Last week I got an incredible opportunity to visit the Sentech Tower, a.k.a. the Brixton Tower.

Sentech Tower at sunset
A picture I took a few years ago of the Sentech Tower at sunset.

While not as tall as the Hillbrow Tower, which is 269 meters (883 feet) high and the tallest structure in Africa, the Sentech Tower is still massive at 237 meters (778 feet). Also, the Sentech Tower is closed to the public and virtually no one gets to go inside. So this was a lucky break.

The Sentech Tower was built in 1961 to broadcast radio stations, and later TV stations. It used to have a viewing deck open to the public, but it closed in 1982 due to apartheid paranoia. Same goes for the Hillbrow Tower, which used to have a revolving restaurant at the top. Joburgers live in hope that the towers will both reopen someday.

Anyway, visiting the Sentech Tower was cool. I got to see the radio broadcasting equipment on the bottom floor, then took the remarkably fast elevator to the top, and even checked out the hollow inside of the tower on one of the middle floors, with nothing inside it but an elevator shaft.

Since the Sentech Tower is a bit outside of town, it offers a perspective on Joburg that we don’t get to see from the top of the city’s other tall buildings.

I’m not allowed to post any pictures of the inside of the tower (that paranoia continues into the present day), but here are a few shots of the city through the windows on the viewing deck.

Skyline from the Sentech TowerView of downtown Joburg from the west. In the foreground is Milpark (the old gas works is on the far left), Fietas, and Wits University.

Carlton Centre from the Sentech TowerThe Carlton Centre, the tallest building in Africa. Sadly Joburg’s cloudless winter skies are setting in, along with the afternoon smog.

Braamfontein cemetery from aboveA section of Brixton Cemetery — I think it’s the Jewish section but someone please correct me if I’m wrong. It looks crazy from above.

 Hillbrow Tower from Sentech Tower
Hillbrow Tower again.

Thanks to the person who helped me get into the tower. He doesn’t want to be named but I really do appreciate the invitation. And here’s hoping I get to go up again someday when people are actually allowed in.

Sentech Tower view

Read more about the Sentech Tower.

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