The Western Cape has a couple of places to transport you back in time. Historical sites with their well-preserved architecture have been transformed into interesting experience for locals and tourists to enjoy.
The Castle of Good Hope
There are many historical things to do in Cape Town but when it comes to history, the Castle of Good Hope should be on your list. The castle is the oldest surviving building in South Africa. It was built by the Dutch Indian Company and was the centre of civilian, political and military life in the Cape since 1679 and is now a symbol of the colonial past of the country.
Dorp Street in Stellenbosch
Stellenbosch – Stellies as locals call it – is definitely an option when looking for day trips from Cape Town. Stellies was one of the earliest established towns and it has one of the longest rows of old buildings surviving in any major town in Southern Africa. Most of the buildings date back to the 19th century which gives Stellenbosch its own particular charm. When in Stellenbosch, Dorp Street is a delightful place to wander around. On every corner of this local treasure, you can wonder at the beautiful Cape Dutch architecture, boutiques, restaurants and coffee shops.
Groot Constantia is the where the first wine farm was established in South Africa and it was declared a National Monument in 1984.
The experiences offered in Groot Constantia includes wine tasting, cellar tours and an exhibition in the Iziko museum which is dedicated to the life of slaves during the early Cape Colonial period.
This World Heritage Site is best known as the prison where Nelson Mandela, South-Africa’s former President, anti-apartheid activist and father of South Africa’s democracy spent 18 years of his life. Robben Island’s tours are most of the time led by former political prisoner who will tell you more about life conditions in prison and of course show you Nelson Mandela’s cell as well as the place where he wrote his book “long walk to freedom”.
Bo-Kaap is the area of the city with all the multi-colour houses you’ve probably seen already! This neighbourhood was established by freed slaves from South East Asia, these former slaves are now known as Cape Malay. The museum is actually a house from 1768 and is decorated as the home of a Muslim family from the 19th century.
Franschhoek actually means ‘the french corner” because of the French settlement in 1688 and is a place of historical interest. It is known as the food and wine capital of South Africa. Franschhoek is worth visiting because of everything it has to offer: breathtaking views and landscapes, beautiful wine farms and all its gourmet restaurants! The most popular activity in the area is obviously wine tasting.
Company’s garden is the oldest garden in the country and only a 5-minute walk from Ashanti Backpackers. The garden is home to museums, historic buildings and art gallery. Nearby, you could also visit St George’s Cathedral, the Great Synagogue and the Holocaust centre.
While taking a stroll in the garden, keep your eyes peeled for cute squirrels and get your camera ready!
Want to pay a visit to these iconic places? Have a look at our tours:
- Bike tour through the city centre’s highlights
- Wine tour in Stellenbosch
- Township and Robben Island tour
- Full day wine tour in Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Paarl