Parliament Buildings

Statue of Queen Victoria in front of the Parliament Buildings. Photo courtesy Ian Junor

The Parliament Buildings
South Africa has a fascinating political history that has captured the world’s attention for generations.  Not only in recent times, but historically too, this much-prized piece of the “Dark Continent” has been a place of great political significance.  Home to South African Politics is just adjacent to the Company Gardens at the top of Adderly Street, in the Parliament Buildings.

President for a day
Exquisitely manicured gardens and wonderfully maintained buildings so rich in history can be visited by taking a formal tour of the facility.  The tours, which are free, include a video presentation and a guided walk exploring the history, the functions and workings of Parliament.   One is also able to attend a public hearing or committee meeting should they be in session and observe debates in the National Assembly.

Tour details
The tours are on offer from Monday to Friday between 9h00 and 12h00, excluding public holidays and last about an hour.  Tours should be reserved a week in advance, but if you are on a tight time schedule there is no harm in trying your luck for a short-notice slot.  Once your reservation is secured, be sure to arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled start to sort out all the formalities and don’t forget to bring your passport along as identification.  The tours begin from 100 Plein Street and you are advised to leave all bulky bags at your hotel. 

Photo by Craig Howes

Art lovers dream
One of the many treats of a visit to Parliament is the opportunity that one is presented with to view an oft-refreshed array of wonderful South African art, all drawn from a national art archive and displayed on the walls in an expertly curated fashion.  The collection is a spectacular one, and adds wonderfully to the delightfully colonial aesthetic of the building’s interior.

In the mix
Other attractions in the area worth visiting include the Iziko South African Museum, the South African National Gallery, the Company Gardens, the Slave Lodge Museum and St Georges Cathedral

Contact details…
Tel:  +27(0)21 403 2911
Address: 100 Plein Street, Cape Town

De Tuynhuys, which is now a heritage site, is where then president FW De Klerk announced the end of apartheid. Photo courtey of Clive Reid

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