Heritage & History

Experience the city’s rich history and cultural heritage through its fusion of past and present.

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South Africans will be doing their part for Nelson Mandela International Day (Mandela Day) on 18 July and contributing 67 minutes of their time to community service in a bid to give back to society. City Sightseeing, the company that runs the iconic red double decker buses in Cape Town and Johannesburg, will be doing its bit through an innovative…

Tweede Nuwe Jaar, which literally means “Second New Year”, is rooted in the slave history of Cape Town. Slaves were only allowed a single day off work a year, and they used the opportunity to celebrate. Tweede Nuwe Jaar happens on the 2nd of January each year and is one of the biggest events in the city. Performers, known as the…

Cape Town is a melting pot of culture, and one of the most important groups to shape the city’s history is commonly referred to as the Cape Malay. It’s a contentious name—people both inside and outside the community have objected to the term’s inaccuracy, and to the fact that it really originated as a term used to racially classify people…

South Africa has a vast and impressive literary history spanning generations and producing such talent as Commonwealth Writer’s Prize winner, Zakes Mda, as well as Nobel Prize winners, J.M. Coetzee and Nadine Gordimer. But our literary heritage doesn’t stop there. There are lauded poets, such as Mongane Wally Serote and Afrikaan icon Breyten Breytenbach. Multi-talented authors like Sol Plaatje who,…

A Cape Town landmark, the Castle of Good Hope, is a prime example of a “star fort”. Built between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company, it’s the oldest existing colonial building in South Africa. Its position marks the original shoreline before years of land reclamation changed the Table Bay coastline. The Castle of Good Hope from…

Many attractions in Cape Town offer visitors the chance to learn about the city’s history, as well as experience it. There are many attractions in Cape Town that showcase the city’s rich natural and cultural roots, with many of these not only offering information about the city’s past and present, but also the opportunity to experience it. Here’s a look…

South Africa has 11 official languages and their corresponding cultures and still more unofficial ones that identify as South African. This makes for a melting pot of variety, one that has earned South Africa the fond nickname “Rainbow Nation”. So, it is only right that a public holiday be set aside to celebrate this wonderful diversity: Heritage Day which takes…

Cape Town is a melting pot of people and cultures and the city’s diverse heritage can be explored through its historical architecture and colourful cuisine. Get started here… SAN Although the San people were the original inhabitants of South Africa, they were systematically marginalised and eradicated by a series of colonisers. Sadly, not much of their rich heritage remains. However,…

As the oldest city in South Africa, Cape Town has a rich, if turbulent, history and the military plays a large part in the Mother City’s story. On September 1, the City of Cape Town launched the official Military Heritage Route. Comprising of three properties – the Castle of Good Hope, the South African Naval Museum and the Chavonnes Battery…

Cape Town is one of South Africa’s most historically important cities. It was here, in the Mother City, where the first European colonists set foot in South Africa—which also marked the beginning of the South African slave trade. It was home to perhaps the world’s most famous political prisoner—Nelson Mandela—who was held on the tiny Robben Island in Table Bay.

Cape Town is a cultural hub and has a long and storied history, so you can bet we have plenty of both to offer visitors. The Mother City’s history is rich – and at times tragic – and is has a number of world class museums that offer up a treasure trove to the past – both the good and…

Whether you’re looking to get up close and personal with nature, do a spot of shopping in the city or enjoy a live show, you can find and do it all in the Mother City. Enjoy wheelchair-friendly activities at the following establishments in Cape Town: CITY SIGHTSEEING BUS Offering day tours around the Peninsula, through the city centre and into…

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Robben Island is famous, or rather infamous, as the holding place for the imprisoned Nelson Mandela. Mandela served 18 of his 27 years in prison incarcerated on the island’s prison, but Robben Island has also housed a hospital, mental institution, leper colony and military base during its rich history.

The San were the earliest group of hunter-gatherers that lived in South Africa. !Khwa Ttu, San Culture and Education Centre seeks to preserve the culture and heritage of this ancient people as well as teach people more things about San history.

Journey down beneath the earth into the surreal world of the Cango Caves, the country’s best-known system of caves, caverns and formations. They are said to be one of South Africa’s oldest tourist attractions.

Housing a fascinating story that covers the history of South African diamonds, the Cape Town Diamond Museum covers a timeline that stretches some 3 billion years. Here, you can learn many things about the industry such as how the precious stones are formed, mined and processed.

If you’re new to Cape Town, a walking tour with Cape Walk and Talk is exactly what you need. The tour has been curated to orientate its audience geographically, culturally and historically within the Mother City, so come and get your bearings and you’ll be blending in with the locals in no time.

Built in 1666 beneath the imposing silhouette of the iconic Table Mountain, the Castle of Good Hope is a priceless piece of Cape History. To really get an authentic taste and grasp of the Mother City’s beginnings, this should be every traveller’s first stop.

The Chavonnes Battery Museum showcases the Archaeological Ruins of a Dutch East India Company Fort, buried for 140 years, and is also host to a robust schedule of international photographic exhibitions, rich in content, and relevant in terms of contemporary thinking and topics.

During apartheid, the vibrant community of District Six was forcibly relocated from the city when the area was sadly declared a “white group area” by the National Party government. Once removed, all the houses and businesses were demolished, with only religious buildings saved from the destruction. Now, the District Six Museum serves as a way to rebuild the memories and ...

The Fish Hoek Valley Museum brings to light the historical importance of False Bay and the surrounding area. This prominent archaeological site on the Cape Peninsula contain significant findings concerning past Stone Age inhabitants of the region.

The Heart of Cape Town Museum celebrates the world’s first open heart surgery, performed by South African Professor, Christiaan Barnard, in 1967. The transplant is renowned as one of the greatest moments in medical history, only made possible by science and human courage. Today, the museum honours the patient and donor, doctors, nurses and everyone else involved in revolutionary surgery.

Situated close to Rhodes Cottage Museum, Het Posthuys is the perfect place to visit on the False Bay coastline if you're looking to learn more about the colonial history of Cape Town.

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