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July 02, 2012

Discover the history of Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront with Oom Willem Steenkamp

The impressive and wise Willem Steenkamp shares his love of history with eager listeners each day on the Chavonnes Battery Museum Historical Walking Tour. Photo © Cape Town Tourism

The V&A Hotel was a mail warehouse, the Breakwater Lodge was a prison and the Hildebrand Restaurant was the Port Master’s offices… sound like fiction? Well, it’s true and you can learn about that, and more, during the V&A Waterfront’s historical tour.

Lead by Willem Steenkamp, the walking tour departs daily from the Chavonnes Battery Museum in the Clock Tower Precinct, offering new insights into the Mother City’s premier shopping destination at the sea side.

Oom Willem, as I’ve come to call him, brings to life the historical significance of the buildings, posts and other mementos in and around the working Table Bay Harbour with a steady soliloquy of facts and jokes. At just R50 per person, this 45-minute meander is well worth the cost and not a bad way of jogging your primary school history lesson memories.

A celebrated author and retired journalist, Oom Willem recently released his latest novel Assegais, Drums and Dragoons.

I sat down for a chat with him to talk about his love of history, why he adores Cape Town and why the Castle of Good Hope is his favourite place in Cape Town.

For more information and tour bookings, call the Chavonnes Battery Museum on +27 21 416 6230 or visit www.chavonnesmuseum.co.za.

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