The Castle of Good Hope
If walls could talk, this historic building would have lots to tell.
The star-shaped bastion fort is the oldest building in South Africa. It was built between 1666 and 1679, by soldiers, volunteers, slaves and Khoi people who were punished there.
It wasn't the first fort to be built in the Cape. The first was built in the vicinity of the Grand Parade by Jan van Riebeeck, but its clay walls fell apart. After Van Riebeeck left the Cape, Zacharias Wagenaer laid the foundation of the Castle, fearing an attack from the British.
Part of the building was used as a prison during the 2nd Boer War and to this day, the cell still remains open for viewing.
Today, the Castle of Good Hope is considered the most preserved form of Dutch East India Company architecture and it is positioned to become the Cape's next Unesco world heritage site. It is already a provincial heritage site.
The Castle has become a popular tourist destination and is frequently used as a venue for events, markets and exhibitions. It is also one of the stops for the spooky ghost tours in Cape Town.
In fact, those who work late at night, previously claimed that they still heard blood-curdling screams .
The building holds many fascinating stories.
To hear these stories and experience a piece of the Cape's rich history, book a private cultural tour.
Things to do at Cape Town's Castle of Good Hope:
- Visit the military museum and learn about the British colonisation. Also, see what the natives looked like and see the battles they faced in the 1500s and 1600s
- Walk through a passage leading to the gunpowder storage room, which was too close to the ocean and needed to be rebuilt several times because it was washed away several times.
- A must see at the is the prison cells where captured slaves were kept for committing petty crimes and held for weeks before being sent to Robben Island.
- The torture chamber is still kept in its original state with chains and a table to mark the amount of lashes dished out.
- The dolphin pool at the governor's quarters has a magnificent design which displays an amazing view of its restaurant and the dolphin sculpture.
- Grab a bite at the petite coffee shop to see the beautiful Egyptian gees and their offspring.
- Get a free guided tour of the Castle of Good Hope every hour on the hour.
- The demonstration of the cannon is held every morning at 10am
Parking at Cape Town's Castle:
Parking facilities are available at the front and side entrances of the castle. There are also parking facilities opposite the Castle at the Grand Parade.
Castle of Good Hope, interesting information
- In 1936 the Castle was declared a historical monument, in 1969 it become a national monument.
- The Castles first entrance was so close to the sea that waves often swamped it.
- In 1695 a wall was built known as the "Kat" with a beautiful balcony across the court yard, this was for extra defense in the event of an attack to further protect the citizens.
- For over a century all-important decisions were made at this fort.
- Part of the Castle was used as a prison during the 2nd Boer War in 1899-1902.