Visit Roof of Africa on City Sightseeing bus

The Carlton Centre, the tallest skyscraper in Africa and known as the roof of Africa, stands 223 m tall and offers incredible 360 degree views of Johannesburg from its observation deck on the 50th floor.

In its heyday the Carlton Centre was a city block of absolute opulence, housing boutiques and upmarket shops. Next door to the Carlton Centre was the Carlton Hotel which was THE hotel in its day and has seen many a famous person pass through its doors. The centre also used to house the Skyrink which was an indoor ice rink 19 floors up.

Nowadays many people may mistakenly think that the Carlton Centre has passed its prime – but this is not true!  It is now a lively mall consisting of most of the major chain stores and boutiques that are doing extremely brisk trade.  However shopping is not the main reason to visit the Carlton Centre – the views from the 50th floor are a must-see experience for all ages.

A picnic with a view like no other

Although there is a restaurant on the top floor of the Carlton Centre, visitors are also absolutely welcome to bring their own food and drinks to enjoy a picnic with a view over all of Jozi.  The kids will love the experience of riding the elevator to the 50th floor to savour the views and their favourite picnic goodies!

Couple this experience with a trip on the City Sightseeing bus

The red open topped double decker City Sightseeing bus runs along an exciting route through the Joburg CBD and one of the stops along the route is the Carlton Centre – stop number 3 of 12 unique stops that make up the Red City Tour.  Here a City Sightseeing marshal will escort you to the top floor and answer all your questions about this famous landmark building.

The buses operate on the famous hop-on, hop-off concept meaning you can climb off at any of the stops, explore to your heart’s content and then hop back onto a later bus (buses run every 40 minutes in the week and every 30 minutes over weekends and during the December school holidays) to continue the tour and return to your starting point.

You can start your tour from any of the stops along the route, however a recommended itinerary (and something that adds to the excitement of the experience – especially for the kids) is to park your car at the Sandton, Rosebank or Marlboro Gautrain stations, ride the train to Park Station where you can then board the City Sightseeing bus (bus stop 1) which will take you to the Carlton Centre for your sky high picnic.   Until the 15th of January, parking for anyone who does a round trip on the Gautrain will only cost R1 per day – provided that you exit the parking within 1 hour of your return train trip, failing which standard parking rates will apply for your full parking period.

With the City Sightseeing bus you can enjoy a safe, fun and unique tour of Joburg, with an informative onboard commentary that paints the picture behind the sights. This commentary is available in English, Afrikaans, Zulu, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, as well as a special Kids Channel. There is also free Wi-Fi on board all the buses for those that like to stay connected.  Sitting on the top deck of the open top bus one gets a birds eye view that allows you to experience an entirely different perspective to Joburg – much like the views from the Carlton Centre.

  • For detailed information on the City Sightseeing Joburg and Soweto tour options, the times, costs and stops along the route visit the website on or contact 0861 733 287. You can also purchase discounted tickets online.

Author: Muzi Mohale

Hi there, am your host and I blog about the tourism industry in South Africa. You're also welcome to contribute your expert content on matters affecting the industry. You can reach me on muzi[at]

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