Rhodes Memorial, Cape Town
Did you know?
The De Beers mining company at one time controlled 90% of the market for rough diamonds.
Rhodes Memorial on the slopes of Devil's Peak in Cape Town honours one of South Africa's more controversial historical figures.
Businessman, mining magnate and arch imperialist, Cecil John Rhodes (1853 to 1902), once dreamed of extending Britain's influence all the way from the Cape to Cairo.
This impressive monument, which can be accessed off the M3, was designed by the famous architect and contemporary of Rhodes, Sir Herbert Baker, to resemble a Grecian temple.
With eight bronze lions flanking a giant stairway, and a statue of a horse and rider at the bottom looking out across the hinterland, it offers an imposing view over the Cape Flats.
It's a popular spot, particularly with students from the nearby University of Cape Town, which is a short walk away, and visitors can enjoy tea and scones or a light lunch at the tearoom located in a cottage (also a Herbert Baker original).
The area surrounding this site is full of stone pine tree and is the starting point for hiking paths on the slopes of Devil's Peak.
Rhodes' legacy includes the donation of large tracts of land around the memorial including the land the University of Cape Town now occupies along with the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.
His name is also attached to a scholarship, now known as the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship, which enables African students with leadership potential to study at Oxford in the United Kingdom.
Rhodes was a larger-than-life character who once dominated political life in South Africa when it was still under British rule.
He made his fortune on the diamond diggings of Kimberley and founded the De Beers diamond company. Elected to the Cape parliament as a member for Barkly West in 1880, he became prime minister 10 years' later, using his influence to pass laws that benefitted mine owners and industrialists.
Rhodes also played a pivotal role in the disastrous Jameson Raid, which in part contributed to the outbreak of the South African War (also the Anglo Boer War) and forced his resignation as prime minister.
He died in Muizenberg in 1902 during the final stages of that conflict.
Travel tips & Planning info
How to get here
The Rhodes Memorial is on the Groote Schuur side of Table Mountain. Take a taxi or bus to the University of Cape Town campus and its a short hike up to the memorial. Alternatively, you can drive to the memorial.
Best time to visit
Early mornings or early evenings, when the sun is not too hot, are the best time to visit, offering amazing views of the harbour and city.
Around the area
The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens are a must. And don't forget to take a trip up Table Mountain for spectacular views. You can climb or take a cable car.
This is a beautiful area to stroll around in.
What will it cost
Entrance to the memorial is free of charge.
Length of stay
Half a day to a full day to visit both the Rhodes Memorial and the stunning Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens.
What to pack
Comfortable walking shoes or boots are a good idea. Winter is the rainy season in this part of the world so don't forget the raincoat or umbrella.
Where to stay
There's no shortage of establishments in Cape Town from award-winning boutique hotels, to charming guesthouses and budget B&Bs.
What to eat
The Rhodes Memorial Restaurant caters for all palates with a mix of international and local dishes.