Cape Town has a rich history. As every tourist knows, the story of a country can’t be adequately told in history books.
It’s in the people, the buildings, the laughter and the landscape; and it demands to be experienced before it can be understood. Here are 10 of Cape Town’s most beautiful heritage spots for you to begin your journey.
THE COMPANY’S GARDEN
Three and a half centuries ago in 1652, The Company’s Garden was Jan Van Riebeeck’s veggie patch. Today it’s decorated with imposing statues, Museums of Art and adorable squirrels. It’s the perfect place for a picnic and boasts a majestic view of Table Mountain.
GROOT CONSTANTIA, CAPE TOWN
Once the manor house of Cape Governor Simon van der Stel from 1699 to 1712, today Groot Constantia is a provincial heritage site and award-winning wine farm set amongst some of the most magnificent landscapes in the country. Sipping on 3 centuries’ worth of refined South African vino is an excellent way to spend a Saturday!
THE CASTLE OF GOOD HOPE
A pentagonal fortress built between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company, making it the oldest building in the country, The Castle of Good Hope naturally has more than a few ghost stories.
A photographer’s dream, the technicolour homes of the Muslim community of Bo-Kaap are Capetonian icons. Nearby, the Bo-Kaap Museum explains the social history of the former slave houses.
DORP STREET, STELLENBOSCH
This entire street is a national heritage sight. It’s the unmistakeable Cape-Dutch architecture, in this, the oldest town in South Africa, which combines gorgeously with ancient, gnarled oaks to line this old wagon road. A stroll down Dorp Street is a charming experience that resonates through the centuries.
The island, located off the coast of Cape Town, is the place where Nelson Mandela and many anti-apartheid activists and freedom fighters were held captive for many years. Today the island is an iconic world heritage site known for its history, as well as a reminder of the country’s bleak past, and how we were able to move forward from it together as a nation.
Table Mountain National Park
One of the New 7 Natural Wonders of the World, Table Mountain National Park is one massive piece of nature that stretches all the way from the Cape Peninsula right through to the Cape Town City area. The national park includes many well-known attractions, including Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, Boulders Penguin Colony, Cape Point, Lions Head and Signal Hill.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Hailed as one of the seven most magnificent botanical gardens in the world, Kirstenbosch is filled with all kinds of flora and fauna, including many rare plant species, fynbos, indigenous birds and more. One can enjoy many activities at this scenic location, including: walks, picnics, as well as the Bloomslang – a canopy walkway with stunning views.
Gugulethu Seven Memorial
Seven granite structures standing side by side, with figures cut out in the centre of each structure. If you look at each figure, you’ll notice their arms are raised up high. These seven structures were built to commemorate the deaths of the seven black activists who were killed by the police on 3 March 1986. These activists were young individuals from the Gugulethu Township.
Settled by French Huguenots (or Protestants) fleeing persecution in France, Franschhoek is one of the Cape’s most beautiful areas overflowing with wine, misty mountains and rich history.
Are you loving your official guide to Capetonian awesomeness?