Choose your country and language:

Africa

  • Global
  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • DRC
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Americas

  • USA
  • Argentina
  • Brazil

Asia Pacific

  • China
  • India
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Australia

Europe

  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • United Kingdom
Back
Western Cape

You are only moments away

TThe Western Cape was the first place that Europeans settled in the country, in 1652 when Jan van Riebeeck’s three vessels landed at the Cape. As employees of the Dutch East India Company, they had come to establish a halfway station for ships travelling to and from the East. Their influence is evident in the buildings, some of which are 350 years old, and culture of the Western Cape.

The oldest surviving structure in South Africa, the Castle of Good Hope, was built between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company. The castle has five corners, shaped similarly to a star. Each corner has a name: Buren, Nassau, Katzenellenbogen, Leerdam and Oranje. 

Did You Know?
SSouth Africa's oldest wine from Groot Constantia is so renowned it appears in Jane Austen's novel “Sense and Sensibility” as a cure for a broken heart, and is drunk to lift a character’s spirit in “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” by Charles Dickens.

TThe Company’s Garden, Cape Town, in Upper Adderley Street is the oldest garden in South Africa. It was established in 1652 by Jan van Riebeeck as a vegetable garden to supply fresh produce to passing ships.

Groot Constantia is an imposing Cape Dutch homestead that belonged to Cape Governor Simon van der Stel from 1699 to 1712. It is famous for its fine wines. Its cellar boasts sculptures by Anton Anreith.

TThe Dutch were not the only ones who had an influence on the Western Cape. Politics also played a role. Famous because it was home to the prison where the late former President Nelson Mandela was incarcerated, Robben Island is a must for any visitor to Cape Town. The tour includes viewing his cell as well as the cells of many other famous freedom fighters.

The Cape is a mixture of cultures and religions. The Bo-Kaap, with its candy-coloured houses along the alleyways of this thriving Muslim community, is a photographer’s delight. Visit the Bo-Kaap Museum to gain a better understanding of the complex social history of this neighbourhood. Sheikh Yusuf Kramat is one of the most important spiritual shrines in the country. Sheikh Yusuf is said to be the father of Islam in South Africa and lived in the Cape in the late 1600s. Further out of Cape Town, Dorp Street in Stellenbosch, the oldest town in the country, is a national heritage, with its Cape Dutch-style buildings.

AAlso outside of Cape Town lies Franschhoek, which means the French Corner. The town was settled by Huguenots (French Protestants) in the 1700s who made an important contribution to the Cape’s wine industry. Today a museum and historical wine cellars still bear French names. The town boasts some of the best restaurants and chefs in South Africa. Another town not to be missed is Tulbagh. Its entire Church Street is a heritage site and features lovingly restored and maintained Cape Dutch buildings straight out of the 18th century.

The Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex in Mossel Bay was established in 1988, as a tribute to the discoverer Bartolomeu Dias. Among others, it boasts an impressive replica of his Caravel.

Related articles

Vibrant culture

SA’s top restaurants for travelling foodies (1)

Vibrant culture
SA’s top restaurants for travelling foodies (1)

South Africa’s culinary heritage is as colourful as its flag, and as multi-layered as its 11 official languages.

Vibrant culture

Cape Town’s iconic historical buildings

Vibrant culture
Cape Town’s iconic historical buildings

Cape Town is South Africa’s oldest city, but its encircling mountains, Devil’s Peak, Table Mountain and Lion’s Head, have witnessed a longer history than that described by its surviving historic buildings.

Vibrant culture

The rich and diverse Afrikaans culture

Vibrant culture
The rich and diverse Afrikaans culture

The Afrikaans culture is as rich and diverse as the South African landscape.

Vibrant culture

South Africa’s top 10 cultural villages

Vibrant culture
South Africa’s top 10 cultural villages

Experience music, dance and food from across the country, as well as Tsonga crafts and Zulu beer-brewing; and don’t forget the magical clicking language of the San people.

Vibrant culture

Music of South Africa - discover the rhythmic heartbeat

Vibrant culture
Music of South Africa - discover the rhythmic heartbeat

The music culture in South Africa is made up of diverse genres, from jazz, hip hop, kwaito and gospel to pop and alternative rock.

Vibrant culture

Ceremonies and traditions - food of South Africa

Vibrant culture
Ceremonies and traditions - food of South Africa

We really love eating, so join us at the table and tuck in.

Vibrant culture

11 South African drinks you’ll definitely love

Vibrant culture
11 South African drinks you’ll definitely love

From soft red tea leaves and fermented milk to home-made beers and pub-favoured shooters, these are some of South Africa’s finest drinks.

South Africa on social media

Copyright © 2018 South African Tourism
|Terms and conditions|Disclaimer|Privacy policy