The Gold of Africa Museum's primary role is to preserve the art of African wrought gold, and the goldsmithing workshop not only uses traditional designs, but encourages modern design inspired by the bold forms of yesteryear. A boutique shop sells 18- and 22-carat gold jewellery.

Did you know?

The term 'gold' comes from an old Anglo-Saxon world 'geolo', or yellow.

Probably the biggest factor that shaped the South Africa of today was the discovery of gold in 1886. People from other countries flooded in, imperial Britain suddenly found the country a desirable acquisition, infrastructure burgeoned and the natural demographic pattern changed forever.

In its gold-mining heyday South Africa produced two-thirds of the world's gold, and the Gold of Africa Museum, housed in the venerable Martin Melck House in Cape Town, tells the story of the rich gold tradition here, as well as in the rest of Africa.

The heart of the gold museum is the renowned collection of about 350 West African gold artefacts from the Barbier-Muller Museum in Geneva, and included in the impressive display are jewellery and artworks from the continent's ancient civilisations.

The goldsmithing workshop makes a major contribution to preserving the art of African wrought gold, which now inspires modern designs with African themes. The management sees the perpetuation of traditional African gold skills as a key role of the Gold of Africa Museum.

There is a boutique shop offering an exclusive range of gold items, both traditional and modern, in 18- and 20-carat gold, and tourists with strong foreign currency will find this a good place to shop.

A striking 200-seater restaurant, which is a live-music venue, a courtyard garden and a wine cellar, add immensely to the general appeal and practical uses of the museum, which accepts conferences of up to 50 people.

Temporary exhibitions from as far afield as Egypt, India, Brazil and Mali introduce the visitor to the fine work of other cultures, and there are audio-visual displays in a presentation suite.

Gold has a warm and special glow about it, as has the ambience of this Cape Town gold museum's complex, in which you are surrounded by gold works beautifully lit to best advantage.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Gold of Africa museum
Martin Melck House, 96 Strand Street, Cape Town
Tel: +27 (0)21 405 1540

How to get here

Gold of Africa Museum is in the Cape Town CBD and is therefore easily accessible by road.

Around the area

Close-by are Cape Town's many attractions, including the famous V&A Waterfront, a shopping mecca overlooking the harbour.

Tours to do

Tailor-made tours can be arranged, or just wander around yourself. A night tour called the 'Pangolin tour' is also available. Wine tasting and snacks can also be included.

Get around

Tailor-made tours can be arranged, or just wander around yourself. A night tour called the 'Pangolin tour' is also available. Wine tasting and snacks can also be included.

What will it cost

Tour for adults: R40 (Pangolin tour - R70); children under 10: R25

Length of stay

Make a full day's adventure out of your trip to this museum, stopping for lunch at the Museum Restaurant and continuing in the afternoon.

Where to stay

See the listed Cape Town tourism website for accommodation options in the area.

What to eat

Gold of Africa museum has a great restaurant on site, serving a fusion of African and Cape Malay dishes.

What's happening

The museum hosts excellent temporary exhibitions. To see what's coming up, visit the listed Gold of Africa website.

Best buys

The Museum Shop sells unique gold pieces of jewellery, cloth from West Africa and a large array of local crafts.

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