11 Most Unusual Buildings in Africa

You’ve seen the most beautiful buildings in Africa, and the tallest ones, but have you seen the most unusual ones? We’ve searched high and low to find you the most bizarre and remarkable structures throughout the continent. Here are our top picks.

11. Lalibela: Ethiopia

This temple complex of 11 churches has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. You can tell right off the top that these structures are bizarre, but what makes them so unusual? It all comes down to the way they were constructed. Rather than being built on top of the ground, they were dug directly out of it. They are unique in all the world.

10. The Shoe, Ohrigstad, South Africa

The Shoe

The Shoe – Image credit to

The Shoe is sometimes called the “shoe house”. But it is actually a small museum displaying the wood carvings of artist Ron Van Zyl, who constructed it for his wife in 1990. The complex also includes a guest house, restaurant, pool, bar, and campsite.

9. The Big Pineapple, Bathurst, Eastern Cape, South Africa

The Big Pineapple

The Big Pineapple

Another bizarre structure built in the shape of a recognizable object is the Big Pineapple, which you can find in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The giant fruit stands 16.7 meters tall, and is a tribute to the important role that the pineapple fruit plays in the region’s agricultural economy.

“Wait, isn’t this in Australia?” you might ask. If the pineapple looks familiar, that is because there is another one that looks pretty much identical on the Sunshine Coast in South East Queensland. The structure in South Africa is a deliberate copy. Inside there is an auditorium where you can watch a film about the local pineapple industry. There’s also an observation floor presenting beautiful views of the surroundings.

8. Kagga Kamma, Cederberg, South Africa

Kagga Kamma

Kagga Kamma – Image credit to

This is a nature reserve you will find in the Cederberg Mountains. The hotel is quite iconic, featuring rooms built to blend in with the natural environment, melding seamlessly into the rock face. The views are outstanding, and the structure leaves you feeling totally immersed in nature. Note that these are not actual cave rooms, but they do provide a lovely illusion.

7. 15 Alice Lane Towers, Johannesburg, South Africa

15 Alice Lane Towers

15 Alice Lane Towers

Constructed by Paragon Architects, these whimsical skyscrapers feature unusual curved sides and neon outlines. The glass and aluminium façade is futuristic, but has a fanciful look and feel. The two towers are connected by a narrow atrium.

6. Nahemba Tower, Brazzaville, Congo

Nahemba Tower

Nahemba Tower

Here is another towering edifice which is quite unusual. Also referred to as the “Elf Tower,” this office skyscraper has a base which is narrower than the rest of the structure. This gives it a precarious look, like it could topple at any moment.

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