The Castle Of Good Hope, The Incidental Daddy
Built between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) the Castle of Good Hope is the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa. Built by soldiers, sailors and slaves, the walls are clad in local stone. The Castle of Good Hope was to fulfill its role as a replenishment station of the VOC and to protect its interests along the “spice route”. The Castle was a welcome sight for sailors that travelled up to six months at sea and referred to Cape Town as the "Tavern of the Seas". A tour here takes one back in history and the dungeons and torture chamber are a sobering reminder that it wasn’t all sunshine and roses.
It has survived many challenges in its time and was constantly under threat of being demolished for personal and materialistic gain. Sentiment and military authorities are to be thanked for evoking public support in favour of retaining the Castle of Good Hope.
Sections of the moat, which previously formed part of the defence system of the Castle, were rebuilt in 1992. Protecting Dutch interests against the British and French obviously required soldiers and therefore a military presence and there is still a military presence at the Castle of Good Hope today.
The original balcony was built in 1695 then rebuilt in its present form by the VOC between 1786 and 1790.
From this balcony proclamations and announcements were made to the soldiers, slaves and civilians at the Cape. All judicial sentences were read here, and official visitors welcomed to the Castle. This balcony leads to the famous William Fehr Collection of historical paintings and period furniture, which have a special relevance to the Cape. Amazing!
The original entrance to the Castle, the ‘Waterpoort’ was located in the wall between Buuren and Catzenellenbogen Bastions. But the sea level at high tides made access impossible. Today this is the entrance to the Military Museum. The Castle Military Museum depicts Cape Military History and has one of the most impressive sword collections in the country.
The Incidental Daddy Recommends: Visit the dungeons, be there for the firing of the canon and walk the walls of the Castle. Also have a Gatsby at the coffee shop – amazing!
Informationhas pricing @ R28.00 per adult, R15.00 per pensioner and R12.00 per student or child. Gates
Open at 09h00 daily with the last entry at 15h30. A couple of specials to catch are the Key Ceremony and Firing of the Signal Canon. For more call them on +27 21 7871260 for more info or to make sure you get there for the guided tour. Physical address is corner of Darling and Buitenkant Streets.