Last week I got an incredible opportunity to visit the Sentech Tower, a.k.a. the Brixton Tower.
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.
View of downtown Joburg from the west. In the foreground is Milpark (the old gas works is on the far left), Fietas, and Wits University.
The Carlton Centre, the tallest building in Africa. Sadly Joburg’s cloudless winter skies are setting in, along with the afternoon smog.
A 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.
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.
Best blog ever, on a South Africa city. 🙂
Sadly cloudless skies, winter? Try London for a few weeks. 🙂 lol. They don’t even have sky in winter. Smog, I didn’t know, I stayed up north all the time.
Winter sunsets…a good place would be the Botanical Gardens, Roodepoort side. At one time, we stayed at Radiokop (1-2km from Northgate/Sundome,) it was not yet so developed, there was not much after our complex,…plenty of horizon, looking towards Sentech towers or something. Most awesome sunsets.
Haha, I know. I always say, you know you’re a true Joburger once you start complaining about the near-perfect weather here 😂
Wow what a treat for you and for us with you sharing such beautiful photos. Thank you Heather!
Is the Sentech tower on a hill? It seems like you’re looking down on the Hillbrow tower…
Yeah, the elevation is definitely higher to the west of the city.
Yip looks very much like the Jewish section. I’m very envious of this invitation of yours. Hopefully we will all get an opportunity to go up one of them or both soon.
I hope so too!
Thanks for the great photos and info on the Sentech tower Heather. Really interesting. And I agree about the winter smog, it is definitely creeping in.
Glad you enjoyed it Andy. Yep, winter is coming (sob). Hope to see you soon.
Heather, I think it would have been awesome to see Joburg from the Sentech Tower, thank you once again for letting me see these wonderfull pics of Joburg, I really admire what you are doing, and for your blog! Appreciation!
The pleasure is all mine 🙂
I remember visiting both the Brixton and Hillbrow towers as a child…and the views from both towers was awesome.I still remember the rotating restaurant in the Hillbrow tower…Heinrichs.Wish they would open again to the public some day.