The Castle of Good Hope

The Castle of Good Hope is South Africa's oldest building. Photo courtesy Konrad Glogowski

over 300 years standing

The Castle of Good Hope – the oldest building in South Africa – was once a fort, but today functions as a showcase of the Cape’s early days.

Built by Jan van Riebeeck and the Dutch East India Company, the building, which is an example of a “star fort”, was completed in 1679. The building’s 18th-century décor has been restored and it now functions as a popular museum.

a beach one day, a main road the next

Its position, although unremarkable today, indicates the original position of the shoreline, which, thanks to land reclamation, has been extensively changed. It’s strange to think that the original entrance to the fort had to be moved due to the waves that sometimes pounded against its doors!

The William Fehr Collection, comprising paintings and decorative arts, is housed partly in the Castle of Good Hope museum, and partly in Rust en Vreugd – an historical house and museum in the city centre, +27 (0)21 481 3903.

The pieces of this collection, including furniture, oil paintings and antique china, were collected by businessman William Fehr, then sold or donated to the South African government during the first half of the 20th Century. This collection is considered to be one of the best showcases of the lifestyle and tastes of early settlers in the Cape colony.

how to find it

The castle is conveniently located in the city centre, close to bus and rail stations. It's open seven days a week, except on Christmas Day & New Year's Day. The castle gates open at 9am and close at 4pm, with the last visitors admitted at 3.30pm.

Entry Fee:

  • Adults:  R30
  • Pensioners (SA card holders only): R15
  • Children/Students (5-16yrs):  R15
  • Booked School Groups:  R5

* Prices correct at time of publishing.

things to do

  • Go on a Guided Tour between Monday and Saturday at 11h00, 12h00 and 14h00 (no tours on Sundays).
  • The Key Ceremony is performed Monday to Friday at 10h00 and 12h00, followed by the firing of the Signal Cannon.
  • Book a romantic horse and carriage ride.  Rides take place daily at 10h30, 12h45 and 14h45 and take about an hour.  Sunset rides are also offered. Bookings are essental and can be done via www.ctcco.co.za.

 

fun facts

Five things you didn't know about the Castle of Good Hope.

for regular updates

Castle of Good Hope website

St George’s Cathedral and Groote Kerk

More fondly known as “the people’s cathedral”, St George’s Cathedral in Wale Street represents the Anglican diocese mother church in Cape Town.

City Hall and Grand Parade

Cape Town’s City Hall was built in 1905 in Italian Renaissance style, and is one of the last Victorian-style sandstone structures in the Mother City. Despite showing its age, Cape Town’s iconic City Hall continues to be sought out by urban explorers.

Montebello Craft and Design Centre

The Montebello Design Centre is one of Cape Town’s best-kept secrets. The centre features more than 20 arts and craft studios and workshops, an historic greenhouse and nursery, a forge, stunning restaurant and organic deli farm shop. It’s a non-profit development project aimed at promoting good local craft and design, and generating job creation.

The Castle of Good Hope

The Castle of Good Hope – the oldest building in South Africa – was once a fort, but today functions as a showcase of the Cape’s early days.

Reviews

Jeanette Bosman

21321

Thank you for the information but you are incorrect in saying it was built by Jan Van Riebeeck! He left the Cape for Batavia in 1662 and the next Commander who was Zachariah Wagenaar actually built the Castle starting in 1666.

ntombomsa

43211

wow!thats all can say nw bt all the news and seeing the building 4rm the outsyd it says a lot abt how amazing it actually is insyd.

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