List of tallest buildings in South Africa

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Cape Town, the oldest city in South Africa and an important economic centre.
Johannesburg, the economic capital of South Africa.
Pretoria, executive capital of South Africa.
Johannesburg central business district.
Durban on the Indian Ocean.

South Africa is the most structurally and economically developed nation on the African continent. As such, its major cities have experienced construction booms that most other cities of similar size in Africa have not. Advanced development is significantly localised around four areas: Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, and Pretoria/Johannesburg. Beyond these four economic centres, development is marginal and poverty is still prevalent despite government efforts. Consequently the vast majority of South Africans are poor. However, key marginal areas have experienced rapid growth. Such areas include Mossel Bay to Plettenberg Bay, Rustenburg area, Nelspruit area, Bloemfontein, Cape West Coast, and the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast.

The tallest building under construction is 'Portside' in Cape Town, at 139 m (456 ft) tall. This new development will be the tallest built in South Africa since the end of the apartheid era. Many other construction proposals are on the table such as the possibly supertall "Sandton City Tower 1" which could be between 230 and 310 metres tall. The city of Johannesburg is looking into high density highrise village projects which, if approved, could transform the skyline of Johannesburg in coming years.

Tallest buildings[edit]

This list ranks South African skyscrapers that stand at least 100 m (328 ft) tall, based on standard height measurement. This includes spires and architectural details but does not include antenna masts.

Building Pinnacle Height Floors Year City
Notes
Carlton Centre 223 m (732 ft) 50 1973 Johannesburg Tallest building in South Africa and on the Continent of Africa.
Ponte City Apartments 173 m (568 ft) 54 1975 Johannesburg Tallest residential building in Africa.
Marble Towers 152 m (499 ft) 32 1973 Johannesburg
Pearl Dawn 152 m (499 ft) 31 2010 Umhlanga [1] The tallest building outside a downtown CBD area in South Africa. Part of the Pearls of Umhlanga Development.
South African Reserve Bank Building 150 m (490 ft) 38 1988 Pretoria [2] Tallest building in Pretoria
Metlife Centre 150 m (490 ft) 28 1993 Cape Town [3] The tallest building in Cape Town.
88 on Field 147 m (482 ft) 26 1985 Durban [4] The tallest building in Durban.
KwaDukuza eGoli Hotel Tower 1 140 m (460 ft) 40 1970 Johannesburg [5] Mothballed since 1998.
Michelangelo Towers 140 m (460 ft) 34 2005 Sandton [6] Tallest building in Sandton.
Trust Bank Building 140 m (460 ft) 34 1970 Johannesburg [7]
Standard Bank Centre 139 m (456 ft) 34 1968 Johannesburg [8]
Southern Life Centre 138 m (453 ft) 30 1973 Johannesburg [9]
Mont Blanc 133 m (436 ft) 37 1985 Durban [10]
ABSA Tower Pretoria 132 m (433 ft) 38 1976 Pretoria [11]
Old Mutual Centre 130 m (430 ft) 33 1995 Durban [12]
Pearl Breeze 128 m (420 ft) 25 2010 Umhlanga [13] Part of the Pearls of Umhlanga Development.
UCS Building 128 m (420 ft) 29 1976 Johannesburg [14]
1 Thibault Square 127 m (417 ft) 31 1972 Cape Town [15]
Kine Centre 123 m (404 ft) 27 1974 Johannesburg [16]
Embassy Building 120 m (390 ft) 28 1991 Durban [17]
Atterbury House 119 m (390 ft) 29 1976 Cape Town [18]
Carlton Hotel 119 m (390 ft) 30 1973 Johannesburg [19] Mothballed since 1997
Southern Sun Garden Court Marine Parade 118 m (387 ft) 28 1985 Durban [20] The tallest hotel in operation in South Africa
Southern Sun Court North Beach 118 m (387 ft) 33 1978 Durban [21]
ABSA Centre Cape Town 117 m (384 ft) 33 1970 Cape Town [22]
The Spinnaker 117 m (384 ft) 27 2007 Durban [23]
320 West Street 111 m (364 ft) 30 1973 Durban [24]
Poyntons Centre 110 m (360 ft) 30 1968 Pretoria [25]
Schlesinger Building 110 m (360 ft) 21 1965 Johannesburg [26]
Golden Acre 110 m (360 ft) 28 1979 Cape Town [27]
Protea Hotel Landmark Lodge 110 m (360 ft) 31 1976 Durban [28]
The Parade 110 m (360 ft) 30 1986 Durban [29]
Southern Sun Cape Sun 105 m (344 ft) 32 1982 Cape Town [30]
Highpoint Hillbrow 105 m (344 ft) 25 1972 Johannesburg [31]
Deneys Reitz 100 m (330 ft) 24 2010 Johannesburg [32]

Notable buildings in Johannesburg[edit]

Johannesburg features a variety of commercial and residential buildings, so there are also a few modern buildings such as the KwaDukuza eGoli Hotel and the Trust Bank Building. The Johannesburg-Pretoria combined metropolitan area has the densest concentration of skyscrapers on the continent and one of the densest in the world.


Carlton Centre is a skyscraper and shopping centre located in downtown Johannesburg, South Africa. At 223 metres (730 ft), it is the tallest building in Africa and about half the height of the Willis Tower (the former Sears Tower) in Chicago. It was the tallest building in the southern hemisphere when originally completed. The Carlton Centre has 50 floors, and is 223m tall, about 40m short of featuring in the world's top 100 skyscrapers. The foundations of the two buildings in the complex are 3.5m in diameter and extend 20m down to the bedrock, 30m below street level. The building houses both offices and shops, and has over 46 per cent of the floor area below ground level.[1] A viewing deck on the 50th floor offers views of Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Ponte City is a skyscraper in the Hillbrow neighborhood of Johannesburg, South Africa. It was built in 1975 to a height of 173 m (567.6 ft), making it the tallest residential skyscraper in Africa. The 54-story building is cylindrical, with an open center allowing additional light into the apartments. The center space is known as "the core" and rises above an uneven rock floor. Ponte City was an extremely desirable address for its views over all of Johannesburg and its surroundings. The sign on top of the building is the highest and largest sign in the southern hemisphere.[1] It advertises the South African mobile phone company Vodacom.

Marble Towers is a skyscraper in the Central Business District of Johannesburg, South Africa. It was built in 1973 and is 32 storeys tall. The building has an eight-storey parking garage attached to it. It has the biggest electronic sign in the Southern Hemisphere, measuring 44 metres by 32 metres by 12 metres. It is made out of a mixture of concrete and marble. Its main use is for commercial offices.

KwaDukuza eGoli Hotel is a skyscraper in the Central Business District of Johannesburg, South Africa. The complex, built in 1970 originally as "The Tollman Towers" (owned by the prominent South African family), were two separate towers, one 40 stories and the other 22, linked by a four-story podium with a pool deck and a running track. The building was empty for many years as the hotel, The Johannesburg Sun, relocated to Sandton. The building was then converted to a Holiday Inn, which also quickly failed. The new KwaDukuza eGoli Hotel opened in 2001, when it hosted 3000 police officers for the world summit on sustainable development, it was owned Mark Whitehead of Whitehead Enterprises, then also soon went out of business. The building is "mothballed."

Sandton City is a shopping centre located in Sandton, Johannesburg that was built as pioneer centre in 1973. The tower was built as part of a business park for downtown Sandton, a suburb of Johannesburg. Liberty Properties announced in 2008 that Sandton City would receive a R1.77 billion upgrade. Liberty Properties Chief Executive Samuel Ogbo envisaged the complex as South Africa's very own Wall Street The redevelopment will include the construction of an 60-storey office tower, new retail and office space and residential apartments. The extension will stretch to 30 000 m2 and the total complex will have a gross lettable area of 158 000 m2.

Trust Bank Building is a skyscraper in the Central Business District of Johannesburg, South Africa. It was built in 1970 to a height of 140 metres. The building is the former head office of Trust Bank of South Africa, and as such has one of the largest bank vaults in South Africa. The building was sold in February 2003 for Rand 6.4 million (USD $640.000), which may prompt the name to be changed to that of the new tenant.

11 Diagonal Street is a skyscraper in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was built in 1984 to a height of 80 metres. It is designed to look like a diamond as it reflects different views of the Central Business District from each angle of the building.

Panoramic The central business district of Johannesburg.

Timeline of tallest buildings[edit]

Name City Years as Tallest Metres Feet Floors Photo
Carlton Centre Johannesburg 1973–present 223 H 732 50 CarltonCentreExterior.jpg
KwaDukuza eGoli Hotel Tower 1 Johannesburg 140 459 40 KwaDukuza2.jpg
Trust Bank Building Johannesburg 1970 140 459 34 Trust3.jpg
Standard Bank Centre Johannesburg 1968–1970 138.8 455 34 Joburg top.jpg
Metlife Centre Cape Town 1993 128 420 28 Metropolitin Building (Cape Town).JPG

Tallest under construction, approved and proposed[edit]

This lists skyscrapers that are under construction, approved or proposed in South Africa and planned to rise over 100 m (328 ft) tall, but are not yet completed structures. As of January 2011 there is 1 building under construction and 20 high-rises planned.

Under construction, Approved, and Proposed

Name Height
m / ft
Floors Year City Status Notes
The Throne ~350 m (1,150 ft) ~100 ~2020 Cape Town Vision If built, this will be the tallest building in South Africa.[33]
Sandton City Tower 1 ~290 m (950 ft) 80 ~2020 Sandton Proposed Upon completion, this building would become the tallest residential building in Africa. Part of the Sandton City redevelopment project.[34]
Sandton City Tower 2 ~180 m (590 ft) 50 ~2020 Sandton Proposed [34] Part of the Sandton City redevelopment project.
Mutual Place ~180 m (590 ft) ~41 2015 Sandton Proposed [33]
Portside Tower 139 m (456 ft) 32 2014 Cape Town Under Construction Upon completion, this building will become the tallest in Cape Town. First major skyscraper to be constructed in the post-apartheid era.[35]
Langa Sun Hotel 135 m (443 ft) 32 2016 Durban Proposed [36]

See also[edit]

References[edit]