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TThe Castle of Good Hope is the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa and a well-known Capetonian landmark. The castle was 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 by slaves and company workers in the earliest days of Dutch colonialism, serving as a reminder of the horrors of South Africa’s colonial past. Since then, two restoration projects have been undertaken to maintain this important architectural monument, the most recent being completed in 2016.
The pastel-painted buildings constructed of stone are now home to the Castle Military Museum and the William Fehr Collection. The Fehr collection, dating from the 17th to 19th century, features art, antique Cape furniture, metal objects, ceramics and glassware collected between 1892 and 1968 by Fehr, a prominent Cape businessman.
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.
Guided tours of the Castle are conducted from Monday to Saturday at 11am, 12 noon and 2pm, 3pm and 4pm, while each weekday at 10am and 12pm 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. After your tour, meals can be enjoyed at the Re5 Restaurant, a deli situated in the courtyard of the castle offering a variety of local snacks and light meals.
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, a popular event for military history enthusiasts and a fun family activity.
The castle is also home to the Krotoa memorial located next to the chapel. Krotoa was a famous leader of the Khoi nation. She is a celebrated female figure in South Africa and her spirit was repatriated to the castle, her place of burial, in 2016.
Once you’ve walked the castle, visit the gift shop to support local South African artisans and view its beautifully curated collection.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
The Castle of Good Hope
Tel: +27 21 787 1249
+27 21 461 4673
How to get there
The Castle of Good Hope is located on the corner of Castle and Darling Street and is easily accessible in your own car or by cab.
Best time to visit
The castle is open every day of the year except on Christmas and New Year. Cape Town is idyllic in the spring and summer with perfect weather for tours.
Things to do
Some of the attractions close to the Castle include Greenmarket Square, the City Hall, the District Six Museum, Green Point and the V&A Waterfront. If you are in Cape Town in November look out for the Military Tattoo which is held at the Castle.
What to pack
If you're at the Castle in the winter, take an umbrella for rain protection in the outdoor areas.
Where to stay
Accommodation facilities close by can be found in the City Bowl, or Atlantic Seaboard.
What to eat
The Re5 Restaurant on the castle grounds has a great tapas menu. The castle is conveniently located near a number of other restaurant options including the famous Eastern Food Bazaar.