartheid Museum
Gain important historical insight and cultural context of South Africa’s Apartheid with a visit to the Apartheid Museum. Lasting from 1948 to 1994, the Apartheid was a significant period of segregation between’s South Africa’s minority whites and native Africans that shaped the country’s political and civic identities.
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