The Tallest Buildings in South Africa

Johannesburg is home to some of the tallest buildings in South Africa.
Johannesburg is home to some of the tallest buildings in South Africa.

South Africa is one of the economically and structurally developed countries in Africa. Its major cities such as Cape Town and Johannesburg have undergone periods of construction booms than most of the African cities. South Africa’s major buildings are also centered around other economic centers including Durban, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, and Pretoria. 50 of South Africa’s high-rise buildings are at least 328 feet tall. Durban has the highest number of skyscrapers (18) over 100 meters in height followed by Johannesburg and Cape Town with 13 and 19 buildings respectively. Here are some of South Africa’s tallest skyscrapers.

Four Tallest Buildings

Carlton Centre

Carlton Centre is not only the tallest building in South Africa but also in the entire continent of Africa. It has been Africa’s tallest building since 1973. Situated in downtown Johannesburg, the 732-foot tall skyscraper has 50 floors and a floor area of 811,110 square feet and is mainly used as a shopping center. Its construction began in the late 1960s following the demolition of the old Carlton Hotel. Although the construction work was completed in 1974, the occupation of Carlton Centre began as early as 1971. The topmost floor of the building is popularly known as “top of Africa.”

Ponte City Apartments

Ponte City is the second tallest skyscraper in South Africa and the tallest residential building in Africa at 568 feet. It is situated the neighborhood of Berea next to Hillbrow, Johannesburg. Ponte City Apartments is cylindrical and has 55 floors. The center, known as the “core” is opened to allow additional light and rises above an even floor. The building was designed by Mannie Feldman and its construction was completed in 1975. In the 1980s and 1990s, Ponte was known as a crime den. The owners abandoned the building to decay. It underwent revitalization from 2007 but the process was not completed due to lack of funds.

Marble Towers

Marble Towers is the third-tallest skyscraper in South Africa at 499 feet. Situated on the corner of Von Wielligh and Jeppe Streets, Johannesburg, the building has 32 floors and 8 of which are a parking garage. Marble Towers was constructed in 1973 with its structure made of concrete and marble. It was initially known as the Sanlam Center. Marble Towers has mainly the commercial offices.

South African Reserve Bank Building

South African Reserve Bank Building is the tallest skyscraper in Pretoria at 499 feet. The building has 40 floors; 38 floors above the ground and two floors underground. As the name suggests, the building hosts South African Reserve Bank which is the central bank of South Africa. Its construction began in 1986 and was completed in 1988. There is an open square in front of the building decorated with terraces and fountains.

Other Notable Skyscrapers in South Africa

Although the above buildings are the four tallest skyscrapers in South Africa, there are other skyscrapers notable for their popularity and design. At the top of the list is the KwaDukuza eGoli Hotel, a 460-foot tall building, which was originally two separate towers of 40 and 22 floors but were linked by a podium with running truck and pool deck. Trust Bank Building which rises to a height of 460 feet has one of the largest vaults in the country. Finally, the Sandton City Office Tower was topped out in 2014 and is currently 6th tallest building in South Africa at 463 feet.

The Tallest Buildings in South Africa

RankNameCityHeight (m)Height (ft)FloorsBuilt
1Carlton CentreJohannesburg223732501973
2Ponte City ApartmentsJohannesburg173568541975
3Marble TowersJohannesburg152499321973
4South African Reserve Bank BuildingPretoria150490381988
588 on FieldDurban146479261985
6Sandton City Office TowerSandton141463221973
7Michelangelo TowersSandton140460342005
8KwaDukuza eGoli Hotel Tower 1Johannesburg140460401970
9Trust Bank BuildingJohannesburg140460311970
10Portside TowerCape Town139456322014
11Standard Bank CentreJohannesburg139456341968
12Southern Life CentreJohannesburg138453301973
13Monte BlancDurban133436401985
14ABSA Tower PretoriaPretoria132433381976
15Old Mutual CentreDurban130430331995
16UCS BuildingJohannesburg128420291976
171 Thibault SquareCape Town127417311972
18The SpinnakerDurban124407272007
19Kine CentreJohannesburg123404271974
20Embassy BuildingDurban120390281991

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