* IMPORTANT NOTICE *

Opening of Parliament 2020 - Castle Closure

ccb parliamentPlease note that due to the opening of parliament and the resultant road closures,
the Castle will be closed to the general public on Thursday 13 February 2020.


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]
call to action buttons

ccb festive msg banner 19 20 01

ccb ceo springmsg sep2019 00 240x300

By the time you read this message, I hope that students have successfully completed their exams, Mom and Dad finished work and that you all are ready to join your loved ones on a well-deserved year-end break. To you and all our international visitors, welcome and thanks for your ongoing support. We in the tourism industry, is 110% ready to make the long holiday of 2019/20 a festive and ultra-memorable one.

Instead of our usual festive message (wear flat shoes, responsible enjoyment, safety tips, no-drinking and driving, etc.), we would rather share with you the hundreds of interesting things to gaze at, experience and enjoy at South Africa’s oldest operating colonial building – the 353-year-old Castle of Good Hope. 

We strongly recommend that you spend at least half a day to reflect and get a sense of where we come from, where we are and where we are going to in this beautiful land of ours. Here we go:

  1. Check out and feed the millions of Fish in the Moat (water mass around the Castle).
  2. Look and listen to the Indigenous Birds on the Moat.
  3. Swim - yes take a swim (by permission only) in the Moat!
  4. Take a picture at the Canons at the entrance or others scattered all over the Castle grounds.
  5. Take a picture of the two Lions at the Main Entrance.
  6. Then go into the stunning Ceramics Museum and appreciate the original lions.
  7. Take a selfie at the oldest post box (PO Box 1).
  8. Admire our Pyramid (ammunition store) at the main entrance.
  9. Visit the WW1 & WW2 memorials.
  10. Enjoy our excellent guides on one of the Free Site Tours.
  11. Check out and take a picture at the massive Ship’s Anchor left of the main entrance.
  12. Visit the Waterblommetjie Gardens.
  13. If Dutch, check out your Regional Emblem on top of the main gate.
  14. Touch (ouch, the spikes) a real Armoured Door.
  15. Bump into a world-famous Film Star (if filming happens).
  16. If not, visit the film sets.
  17. Chomp on a Castle Burger.
  18. Peek into a 21st Century Conference room in the 353-year Adam Tas Hall.
  19. Take a picture on the only spot where not a single sign of the City is visible.
  20. Hunt your Ghosts.
  21. Get married in a 350-year old chapel.
  22. Participate in a local Khoi ceremony.
  23. Listen to local Ghoema Music.
  24. Take selfies with the Warrior Kings of the Castle.
  25. Embrace the Lady of Good Hope.
  26. Visit the original gravesite of Krotoa (Eva).
  27. Or reflect at Krotoa’s Memorial.
  28. Gaze at the oldest brand (VOC) in the world.
  29. Enter the first, original Parliamentary Chamber in colonial/modern South Africa.
  30. Reflect on life in a Restitution Garden.
  31. Gaze at a deconstructed colonial exhibition.
  32. Have a Picnic on the Lawn (water-restrictions permitting).
  33. Hear a real Canon Firing.
  34. Observe the only Key-Ceremony on the country.
  35. Visit the William Fehr Museum.
  36. Sleepover in a real Jail.
  37. Visit the Military Museum.
  38. Enjoy a bite at the Castle Five-Star (named after the five bastions) Restaurant.
  39. Then visit the Leerdam, Buuren, Katzenellenbogen, Oranje and Nassau Bastions.
  40. Admire the view of Table Mountain like nowhere else.
  41. Be amazed by the original Sea-ward Entrance of the Castle.
  42. Visit the jail of Zulu King Cetswayo.
  43. Imagine seeing Lady Anne Barnard in the Dolphin Pool.
  44. Check out Simon Van der Stel’s Cellar.
  45. Dare to enter the Torture Chamber.
  46. Experience the horrors of real Instruments of Torture.
  47. Locate the real “Dark Hole/Donker Gat.”
  48. Lock yourself up (joke) in an Old Ammunition Room.
  49. Pick up a memento at the Castle Gift Shop.
  50. Enjoy this time-capsule of southern African history and heritage.

I thank you for your continued support and wish you a safe, healthy, happy and blessed holiday season.

Yours in heritage for development

CEO - Castle Control Board

ccb festive msg banner 19 20 02

Festive Season Preparedness Plan 2019/20

ccb traveltips 02

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.

ccb traveltips 03

The Preparedness Plan is to identify possible public safety and service delivery risks and to mitigate these through appropriate operational and resource planning.

DOWNLOAD the plan here.

ccb traveltips 01

 


 

ccb ICMP button

 


 

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).

February 2020
S M T W T F S
1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29

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.

 

Go to top