Discover The Cape

May 2005 Newsletter

Cape Town Accommodation, Tours & Travel

Did You See 'em at The Museum?

The South African Museum

I was lying on the floor staring at my ceiling the other day. It was an unbearably hot day, my air-conditioning had tragically packed in and I had an unerring feeling that I would combust at any moment. Just then Dave (a good mate of mine who occasionally pops in) arrived, looking rather breathless. "Hey Caped Discoverer," he said excitedly. "Get up, we're off to the museum, and not just any museum - the South African museum, based in Cape Town." I looked at him strangely, wondering why he was speaking in such a strange manner. I was too tired to question him, so I slowly pulled myself up and off we trundled.

A Piece of Cape Town History

The museum, situated in the Gardens, was founded in 1825, making it...well..really old. In 1897 it moved to it's present address in Queen Victoria Street, and has been there ever since. So what can one find at the museum? Well, that's pretty hard to define really. There are literally hundreds of exhibitions on offer, ranging from meteorites and rock formations to the huge lifelike dinosaurs which have always been a personal favourite of mine. Learn about the development of mankind, ancient cultures and technologies and even the history of toy-making. Yes, it can be absolute heaven for "anoraks" - people who salivate at the prospect of seeing the display on middle Devonian fossils - but it can also be an interesting place for Average Joe's like myself and Dave, who surprised me with his vast knowledge of marine invertebrates. I suppose that's the beauty of museums, it makes people smarter - or at least leaves the impression that one is smarter.

Plenty to See

I read on the brochure I found that for every artifact on display, there are over a thousand stored away somewhere, probably incredibly valuable too...mmm, if I could just find out where they're kept...maybe round up some mates... Anyway I digress, the museum is pretty vast and I'm a perpetually slow walker so I never managed to see everything on my visit there. Able bodied persons should be able to make a full day of it though and leave the hallowed halls of the museum all the more wiser for the experience.

What Does it Cost?

"Wow, this sounds really great Caped Discoverer, what are the costs involved?" I hear some of you asking. Well, for what they offer, I think it's pretty worthwhile paying them a visit. Adults pay a measly R8 to get in (the price of bottled water at some greedy corner shops) and for everyone else it's free. Yes that's right, free, the favourite word of yours truly. Pensioners, kids and students (provided you have your student cards) do not have to pay a cent. Sundays are free for everyone, and they're open for 363 days of the year (excluding Christmas and Good Friday).

If anyone is interested in this sort of thing, there's also a little shop which I didn't really bother checking out but I suppose it's where you can buy little museum novelty items. ie: "My parents visited the Tyrannosaurus Rex and all I got was this lousy T-shirt".

Easy Access

There are also secure and easy-access parking available, a cafe for munchies (although shockingly, this was temporarily closed!) and conference facilities for anyone wanting to throw a conference shindig at a museum. I noticed a few ramps at the museum as well so they also have disabled access, which is always good as anyone who's wheelchair bound will tell you it's near impossible going up or down flights of stairs.

So check it out when you have time. I may even pay them another visit this weekend. Being a perpetual shuffler, I may just get to see the rest of the museum on my second sitting.

Until next month then.

Signing off.
The Caped Discoverer


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South African Museum

The South African Museum


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