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Historical walks and visits you must make in Cape Town

Cape Town is a city where every street corner, bench and statue is steeped in history, or etched with timeless significance. So any time you visit Cape Town is the perfect time to get your necessary history fix – whether it’s enjoying tours, browsing museums or exploring the city’s streets.

These are some of Cape Town’s most historical walks and visits to enjoy when you explore the city:

1) A Waterfront Historical Walking Tours

As one of South Africa’s most popular tourist attractions, the V&A Waterfront is always a world-class experience, whether you’re shopping, strolling or dining. And if you add to that a historical walking tour –  be it guided or self-guided – then it becomes a modern, cultural and historic experience in one!

With some 22 landmarks found in and around the V&A Waterfront, history buffs can peel back the pages on all kinds of rich historical stories – some of which can even be traced back to the time of famed Dutch settler, Jan van Riebeeck.

Join a guided historical walking tour and delve into early Dutch, British, Flemish and Cape Malay, cultures and histories. The 1.5-hour-long tour starts at the Chavonnes Battery Museum, and spans across sites like the Clock Tower, Alfred Basin, SAS Somerset and Breakwater Prison, coming to an end at the Amphitheatre.

Note: Tours are dependent on demand. But if you can’t join a guided tour, why not head on a self-guided one? Collect your free map from the Information Centre before you set off.

For more information on the V&A Waterfront’s Historical Walking Tours, contact (021) 416 6230/408 4600.

Historical walks and visits you must make in Cape Town

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2) District Six Museum

The District Six Museum tells a powerful, heart-wrenching tale of the forced removal and eviction of Cape Town’s District Six residents during the Apartheid era. Opened in 1994, the museum is both a reminder of the past and a way of gently paying respect to those who suffered at the government’s steely hands.

Declared a National Heritage Site in 2006, the museum has played a key role in the process of healing and restoration, and for this and many other reasons, is a wonderful place to explore.

For more information on the District Six Museum, contact: (021) 466 7200.

3) Castle of Good Hope

Historical walks and visits you must make in Cape Town

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Erected in 1666, the Castle of Good Hope has come a long way since it was first established to provide a supply depot for Dutch East India Company (VOC) ships. Today, it’s South Africa oldest surviving colonial-era building and one of its most popular to boot.

Whether you explore the Castle grounds, head inside its old chambers or browse the Castle Military Museum and Iziko Museum’s William Fehr Collection, you’re in for a right history lesson – with fun key ceremonies and cannon-firing demonstrations thrown in for good measure!

Afterwards, enjoy a homely light meal at the De Goeweneur Restaurant.

For more information on the Castle of Good Hope, contact: (021) 787 1249.

4) South African Jewish Museum

Historical walks and visits you must make in Cape Town

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Situated a hop, skip and jump away from National Parliament, the South African Jewish Museum pays tribute to one of the world’s most tragic and horrendous historical happenings: The Holocaust.

Opened by the late President Nelson Mandela and anti-apartheid activist, Helen Suzman in 2000, it is Cape Town’s only custom-built museum to covers the history of South Africa – and the world’s – Jews.

Experience moving tales of courage, conquerable cruelty and so much more through personal accounts, audio-visual presentations and interactive displays.

Note: Remember to take your ID or driver’s licence with.

For more information on the South African Jewish Museum, contact: (021) 465 1546.

5) Simon’s Town Walking History Tour

simons-town-walking tour

Expert tour guide Joline Young is a personable and wonderfully well-versed guide, with a deeply rooted history and knowledge of the families involved in shaping history this naval town’s landscape over the centuries.

While the tour focusses primarily on the deep and ugly history of slavery in Simon’s Town, it also includes a visit to the town’s Cape Malay museum.

Note: It starts outside the Admiralty House and it is advisable to don comfortable walking shoes and bring some bottled water along.

For more information on the Simon’s Town Walking History Tour, contact: (076) 613 8504.

Conclusion: These are just some of the city’s most wonderful and memorable walking tours and historical visits that you simply have to do when you visit Cape Town.