Sunrise Photo Orgy at the Tippy-Top of Africa

Last weekend I was invited for a sunrise photoshoot at the top of the Carlton Centre, the tallest building in Africa, as part of a social media campaign for Volvo. I’ve been to the viewing deck at the top of the Carlton Centre many times before but never at sunrise. The Carlton viewing deck, called the Top of Africa, is normally closed at that time.

Carlton before sunrise

A driver picked me up from my house in a fancy Volvo at about 5:30 a.m. We actually arrived quite a while before sunrise — thank goodness the sun rises late at this time of year. This was the first picture I took when I arrived, looking out the west-facing window of the viewing deck.

Carlton through windows

Pre-sunrise view through the dirty northeast-facing window of the Top of Africa.

But there’s more. Not only were we allowed into the Carlton Centre viewing deck before sunrise, but we were also allowed up onto the Carlton Centre’s roof. We went to the TOP of the Top of Africa. Like, the tippy top.

Carlton from roof

On top of the Top of Africa. As you can see, there are railings around the roof but we weren’t allowed to walk to the actual edge. (Although we all really, really wanted to.) So I fought to keep these railings out of my shots.

I took a ton of pictures that I want to share so I’m just going to spit them all out in an orgy of Tippy-Top-of-Africa photo-sharing. Here we go:

Carlton dishes sunrise

I found the multitude of satellite dishes nearly as beautiful as the sunrise views themselves. I wasn’t alone, either; if you log onto Instagram and search for #VolvoNewDawn, you’ll find lots of satellite dish shots.

Carlton gramming

I shot this right as we got onto the roof, before the Safety Nazis got wise to our ways and began ordering us away from the railings. Dear Safety Nazis: I know you were just doing your jobs and I harbor no hard feelings toward you. Likewise, I hope you harbor no hard feelings toward my fellow Instagrammers and me for repeatedly disobeying your well-intended but incredibly frustrating safety regulations. All is fair in love and war when you’re on the Tippy-Top of Africa.

Hillbrow before sunrise

I somehow managed to avoid the railings in this shot, either by standing on a small step on my tip-toes or by disobeying the orders of the Safety Nazis.

Carlton sunrise

Sunrise selfie orgy. You can see one of the Safety Nazis on the far left.

Carlton Sentech

View to the northwest, toward Melville and the Brixton Tower.

Carlton dishes

Post-sunrise satellite dishes.

Hillbrow Tower after sunrise

Shot while evading the Safety Nazis.

Jozi buildings at sunrise

Same as above.

By 7:00 a.m., the Tippy-Top-of-Africa photo orgy drew to a close and we went back down to the viewing deck for a delicious breakfast.

Carlton to the West post-sunrise

Dirty windows aside, I almost prefer this view to the view from the roof. Perhaps because the Safety Nazis didn’t object to me pressing my camera right up against the glass. 

Thanks so much to Volvo for the amazing photo-ops. Let’s do it again sometime.

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4 Comments

  • Reply all-TIM-ate May 15, 2015 at 1:49 am

    Incredible. These views never get old.

  • Reply Sine May 15, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    How cool! I never made it up there (can you believe it?) so when my son went on a class trip, I pressed our small Canon in his hands and made him come back with plenty of pictures. I have a great shot almost as nice as your last picture, taken through the glass, that I absolutely love.

    And oh, by the way, I DID make it to the Top of Africa, on second thought. Or, rather the ROOF, which is WAY higher than the Carlton Centre:-)

    • Reply 2summers May 20, 2015 at 12:43 pm

      Hahaha. Yes, your Top of Africa was much higher 🙂

  • Reply Vincent May 19, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Stunning shots!! It must have been an amazing experience!!!

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