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Posted on: Friday, 12 April 2013

The Adventure of the Orlando Towers

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The Orlando Towers

The Orlando Towers

The Orlando Towers are hard to miss, as their colourfully painted heights stand tall over Soweto. These were built as two cooling towers for the Orlando Power Station, which is no longer in operation. One of the towers is famous for having the largest mural painting in the country, while the other’s artwork serves as advertising (currently for First National Bank).

While these towers were operational for some 50 years, they now serve a completely different function. The Orlando Towers are now the heart of adrenalin-pumping fun in Johannesburg, Gauteng. Locals and visitors that crave racing hearts and stomach lurching leaps should explore the many adventure activities of these famous towers.

Bungee Jumping

Jump from a platform that is suspended between the two towers, accessed from a suspension bridge. The bungee jump is 100 metres high, and there are experienced technicians that prepare each jumper for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Get to the top

Get to the top

Abseiling

Every Saturday, abseiling is available. You will be taken up by the open-air lift to just below the top ledge of the tower. Then, you will walk on the suspended floating stairway to the point at which you can begin your exciting descent down 100 metres of concrete tower. Due to the shape of the tower, the first 40 metres of the descent do not allow contact with the tower at all.

The Viewing Platform

The 360-degree views of the historical township of Soweto are absolutely breath-taking from the floating platform between the two towers. Although there is no climbing or jumping, all visitors are required to be fully harnessed and prepped.

Power Swing!

Power Swing!

Power Swinging

Ascend the towers in an open-air lift and then walk onto the suspension bridge to a point between the two towers. You will be harnessed and briefed before leaping out into the air to swing freely from 33 storeys up. The free-fall is 40 metres long, after which you will be pulled up and swung in a pendulum style.

Base Jumping

Because the towers are only 100 metres high, jumping off them with only a parachute is more dangerous than base jumping from much higher structures. Therefore, specialised parachutes are used. Whether you have your own equipment or want to make use of the available parachutes, you are welcome to base jump at Orlando Towers.

Soweto Cycle Tour

Soweto Cycle Tour

Rap Jumping

This activity is only held at certain rap jumping events, but is well worth it if and when it is available. A rap jump takes you 100 metres into the west tower, which is a rather different experience to jumping outside, into the light and fresh air.

In addition to these really exciting (if heart-stopping) adventures, there is also paint-balling, which takes place at the base of the FNB tower. This offers plenty of obstacles and good covers.

The Orlando Towers group also arranges packages that combine a cycle tour through the fascinating hub of Soweto and a bungee jump or power swing. The tour takes about 90 minutes to complete, and includes a lunch, and a refreshing drink at a local shebeen (a traditional pub). Finishing this off with an adrenalin-inducing leap will ensure that you never forget your Gauteng experience.

Useful Links:
Gauteng Accommodation
Gauteng Hotels
South Africa Accommodation

 

Amelia Meyer

About 

Amelia is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for all things travel-related. She is based in Knysna, but has studied, lived and travelled further afield. She studied Film, Media and Literature at the University of Cape Town. She began her solo career in the form of Voxate Writing & Editing in 2008 and loves every minute of it. Amelia believes in silver linings, lessons learnt and the responsibility to do what’s right. When she is not writing, she can frequently be found at the local animal shelter, on the bicycle trails of the nature reserves or sampling new restaurants with her family.

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