A Festive Story Of Good Hope…

13th November 2018.

We can’t believe that the festive season is already upon us. As we all prepare to spend some quality time with our loved ones, may we use this opportunity to wish you a joyous, healthy and happy holiday season. The more we think about it, the more we realize that there are very few architectural and cultural heritage sites around that has the variety of unique cultural experiences the Castle of Good Hope offers.

Many cities like Beijing, Paris, London, Rio, Tokyo, Melbourne, Singapore, Brussels offer what we have but theirs’ are often dispersed or pricey. From the best-preserved 17th century Dutch fort in the world, to larger-than-life statues of indigenous royal warriors to the firing of small but ear-splitting signal cannon to a recreated 17th century military drill; it feels like our Castle is a mall of heritage experiences under one roof!

Highlights

  • A unique torture chamber/interrogation room, recently upgraded to create an even more authentic experience;
  • The statues of the Khoi freedom-fighter Nommoä (Doman) next to those of warrior kings Langalibalele, Cetshwayo and Sekhukhune;
  • A museum collection of 17th century art, craft and furniture (William Fehr);
  • A separate ceramic art museum where the original lions that use to protect the main entrance, are on display;
  • The Lady Anne Ballroom and the Dolphin Pool where she supposedly bathed in the nude!
  • A memorial dedicated to the life of Khoi princess Krotoa (Eva);
  • A restitution garden with indigenous plants (and where I spent some time reading and reflecting); and
  • A third museum, depicting the Military History of South Africa. This is also where the original, sea-ward facing entrance of the Castle used to be.

The People's Castle

So, with your heritage-conservation contribution of R50 (±3 Euros) we definitely make sure that you get lots of bang for your buck (pardon the pun) – something like seven for the price of one! Our advice is not to rush through this oldest colonial building in the country. If you want real value for money, take a couple of hours to soak up over 350 years of colonial history – good, bad and ugly!

We are deeply honoured to share our space with tourists, ad-hoc visitors, school children, researchers, musicians, movie-makers, party-revelers, Khoi-chiefs, traditional leaders, actors and the like. Yes, do not be surprised if you bump into a certain Ms Julia Roberts or Mr Denzel Washington, some of the many Hollywood stars who recently visited our shores.

We have developed a slogan that goes like this “Bringing the People to the Castle and taking the Castle to the People!” What underpins this slogan, is a sincere commitment to change the traditional image of the Castle (colonial oppression, pain, exclusion) into one that is inclusive, embracing, healing, educational and leading to nation-building and reconciliation. This is an on-going project that needs all of your support and commitment.

Castle Of Events

It amazes us how the Castle has become a sought-after venue for life-style events. In the coming weeks, tourists and event goers will be treated with a host of exciting events. These include local youth music icon Nasty C, a Gaming Expo (Playtopia), the annual Cape Cultural Picnic and the Sizzled Summer Experience – to mention but a few. Our Castle is now really cooking up a storm!

You will notice from our gardening activities (or rather lack of it) that the Cape is still in the midst of a drought. Though the drought has been down-scaled to level 5, we are still not allowed to water our lawns, trees and other plants. As ardent gardeners, it pains us to see what is usually lush-green lawn is now appearing as a yellow-brown carpet. And the absence of summer flowers at the feet of this majestic, colonial building, is another pity. We kindly appeal to you to be understanding and supportive of our endeavours to preserve and protect this precious, life-giving resource – water.

Welcome to the Castle of Good Hope and enjoy your time with us…

 

 

SA Tourism Services Association
Frequently Asked Questions For Tourists Travelling To SA [PDF 2MB]
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CEO’S Spring Message: Heritage & Tourism Month

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On 22/23 September, the Southern Hemisphere officially heralds Spring. In geographical terms, Spring is the time of equinox which means the day and night is of the same length!  In the Cape, it is the season of magic and wonder!

Well, as South Africans, we make the most of the most beautiful season of the year. September is Tourism and Heritage Month, and South Africans also celebrate a host of other nature- and societal days during this time of rejuvenation, revival, growth, and hope.

The theme for this year’s World Tourism Day is “Tourism and jobs – a better future for all” whilst heritage month’s is: “Celebrating South Africa’s literary classics in the year of indigenous languages”.  What better place to celebrate both months at South Africa’s oldest surviving building – the 352-year old Castle of Good Hope.  Access to the Castle if free on the 24th of September 2019.  Come with your family, friends and picnic baskets – and remember the flat shoes!

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The Gardens to the left of the main entrance of the Castle.

Ode To The Most Beautiful Season

There is something so sublime about an African Spring that it is simply not possible to capture it graphically. But let me give it a try to describe what we experience at the Castle these days:

Spring seems to put a spring in every creature’s step; the Castle of Good Hope and surrounding a case in point. In the Castle moat, which is fed from the Camissa River in Table Mountain, the flock of black cormorants give the fish a hard time. Their feeding frenzy seems like a strategy to make up for the long, hard winter behind them. The wily old Night Heron with his long neck is trying hard to out-fish them but fails to match their angling skills. The coots glide over the fallen leaves from the papyrus plants on the dam; scooping up the abundant insects and other tiny morsels and preparing for the new chicklets’ arrival.

The happy chirps of the mating weavers, sparrows and starling are only drowned out by the shrill screams of the assertive hadedas and peckish gulls.  The awakening of every bloom and leaf the perfect canvas for these unfolding theatrics.

But it is the majestic Egyptian goose that rules the Castle. We are eagerly anticipating their colonisation of our lawns with their large batches of tweeting goslings! And not even the lone Castle barn-owl or stray cat would dare to come close to their brood.

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Bees in the Aloe flowers,
Restitution Garden,
top of Leerdam.
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Night Heron relaxing on one
of the steel cages protecting
young fish in the Moat.

Season Highlights: Major Events

Now back to Heritage and Tourism Months.  Besides the complimentary tours, firing of a real cannon, four museums, exhibitions, expect a bevy of events, festivities, gathering and celebrations for the rest of Spring.  For our tourists, we have just re-instituted the Ghost Tours, sleep-outs and much more.

These are some of the cultural, lifestyle and heritage events we are proudly hosting over the next couple of weeks:

  • Integrated Conservation Management Plan Stakeholder Meeting, 1 October 2019
  • Justice for Imam Haron outdoor exhibition, October/November 2019
  • Big League 3rd Anniversary Concert, 5 October 2019
  • Ceramics SA Exhibition, 7 – 10 October 2019
  • Open Design Africa, 18 – 22 October 2019
  • Unathi Msengana’s Picnic Concert, 19 October 2019
  • Kings of the Castle Boxing Tournament, 26 October 2019
  • Secret Sunset Event, 31 October 2019
  • Doek on Fleek Outdoor Picnic, 2 November 2019
  • Infecting the City, 23-24 November 2019
  • Harley Davidson Lifestyle Centre, 30 November to 1 December 2019

Disclaimer: Information is correct as on 23 September 2019. Patrons are kindly requested to verify events details and changes on our website or from the organisers.

Best Regards


There is currently an open RFQ for the Castle Control Board.

Click HERE to view the SCM page.


 

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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).

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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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