Heritage sites in and around Cape Town

by MMC
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Cape Town has a rich history. As any tourist knows, the history of a country cannot be adequately told in history books. It’s in the people, the buildings, the laughter and the landscape; and you have to experience it before you can understand it.

Here are 12 of Cape Town’s most beautiful heritage sites to start your trip.

Note: If you are unfamiliar with any of these sites, please bring an experienced tour guide to help you find your way.

The company garden

Three and a half centuries ago, in 1652, the Jardin de la Compagnie was the vegetable garden of Jan Van Riebeeck. Today it is decorated with imposing statues, art museums and adorable squirrels. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic and offers majestic views of Table Mountain.

Activities available: picnics, museums, nature walks
What to bring: Sunscreen, hat, jacket (in cold weather)
Website: bit.ly/3ZcNsIQ

Groot Constantia

Once the mansion of Cape Governor Simon van der Stel from 1699 to 1712, Groot Constantia is today a provincial heritage site and award-winning wine farm set amid some of the country’s most magnificent scenery. Sipping 3 centuries of fine South African wine is a great way to spend a Saturday!

Activities available: wine tasting, exploring, audio tour, restaurants
What to bring: sunscreen, hat, jacket (in cold weather)
Website: grootconstantia.co.za/

Groot Constantia - Heritage Sites

The Castle of Good Hope

The pentagonal fortress was built between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company, making it the oldest building in the country. The Castle of Good Hope has some of the most fascinating history and eye-catching architecture in Cape Town, as well as a few ghost stories.

Activities available: exploration, guided tours
What to bring: ID card or driving license
Price: From R25
Website: www.castleofgoodhope.co.za/index.php 

Bo Kaap

A photographer’s dream, the technicolor houses of the Muslim community of Bo-Kaap are Capetonian icons. Nearby, the Bo-Kaap Museum explains the social history of former slave houses.

Activities available: exploration, perfect photo stops, sightseeing tours, food tours, taste delicious traditional Cape Malay cuisine
What to bring: sunscreen, hat, jacket (in cold weather)
Website: www.iziko.org.za/museums/bo-kaap-museum/

Couple walking at Bo-Kaap Cape Town - Heritage Sites

Dorp Street, Stellenbosch

This entire street is a national heritage site. It is the typical Cape Dutch architecture of this town, the oldest in South Africa, which combines wonderfully with old gnarled oaks which line this old cart route. A stroll down Dorp Street is a charming experience that resonates through the centuries.

Activities available: panoramic walk, photo stops
What to bring: sunscreen, hat, jacket (in cold weather)

Dorp Street - Heritage sites

Robben Island

The island, located off the coast of Cape Town, is where Nelson Mandela and many anti-apartheid activists and freedom fighters were held captive for many years. Today, the island is an iconic World Heritage site known for its history, as well as a reminder of the country’s dark past and how we came together as a nation.

Activities available: guided tours, discovery
What to bring: sunscreen, hat, jacket (it’s cold during the boat ride), sunglasses
Price: From R210
Website: www.robben-island.org.za/ 

Table Mountain National Park

One of the New 7 Natural Wonders of the World, Table Mountain National Park is a huge piece of nature stretching from the Cape Peninsula to the Cape Town region. The national park includes many well-known attractions including the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, Boulders Penguin Colony, Cape Point, Flying Dutchman Cable Car, Lions Head and Signal Hill.

Activities available: hiking, exploring, penguin watching, swimming, picnics, braais, photo stops, cable car ride to Table Mountain, cable car ride to Cape Point, beaches, meeting other wildlife, various water activities

What to bring: sunscreen, swimming clothes, towel, comfortable walking shoes, hat, jacket (cold days), sunglasses, map, cell phone, ID
Price: Varies by location
Website: bit.ly/44IUfLr

Table Mountain National Park - Heritage Sites

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Considered one of the seven most magnificent botanical gardens in the world, Kirstenbosch is teeming with all kinds of flora and fauna, including many rare plant species, fynbos, native birds and much more. One can enjoy many activities in this picturesque location, including walks and picnics, as well as Boomslang, a canopy walkway with stunning views.

Activities available: walks, picnics, boomslang, discovery, guided tours
What to bring: sunscreen, hat, jacket (cold days), sunglasses, ID
Price: From R40
Website: www.sanbi.org/gardens/kirstenbosch/

Seven Gugulethu Memorial

Seven granite structures stand side by side, with cut-out figures in the center of each structure. If you look at each character, you will notice that their arms are raised high. These seven structures were built to commemorate the death of the seven black activists killed by the police on March 3, 1986. These activists were young individuals from Gugulethu township.

Activities available: guided tours, discovery
What to bring: hat, sunglasses
Visits available: Tourism, Sam’s Cultural Tours

Gugulethu Severn Memorial - Heritage Sites


Settled by French Huguenots (or Protestants) fleeing persecution in France, Franschhoek is one of the Cape’s most beautiful regions, brimming with wine, misty mountains and rich history.

Activities available: wine tours, wine tasting, picnics, exploring, traditional cuisine, museums, wine tours, food and wine pairing tours, hiking
What to bring: sunscreen, hat, jacket (in cold weather), map, comfortable walking shoes

The Kramat, Macassar

The Kramat of Sheikh Yusuf Al-Makassari in Macassar is more than just a holy place for Muslims, but it is also a powerful symbol of strength and determination. Sheikh Yusuf was banished to Cape Town in the 1600s, but his influence remains evident through the enduring presence of the Kramat, which attracts countless visitors each year.

Activities available: guided tour, discovery
What to bring: hat, sunscreen
Price: Free entry, but you can opt for a tour with Halaal Hopper
Website: bit.ly/44PyCJk

Kramat - Heritage sites

The Clock Tower, V&A Waterfront

The Clock Tower is a remarkable architectural landmark that stands on the V&A waterfront. Built in 1882 as the harbor master’s office, this impressive structure has pointed Gothic windows surrounding a magnificent clock brought from Edinburgh. The second floor features a captivating mirror room, which offers the captain a panoramic view of the bustling port activities. The ground floor has a tide gauge mechanism which was used to measure the tide levels of ships entering and leaving the docks.

Activities available: exploration, photo opportunities

Clock Tower - Heritage Sites

The post office Heritage sites in and around Cape Town first appeared on Tourism in Cape Town.

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