South Africa is a vibrant city made up of nine provinces. It is the only country in the world that features three capital cities. Aside from having three capitals, the country also has 11 different official languages. Often referred to as the rainbow nation, the country has had its fair share of tribulations leading up to this point. As you make your way to the Cape, you will find the southernmost tip of Africa at Cape Point as well as a place where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian Ocean. The story and history of the country are often represented through its monuments and buildings. In this article, we will explore some of the best famous buildings in South Africa. Read on!
1. on Field, Durban
On the east coast of South Africa, you will find sunny Durban. This coastal city features a tropical climate with abundant vegetation and moderate temperatures. As you make your way to the city center, you will see 88 on Field. This building was constructed in 1985 and features 26 floors. It is the tallest structure in the city! Designer Helmut Jahn has made it easy for visitors to reach the top—by utilizing one of the eight elevators on-site. This glass skyscraper boasts a height of 147 meters (482 ft) and is mainly used as an office and retail space.
88 on Field
Address: Durban Central, Durban
2. Iziko South African Museum, Cape Town
Iziko South African Museum is a vital part of South Africa’s history as it is the first museum of its kind to have been built in the country. The museum is located at Company’s Garden in Cape Town—also known as the mother city. Iziko South African Museum was established in 1825, and visitors can expect to find collections on zoology, African artifacts, and archaeological finds here. Although indeed it is especially popular among students and scholars, the museum is open to everyone.
Iziko South African Museum
Address: 25 Queen Victoria St, Gardens, Cape Town
Website: Iziko South African Museum
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 2 USD
3. Marble Towers, Johannesburg
Over the years, Johannesburg CBD has gained a bad reputation for being one of the most dangerous places in the world. However, in the last couple of years, many have seen the city making changes. These efforts are aimed at boosting the economy and tourism—to make Johannesburg an investment-friendly location again. To attract visitors back in town, one of the things the city council came up with is the restoration of its buildings, thus making the district beautiful again. If you happen to find yourself in South Africa for a few days, make sure to visit places like Maboneng and pass by some of the iconic buildings that form the city’s skyline. Marble Towers is located in the heart of Johannesburg. It is an iconic eight-story building constructed in 1973. You can easily identify the building through its rectangular structure and the billboards on its crown.
Address: Von Wielligh St, CBD, Johannesburg
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
4. The Palace of the Lost City, Rustenburg
The Palace of the Lost City is one of the most luxurious hotels in South Africa. It is located within Sun City Resort and Casino. You will find this stunning palatial property fit for a queen. It is located 12 km (7.5 miles) from the airport and overlooks the stunning Pilanesburg Game Reserve, where you can find the Big Five—the Cape buffalo, elephant, rhinoceros, lion, and leopard. This place features an outdoor swimming pool as well as two state-of-the-art spas. Guests staying at the Palace receive complimentary breakfast and free access to Valley of Waves.
The Palace of the Lost City
Address: Sun City, Rustenburg
Website: The Palace of the Lost City
Built in the 17th century in Cape Town, Castle of Good Hope is South Africa’s oldest fort. This iconic attraction is a popular tourist destination and plays a significant role in the country’s history. Inside, visitors can find a military museum and Cape Town Highlanders Regiment. Daily tours of the fort and castle are offered, and there is a small fee to pay for the upkeep and preservation of this historical site.
Cape Town: Castle of Good Hope Entrance Ticket
Duration: 1 day
6. Fort Klapperkop Comms Tower, Pretoria
Fort Klapperkop Comms Tower is a heritage site in Pretoria dating back to the 1800s. The fort was later restored and is home to some of the country’s historic artifacts. Some of the things you can expect to see here include Anglo-Boer War exhibitions and some of the weapons used by both the Dutch and the English during their quest to take over the country.
Fort Klapperkop Comms Tower
Address: Johann Rissik Dr, Pretoria
Website: Fort Klapperkop Comms Tower
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 5pm (closed on Mon)
7. Ponte City Apartments, Johannesburg
Not including Ponte City Apartments in the list of iconic buildings in South Africa would be doing the city of Johannesburg an injustice. When you look at the Johannesburg skyline, this is one of the first buildings you’ll see—located right in the heart of downtown. The cylindrical structure consists of hundreds of apartments overlooking the city and is home to many residents.
Ponte City Apartments
Address: Berea, Johannesburg
8. Cape Town City Hall
Cape Town City Hall is a historic landmark in Cape Town’s city center dating back to 1905. The building, which is mainly used for events by the people of the capital, features classic Edwardian architecture. It plays a vital role in South African history as it was the site where the late president Nelson Mandela made his first speech after his release from prison.
Cape Town City Hall
Address: Darling St, CBD, Cape Town
Website: Cape Town City Hall
Opening hours: Mon: 24 hours; Tue - Fri: 7:45am - 3pm (closed on Sat - Sun)
9. Union Buildings, Pretoria
When you think of South African history and politics, it’s hard not to imagine the architecturally pleasing Union Buildings—boasting manicured gardens and the statue of one of the nation’s most important fathers and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Nelson Mandela. One look and you’ll be impressed by the space. Union Buildings play an important role for most South Africans as this is the official seat of parliament in the country. This is where people come to make bold statements, yet it’s also a place of peace and calm. Visitors are welcome to enjoy the gardens, mainly popular for wedding photography and intimate picnics.
Address: Government Ave, Pretoria
Website: Union Buildings
South Africa is a country that overcame one of the most significant crimes against humanity. Apartheid saw the country in a state of chaos, where people were being discriminated against for the color of their skin. The year 1994 saw the country’s first taste of freedom, and the nation’s first black president was elected in a democratic vote. One of the most visited attractions in Johannesburg is Apartheid Museum. Here visitors are given a brief glimpse into the country’s 20th-century history.
Johannesburg: Half-Day Apartheid Museum Tour
Duration: 5 hour
Marvel at the beautiful structures in South Africa
Make your South African experience a memorable one and include visiting these iconic and historic buildings in your itinerary. These structures are significant to the country as they serve as both memories of the past and heralds to a brighter future. Don’t forget to bring your camera to document your adventures!
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