* 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.


Castle Of Good Hope: Turning History Into Our Story

12th April 2018.

 

Constructed in the mid-17th century out of rock hewn from Signal Hill and slate gathered from Robben Island, the Castle of Good Hope is the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa and one of the best-preserved examples of Dutch East India architecture. Originally perched on the coastline of Table Bay after land reclamation, the erstwhile fort is now a sprawling landmark on the corner of Darling and Castle Streets on the way to Cape Town’s bustling Foreshore.

 

 

We discovered the Cape Doctor certainly lives up to its name as we cross the moat and enter the Castle’s precincts to meet Doreen Hendricks, the Castle’s powerhouse Tourism & Marketing Manager. The interview becomes a fascinating journey about the possibilities of transformation and how the colonial past can be transformed into a reimagining of our future.

“The Castle was exclusive for many years, whether to a particular racial group or individuals on a particular career path. It was specifically designed and built to keep people out, but as a tourism heritage site we want to invite people in. We can’t change the structure of the building, but we can change the perceptions of people.

“Everything in the Cape started here at the Castle. Our slogan is, ‘The beginning of everything’. We also position ourselves as the centre for shared heritage in South Africa. Here you have the culmination of so many things and so many people. We are all connected in some way, and the Castle played a major role in that.

“We aim to bring people together and not only recognise differences, but also commonalities and move forward from there. That’s what we started doing in 2016 during our 350-year commemoration and what we are continuing to do going forward.

 

 

“How do we do that? A lot of people talk about deconolising history, but in the words of our good friend Professor Denis Goldberg, we do deconolisation of history. We give people a platform to have a voice, to tell their stories and to be recognised. We want them to remember, heal and learn through this process; whether it be via an exhibition, a debate, a community forum or a traditional ceremony.

“The Castle of Good Hope is a self-sufficient public entity. We generate income via our commercial tourism and event activities, which in turn help us fund community heritage initiatives. We rely heavily on partnerships to do development work and appeal to corporate South Africa to support us in order for us to grow our heritage, culture and education department. The fact that our Department of Defence is looking after the maintenance of the Castle, is a huge bonus.

Recently we launch a 350-legacy project, focusing on the passing of the history onto the youth of today. Even though the 350-commemoration was concluded in 2016, the story has actually just begun.We have created a timeline of the inclusive history of the Castle – from when it was first built up until 2016. The timeline, as seen above, includes untold stories of the past as well as the recognition of unsung heroes and warriors. These timelines have been rolled out in 72 schools nationwide with the aim of getting them rolled out into 400 more throughout the country. We want our kids to feel included and become excited about their heritage.

 

 

“We also know that the youth nowadays learn through technology, so we have developed an interactive website, virtual tour and video which would speak to them in a language that they understand. We are in the process of developing an app that they would be able to download onto their phones and tablets, which makes history available to them immediately and in a fun way.

“We are positioning ourselves as an exciting, forward-thinking heritage site. People – whether they are locals or tourists – want an experience. They don’t want to stand at a glass window looking in; they’re looking for interaction – touching, feeling, talking, engaging. We are therefore working hard to ensure our product is interactive.

“Over and above all the exhibitions, we also host a variety of events…. from flower shows to lifestyle markets, from music festivals to conferences and weddings.

“We want to open our doors to not only tourists, but to locals, to Capetonians. People whose lives have links here – and who may not even know it.”

 

 

SA Tourism Services Association
Frequently Asked Questions For Tourists Travelling To SA [PDF 2MB]
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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

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Festive Season Preparedness Plan 2019/20

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An infographic with tips and emergency contact numbers.

DOWNLOAD the infographic here.

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Contact Number:
021 487 6552

Four steps for visitor safety.

DOWNLOAD the infographic here.

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DOWNLOAD the infographic here.

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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.

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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).

February 2020
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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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