Chavonnes Battery Museum

Chavonnes Battery Museum, photo courtesy Craig Wilson.

The Chavonnes Battery is a Visitor Attraction about the early History of Cape Town,
• It includes a Heritage site / museum,
• We host Contemporary International Art exhibitions,
• We offer guided tours of the museum,
• and the official V&A Waterfront Historical Walking Tour,
• The exquisite site is suited to presentations and "Old Cape" themed dinners,
• guests have the opportunity to fire an original 18th century Muzzle Loaded Cannon. (Under supervision of the Cannon Association of SA)
It is the only place that you can touch the sand of the original Cape Town shoreline that has been buried for 300 years, the sand Jan Van Riebeeck walked on and all our guides dress in period costume of a 17th century VOC soldier.

Built in 1724, the first in a range of coastal defence to deter sea-borne aggressors and named after the Governor, its stable firing platform with 16 large cannons enabled gunners to bring accurate fire to bear on hostile ships from its perch as watchdog of the bay.

The Chavonnes Battery was partially demolished in 1860 its stone reused for the Alfred Basin and the Clock Tower was built as its new sentinel. In 1999, the Chavonnes Battery was re-discovered, excavated and conserved in a spectacular example of architectural ingenuity.

Our visitors particularly enjoy:
• The spectacular layout and design of the Heritage Site/museum,
• engaging with knowledgeable staff and tour guides from local communities,
• the thought provoking International Contemporary Art on exhibition,
• the comfortable seating and reading nooks, the hats and taking photos,
• and how insightful they found the experience (click for Trip Advisor Reviews)
Visitors are invited to don an 18th Century tricorn hat and step below sea-level for a fascinating and informative perspective of the 17th and 18th Century Cape Town. Graphic information boards in Afrikaans, English and Xhosa tells the story, displays show the results of the excavation work, including a well. Detailed models depict the battery in 1726, and a bird’s-eye view of Cape Town and Table Bay about 70 years later. One of the most popular sections is the gunnery display, a mixture of genuine artefacts, careful replicas and some of the best models to be found anywhere in South Africa. We have the largest selection of Muzzle-Loaded Cannon in SA and one of the few sites where they are fired off.

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) is the first major museum in Africa dedicated to contemporary art due to open in the old Grain Silo at V&A Waterfront. This partnership allows the Chavonnes Battery to act as a site for contemporary artists to create evocative engagements with site, space and time.

The Chavonnes Battery is open 7 days a week from 9 am to 4 pm. The average walk through lasts 30-40 min with ample seating and reading material for longer visits.

The Museum Guided Tour lasts approximately 1 hour and is available daily. Group and School Tours are available on request (up to 60 pax).

The official V&A Waterfront Historical Walking Tour lasts for 2 hours available daily at 11 am and 2 pm (Booking available on Viator)

Our guides dressed in period costume share stories of the people and events that led to the birth of Cape Town on the museum tour and The V&A Waterfront Historical Walking Tour which includes points of interest and fascinating historical relics of the early days such as the first power station, the last boom defence vessel and those added later as the docks developed, such as the torture Treadmill, still to be seen, if you let us show you. Experienced guides are shadowed by trainee Tourist Guides giving them the opportunity to practice their skills.

The Chavonnes Battery is a thriving learning organisation that provides the opportunity for personal development, work experience, exposure to the tourism industry and Tourist Guide training for interns and graduates in Tourism Management with the aim of assisting them to secure employment after.

We are committed to working with passion and pride to deliver a world class experience of the History of Cape Town and all our income and profit is invested in our social goals (youth development)


Tel: 021 416 6230

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