Castle Military Museum

Photo courtesy Angela GS

The Castle Military Museum is housed in the oldest building in South Africa, the Castle of Good Hope, which was declared a national monument in 1936.

The Castle Military Museum is a tribute to the brave regiments of the past, providing an insight into the political history of the country and celebrating the rich military history of the Cape. Then-minister of defence Joe Modise officially opened the Castle Military Museum on August 1, 1995.

It was originally intended that the major portion of the museum’s displays would be of naval interest, but on July 1, 1992 Ian Greeff became the curator of the Castle Military Museum, and it was decided that the theme of the museum would be Cape military history.

The Castle itself was built between 1666 and 1679 as a replenishment service station for the Dutch East India Company, but developed into a military and civilian post. This was because it was built on the water’s edge, before the sea receded.

The Waterpoort was located in the wall between Buuren and Catzenellenbogen bastions, two of the five constructed bastions of the Castle of Good Hope. Access to the Castle was impossible at high or spring tide, making it a formidable fort. This provided a seemingly impenetrable defence haven from perceived threats from locals and other colonialists. Today the Waterpoort is the entrance to the Castle Military Museum.
Visitor highlights include the museum’s sword collection, arguably the most impressive in the country; a gift/curio shop of Castle-related merchandise; exhibits on the military involvement of the Khoi, Portuguese, Dutch and English from the 16th to the 19th centuries; and Cape Regimental, Anglo-Boer War and Eastern Cape Frontier War displays. The museum also plays host to the annual Cape Town Military Tattoo.

Guided tours of the Castle, including the museum, are conducted daily.

Leerdam, one of the five points of the Castle. Photo courtesy OregonTrekker

The Castle is the oldest building in South Africa. Photo courtesy Mikecogh

  • Phone: +27 (0)21 469 1153
  • Alt Phone: +27 (0)21 469 1089
  • Email:
  • Physical Address: Castle Military Museum,
    PO Box 1,
    The Castle,
    Cape Town,
    7700 ,
    South Africa

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