King of the Castle
Greetings fellow discoverers and welcome to another fun filled newsletter. Going along the same vein as last month, I thought we'd take a look at another relaxing way to pass the time during this rather warm month of November. Of course the beach is an obvious draw-card, and Cape Town is blessed with an abundance of beautiful white sands and blue sea. However, if you have a pasty complexion or you're badly out of shape you may be reluctant to rub shoulders with the bronzed bodies at the seaside. If this is the case I suggest you take a trip down to the castle.
Not the Local Pub
"The Castle? Isn't that a pub in the southern suburbs?" some of you may be asking. No discoverers, I'm referring to the Castle of Good Hope, or "Die Casteel De Goede Hoop" if you want to sound like a smartass among your friends and peers. The castle is the oldest surviving building in South Africa, and thus is also one of the ugliest constructions you're likely to find in Cape Town today. Steeped in history though, it serves as a boon to historians and people who enjoy studying and speculating on the past (which would also make them historians so I'm being redundant here).
Cape Town Castle
Built by the Dutch sometime between 1666 and 1679 (No one's quite sure. They never kept calendars in those days) the castle was originally built as a fort in preparation for war with Britain, as the Dutch and English were involved in an almighty tiff at the time. In later years the castle served as the regional headquarters to the South African army when they spent time down in the Cape, and not surprisingly, they spent a fair amount of time down here. In 1936 the Castle of Good Hope was declared a National Monument by whoever was responsible for making those sorts of declarations at the time, and today it serves as a tourist attraction, it's castle doors laying open to the public.
Daily Guided Tours
There a daily guided tours for your convenience, where a knowledgeable guide will bombard you with historical information and little-known facts. Otherwise their doors are open from 9:00 to 16:00, giving you 7 hours to roam around the darkened corners of the ancient building. There are self guide maps of the castle on sale in English, Afrikaans, Spanish, German, Dutch, French and Italian but disturbingly, no Flemish. (Belgians enjoy visiting South Africa too, you know).
Museums and Restaurants
There's a military museum where you can gawp in amazement at the ancient weapons and attire worn by soldiers of yesteryear, as well as breathe in the smell of "old" which only a museum can emit. If you're into the whole military aspect there are also daily ceremonies which takes place at 11:00 and 12:00. The cannon you hear everyday at 12:00? This is where it comes from. There is also a restaurant situated nearby called "De Goewerneur" which I'm assuming means "The Governor". The restaurant also boasts a breathtaking view of Table Mountain and I have it on good authority that their scones are simply to die for. They also specialize in South African dishes so a visit there may not be amiss.
Arts and culture fundis are catered for by the William Fehr Collection. No, this isn't the latest clothing line of a fashion designer but a collection of artworks reflecting aspects of cultural life from days gone by. In layman's terms, you'll see some paintings of really old people standing next to really old buildings. There are also contemporary art exhibitions which are occasionally held there, so who knows, you may just discover the artworks of an undiscovered, future genius. Or not.
How Much Does it Cost and When is it Open?
sound really great, but how much will it cost me?" I hear you ask.
Entrance fees will cost you R18 if you're an adult, R15 if you're a
pensioner and R8 if you're anything else. They're open every day
throughout the year except on Christmas day and New Year's day (but
really, why would you want to be there on those days anyway?) They boast
excellent disabled facilities, and while they don't cater for the Flemish
they do have Braille text for the blind.
The Caped Discoverer
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