Looking for some art, culture, and adventure? You must be asking yourself “So where to”? SOWETO is where. The Orlando Towers have become part of Johannesburg's playground fpr extreme adventures.
For an extreme birthday bash, a friend of mine decided to go to the Orlando Towers to cope with his quarter life crisis; of course we could not let him do this alone so about 15 of us got into our cars and took a drive into Soweto. Soweto stands for South Western Township, which is basically its location in relation to the Johannesburg city centre.
Everyone hoping we wouldn’t find the towers were both scared and then elated when it was made clear that no matter how hard you tried not to look, they were staring right at us in the face! Soweto remains a township to this day, however many improvements have been made to the housing situations and services. Needless to say, all the one-storey houses could not hide the huge, high towers.
The towers were once the cooling towers of what is now the abandoned Orlando Power Station (which in itself is worth taking a walk through). The towers are 33-storeys high and based on the structural principle of pick up sticks. They are fully decorated with South Africa’s largest murals. One is specifically advertising a bank (FNB) whilst the other is filled with iconic figures and images that represent the nation. They are truly spectacular.
There is a rope bridge between the two towers where only the brave will attempt the only 100m bungee jump in South Africa. I of course, decided I would rather document and photograph everyone else doing it☺, even that was breathtaking and I screamed for each one of my friends as they launched, jumped, crawled or were pushed over the edge!
You are also able to do a king swing into the towers, abseil down them, rock climb up them, or just go and view the area all the way to the city centre from the viewing deck at the top (unfortunately no cameras allowed up there so these are just ones from the bottom).
After you have finished with your extreme activities, there is a bar and restaurant on the same property offering live music, sports TV, beer, and some of the best pap and chakalaka this side of town! So if you are coming to Johannesburg, come out to Soweto, take a deep breath, and throw yourself into the culture around you!