A CASTLE OF INCLUSIVITY, HEALING, LEARNING, MEMORALISATION AND SO MUCH MORE…

Welcome,

Visitors often ask us whether the Castle is a "museum". Technically, they are correct, with only one modification: Museum (s) in the plural! Yes, the 358-year-old Castle of Good Hope, a National Heritage site, a critical infrastructure, a former Army base, a former seat of government, a slave port, and many more, is a collection of nine ‘permanent’ boutique museums (and counting) each contributing to a narrative that is unapologetically decolonial, inclusive, brave, challenging, and educational. In no order, here we go.

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CAPE TOWN’S NEW MARKET KUIER@THECASTLE A BIG SUCCESS IN CBD

Following the resounding success of the first market in February, Cape Town‘s CBD will be buzzing with creativity again on 30 March with the next instalment of Kuier@TheCastle. Hosted by the Craft + Design Institute (CDI) in collaboration with the Castle of Good Hope, this monthly market has already made a significant impact, featuring over 70 local creatives, drawing 1300 visitors to the market, and generating over R200 000 in income for the vendors at the inaugural event.

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* IMPORTANT NOTICE *

Change in opening times

 Please also take note of the change in Opening Times, which are now 09:00 to 16:00.

We apologise for any inconvenience.


Old map of the Cape Colony from the sixteen hundreds

The Castle of Good Hope is known locally as "The Castle". Its Dutch name is "Kasteel de Goede Hoop" and is a bastion fort built in the 17th century in Cape Town, South Africa. The Castle was originally located on the coastline of Table Bay but, following reclamation, the fort is now located a short distance inland within the Central Business District. The Castle was declared a historical monument (now a provincial heritage site) in 1936. Following restoration work in the 1980s, it is considered the best preserved example of a 17th century architectural structure in the entire world.

History

In 1652, the Dutch East India Company (DEIC) settled on the shores of Table Bay to establish a refreshment base for ships en route from Europe to East Asia and to maintain its monopoly over the Spice Trade. Built by the DEIC between 1666 and 1679, the Castle of Good Hope is the oldest existing colonial building in South Africa. It replaced an older fort called the Fort de Goede Hoop which was constructed from clay and timber and built by Jan van Riebeeck, the first Commander of the Cape.

During 1664, tensions between Britain and the Netherlands rose amid rumours of war. That same year, Commander Zacharias Wagenaer, successor to Jan van Riebeeck, was instructed by Commissioner Isbrand Goske to build a pentagonal fortress out of stone. The first stone was laid on 2 January 1666. Work was interrupted frequently because the DEIC was reluctant to spend money on the project.

On 26 April 1679, the five bastions were named after the main titles of William III of Orange-Nassau: Leerdam to the west, with Buuren, Katzenellenbogen, Nassau, and Oranje clockwise from it.

The Castle of Good Hope in 1680

In 1682 the gated entry replaced the old entrance, which had faced the sea. A bell tower, situated over the main entrance, was built in 1684—the original bell, the oldest in South Africa, was cast in Amsterdam in 1697 and weighs just over 300 kilograms (660lb). It was used to announce the time, as well as warning citizens in case of danger, since it could be heard 10 kilometres away. It was also rung to summon residents and soldiers when important announcements needed to be made.

The fortress housed a church, bakery, various workshops, living quarters, shops, and cells, among other facilities. The yellow paint on the walls was originally chosen because it lessened the effect of heat and the sun. A wall, built to protect citizens in case of an attack, divides the inner courtyard, which also houses the De Kat Balcony – now with the “Kings of the Castle” statues in front of it. The original balcony was built in 1695, but rebuilt in its current form between 1786 and 1790. From the balcony, announcements were made to soldiers, slaves and burghers (town inhabitants) of the Cape.

During the Second Boer War (1899–1902), part of the castle was used as a prison, and the former cells remain to this day.

The Castle acted as local headquarters for the South African Army in the Western Cape, and today houses the Castle Military Museum and ceremonial facilities for the traditional Cape Regiments. The Castle is also the home of the Cape Town Highlanders Regiment, a mechanised infantry unit.

SA Tourism Services Association
Frequently Asked Questions For Tourists Travelling To SA [PDF 2MB]
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Tourism Industry Standard Protocols
For COVID-19 Operations

DOWNLOAD the document here.

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The high season is in full swing and that means that visitors from all over will be in Cape Town for a much-needed holiday break. Each visitor must have the best possible experience – particularly with regards to safety.

Please be alert and aware of the following:

  • Only use secured ATMs, such as those in shopping centres or at the CTICC complex.
  • Do not allow anyone to take you to an ATM – fraudsters may attempt to take you to an ATM – say "no" when asked.
  • Do not accept help from anyone at an ATM. This includes uniformed personnel as Fraudsters may dress in uniform and approach you.
  • You do not need a COVID-19 permit or a permit to walk the streets of Cape Town.
  • Crime hotspot areas that should be avoided or proceeded with caution.

Very Important

Please download the Namola Safety App for free on your smartphones. The app can pinpoint their location with GPS and allows you to contact emergency services with a simple touch of a button. Get the app HERE.

Cape Town Cares

Should you be the unfortunate victim of crime in our city, please contact our Cape Town Cares team at: 021 487 6552. They will be able to assist visitors with replacement of lost documents, support counselling, helping visitors lay a charge at SAPS, changing itineraries and more.

An infographic with tips and emergency contact numbers.

DOWNLOAD the infographic here.

ccb band aid logo24/7 Band-Aid
Contact Number:
021 487 6552

Four steps for visitor safety.

DOWNLOAD the infographic here.

ccb atm logoBe ATM-wise!

DOWNLOAD the infographic here.

 

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Answering your questions on filming procedures during COVID-19 lock down.

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Latest Events

To see the latest upcoming events at the Castle of Good Hope, click on a day or the month title to display the event(s).

July 2024
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Key Ceremony

TIMES
10:00|12:00 

This showcases the unlocking of the Van der Stel entrance of the Castle of Good Hope by the ceremonial guards of the castle. It is a past practice that is still practised today.

Canon Firing

TIMES
10:00|11:00|12:00 

The firing of the signal cannon was used to indicate that a ship had been sighted at sea and to relay the message to people inside the fort. You can view the firing of an old cannon, performed by the Cannon Association of South Africa.

Guided Tours

TIMES
11:00|12:00|14:00|15:00|16:00 

Unearth the hidden history of the Castle with a guided tour led by an experienced guide. Tours operate seven days a week.

 

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