The Castle of Good Hope is the oldest colonial building in South Africa. It was built between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company to replace the older fort made of clay and timber which was constructed by Jan van Riebeeck. It was to serve as a replenishment point for ships passing the Cape on their long voyages between the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies. It's not hard to imagine how happy the sailors were at the sight of the castle after spending the long months at sea. No wonder they called the place "The Tavern of the Seas". What's interesting, in the past the building was located much closer to the coastline, but due to the land reclamation the distance to the sea has increased.
Inside the fort, which is built in the shape of pentagon, there used to be living quarters, shops and workshops, a church and even a prison which was mainly used during the second Boer war.
Today there is a museum, where you can learn interesting facts about the military and cultural history of Cape Town. If you happen to be there at ten o'clock a.m. on weekdays, you will witness the key ceremony and two hours later the Change of the Guards.
You can visit the interiors on a guided tour, but I think that independent visits are also possible.
Entrance fee: R 25.00 ( about 3.50 US dollars)
The Castle, was Built between 1665 and 1676 by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) to replace an earthen fort constructed by Jan van Riebeeck in 1652, it's the oldest building in the country. Its pentagonal plan, with a diamond-shape bastion at each corner, is typical of the Old Netherlands defense system adopted in the early 17th century.in the shape of a five - pointed star, with walls of stone and earth more than 10 metres high.
Five bastions were built, one at each point of the star,and named after the titles of the Prince of Orange, the Dutch ruler at the time of the settlement i.e Buren, Leerdam, Oranje, Nassau and Catzenellenbogen.
As added protection, the whole fortification was surrounded by a moat, and the sea nearly washed up against its walls. The castle served as both the VOC headquarters and the official governor's residence, and still houses the regional headquarters of the National Defence Force. Despite its bellicose origins, no shot has ever been fired from its ramparts, except ceremonially.
You can wander around on your own or join one of the guided tours at no extra cost. Also worth seeing is the excellent William Fehr Collection. Housed in the governor's residence, it consists of antiques, artifacts, and paintings of early Cape Town and South African history. Conservationists should go upstairs to see John Thomas Baine's The Greatest Hunt in Africa, celebrating a "hunt" in honor of Prince Alfred, when nearly 30,000 animals were driven together and slaughtered.
Dungeons were built below sea level.No attack has ever been launched against the Castle.
Today the Castle is the headquarters of the Western Cape Military Command.It also houses a military and a maritime museum which may be viewed.
Cost: R25 for adults and R10 children & students
Open: Weekdays 9-3:30, Sat. 9-1; tours at 11, noon, and 2
The ammo was stored here, but the water came through the walls and contaminated it rendering it useless. They then decided to digg a hole in the floor, but due to all the underground water, it pushed water up into the storage cell instead of draining it away.
Before someone could be executed, they had to confess to their sin. First off was the torture chamber where they had three methods of torture after which they were taken to the black cell for 24 hours. If they did not confess, they were sent to Robben Eiland to serve their sentence there.
The pool was built by Willem van der Stel, but during the british reign, they filled it with sand and used the area as a parade ground. Lady Anne Barnard made schetches of the pool and it was used to re-instate the pool again. The only thing that remains from the original pool is the steps leading into the water.
The gateway – built in 1682 – replaced the old entrance, which faced the sea. The pediment bears the coat of arms of the United Netherlands, portraying the crowned lion rampant holding the seven arrows of unity in its paw. Carved on the architrave below are the arms of Van Hoorn, Delft , Amsterdam, Middelburg, Rotterdam and Enkhuizen—all Dutch cities in which the United East India Company had chambers. Two VOC (Vereenighde Oost-Indische Compagnie) monograms flank the carvings.
The two pilasters, entablature and pediment above are built of grey-blue stone, while the entrance is made of small yellow bricks called ijselstene, making it a unique example of 17th century Dutch classicism at the Cape .
Sections of the moat, which previously formed part of the defence system of the Castle, were rebuilt in 1992 during restorations.
The Castle of Good Hope would be referred to as 'Kui keip'(Stone Kraal) by the Khoina.
Built between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) as a maritime replenishment station, the Castle of Good Hope is the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa.
From 1678 it was the centre of civilian, administrative and military life at the Cape, until the settlement grew and some functions and activities moved away from the Castle. Today the Castle is the seat of the military in the Cape, and houses the Castle Military Museum and Iziko Museums of Cape Town (William Fehr Collection).
This castle protected Cape Town throughout the Colonial years. Once a waterfront land reclamation now has it a good 1/2 Km from the actual bay. This is a bit out of the way but it is definitely worth a visit.
This building was the first european structure in South Africa and is considered to be the nation’s oldest building still preserved. As Cape Town is often named “Mother City”, the Castle of Good Hope is seen as the nucleus of the South African state. The castle was built in 1652 as a wooden structure, but replaced between 1666 and 1672 by the present castle. The castles bastions were added in the next decades, with all of their names referring to parts of the title of Prince William of Orange (Leerdam, Buuren, Catzenellenbogen, Nassau, Orange). On top of the castle, you’ll see the flags South Africa used in its history, including the current one.
In the castle a visit to several smaller exhibitions is possible. Most of them are related to the castle, but there are also art galleries and exhibitions on the castle grounds. They are located in the former workshops and storage rooms of the castle. The former governor’s house, in the middle of the castle, is only partly open for public. This part of the castle is officially still in use as military structure, but only has ceremonial status. It is worth to visit the castle in the morning and wait until noon, because then you have the chance to see the traditional ceremonies of the castle guard. One is the key ceremony in which the symbolic key to the castle is handed out to the guardsmen. Then the castle is unlocked and the key presented to the public. The other ceremony is the firing of the signal cannon which is performed afterwards. It is a small cannon which only has the purpose of making a lot of noise (the signal…). Both ceremonies are explained during their performance via loudspeaker. They take place in front of the governour’s house, right in the middle of the castle.
Most of the people (including me) think that this point is the southern part of Africa, and the place were the two ocenas meet, that´s wrong that place is Cape Agulhas. But besides that is an interesting place and a good place to see the strong winds and the powerful sea.
the foundations for the Castle were laid in 1666 and replaced the original wooden fort that was built as the HQ of the Dutch East India Company. The pentagonal shaped Castle was completed in 1679
the Castle is still in use as the headquarters of the Western Province Command of the Defence Force and every day at noon there is a changing of the guard ceremony, followed by the firing of a cannon [see picture 5] I can honestly say that the biggest soldier I have possibly ever seen fired the smallest canon I have ever seen, after I had recovered from the shock of hearing such a loud bang from such a tiny thing I had a severe attack of the giggles which lasted for some time
After a cup of very good coffee on the patio outside the small restaurant we visited the three museums in the Castle, we found the military museum the most interesting but the Secunde`s House and the Governers Residence are well worth a visit for their displays of furniture, paintings and china. There are free guided tours at 11am 12pm and 2pm of the dungeon, torture chamber, ramparts and armories
entrance costs R20 for adults and R10 for children and students
the castle is open daily from 9am to 4pm except for Christmas and New Years days
The Castle of Good Hope is the oldest and one of the most well-known and well-visited buildings in Cape Town. It is built in the shape of a pentagon, with 5 towers. Each tower is named after the first 5 ships that arrived at the Cape when it was a colony.
It was primarily a small wood and clay fort built by Jan van Riebeeck, but was later build with proper materials by the VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie). In 1936 the Castle of Good Hope was declared a national monument. It then underwent an extensive restoration programme, and now remains one of the best kept (preserved) fortifications of its kind built by the VOC.
It is a superb castle to visit, with so much to show the visitor, child and adult alike. From exhibits, to art work, to architecture, to tours. It has it all.
The Castle of Good Hope is the oldest building in South Africa. Built between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company, better known as the VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie), this pentagonal fortification replaced a small clay and timber fort built in 1652 by Commander Jan van Riebeeck,
The Castle of Good Hope opens daily at 09:00 and closes at 16:00.
Open from Monday to Sunday. The Castle is closed to the public on Christmas day (25 December) and New Year's day (01 January).
Guided tours are conducted by Castle guides from Monday to Saturday
at 11:00, 12:00 and 14:00.
Fee: R20 adults R10 children
Lots of authentic furniture, household goods to see. Visit the dungeon where criminals were kept. Creepy, mouldy, dark and damp.
Switch of the light to get a real feeling of the place. 5 seconds is too long. People were kept her for months and years.
This is a must see.
2006: Five years later nothing much has changed. Work on the balcony is completed and I could take a nice photo. The entrance fee is still the same. R10 also applies to students so I didn't have to pay the adult fee for Garreth which was nice.
Alongside, an archway leads through to the rear courtyard, less elegant than the front one, but still attractive. Midway through the arched passage is a chamber holding the main well for the castle: it originally stood right in the middle of the castle courtyard. Just to the left of the archway as you emerge into the daylight again is the armoury and ammunition store (originally the grain store). The shutters are painted red as a reminder for the soldiers not to smoke ner all those explosives! At the end of this block, on the outer wall, is the remains of the prison cells, although the main prison block is not always open to the public. A bleak windowless torture chamber is at the back of the castle in the far corner of E block. Off to the right here is the old forge, bakery and kitchens, and a square pool (the first swimming pool in Africa?), known as the Dolphin Pool. This part of the castle is still used by the South African Defence Forces and there is no admittance to the buildings. Perhaps one of the most endearing scenes is the present-day canteen and kitchens (what Dean MacCannell calls the "back-stage"!) of the SADF garrison, sitting right underneath the governor's house. This arrangement, of the kitchens on the lower floor, has been in place since the very first days of this castle!
The last building, G block lies on the northern wall, and is now the Castle Military Museum, reviewed separately. Old Portuguese cannons lie outside the doorway, which was the original entrance to the castle - a mural on the far wall shows what it must have looked like when this led out to the beach. Note that the G block windows are arched on the left of the entrance (the officers quarters) and square sash windows to the right (the enlisted men).
It is possible to eat at the restaurant/coffee shop by the entrance, but it looked uninspiring, especially given that good cafes and restaurants are just a few minutes walk away outside!
This new entrance was constructed in 1682 to replace the original front entrance facing the beach, and is the most harmonious example of Dutch architecture on the Cape, with a beautiful arrangement on the pediment. This shows the coat-of-arms of the Netherlands. Immediately below are the coats-of-arms of the six biggest Dutch cities. As a quirk of history, it is worth noting that only Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Delft remain big cities now; Enjkuizen, Middelburg and Van Hoorn have all subsided in importance now.
Inside the huge castle wall, the castle is softer and less forbidding, as the pentagon shape is lined with buildings, with a long facade of buildings - the Kat - crossing over the centre of the fort, so dividing it into two sections. The courtyard is grassed over, which it was not originally, but it certainly keeps the heat down now!
The oldest part of the castle is the long line of wall and building to the right of the courtyard, with the Captain?s Tower above: it was where a lookout watch was kept over both Table Bay and the settlement of Cape Town. It is possible to climb up the staircase in the corner to reach the Leerdam bastion - and it is also possible, from there, to walk along the circumference of the outer wall. On the Leerdam is a row of six flagpoles carrying the six flags to have flown over the castle down the centuries. It is one of the very few places in South Africa that you will see the old South African flag these days.
Underneath B block, in the corner, the old kitchen can be seen, although it has now been excavated to show the original water supply arrangements for the castle. The basement areas had a habit of flooding, and repeated efforts were needed (not totally successful) to prevent water seeping in.