Castle of Good Hope
Did you know?
Works by the acclaimed artist Thomas Baines appear in the William Fehr collection at the Castle of Good Hope.
The oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa is the Castle of Good Hope, built by the Dutch East India Company as a replenishment station for their ships journeying from Europe to the East on trading expeditions. Building commenced in 1666, and a decade later the Castle was the centre of all life at the Cape. It was constructed as a pentagonal fortress with 5 bastions named after the main titles of Willem, the Prince of Orange, namely Leerdam, Buuren, Catzenellenbogen, Nassau, and Oranje.
During the British occupation of the Cape, there was little Colonial Office sentiment for this historic landmark. At one stage, so the legend goes, it was offered up for sale. The asking price? A mere 83 pounds and 34 pence - even with appreciation that would be a paltry sum today.
The pastel-painted buildings constructed of stone are now home to the Castle Military Museum and the William Fehr Collection. The workshops the building once housed, the living quarters, the cellars and the dungeons can be toured, as well as the Kat Balcony, from which important announcements were made to an audience of soldiers, burghers (residents) and slaves.
The Fehr collection, dating from the 17th - 19th century, features art, antique Cape furniture, metal objects, ceramics and glassware collected by a Cape businessman between 1892 and 1968.
Guided tours of the Castle are conducted from Monday to Saturday at 11h00, 12h00 and 14h00, while each weekday at 10h00 and 12h00 a Key Ceremony is performed, replicating the ceremonial unlocking of the Castle in olden times. It is followed by the firing of the signal cannon. Horse-and-carriage rides of an hour are conducted daily at 10h30, 12h45 and 14h45, and can also be arranged at sunset. Meals can be enjoyed at De Goewerneur Restaurant.
The distinctive Castle of Good Hope Fort maintains its long association with the military, being the headquarters of the army in the Western Cape. Each November it hosts a popular Military Tattoo, offering family entertainment.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Buitenkant Street, opposite the Grand Parade, Cape Town
Tel: +27 (0)21 464 1260/4
Fax: +27 (0)21 464 1280