Out trip to Southern Africa, Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa

Castle of Good Hope, South Africa – Southern Africa: Part XI

This post is about our second day in lovely Cape Town. It was again time to set sail for new adventures. The first stop of the day eventually came to be the Castle of Good Hope. It was not our original plan, but when traveling you never know what will actually happen.

The Plan For The Day

The initial plan for our second day in Cape Town was not that extensive. We really just wanted to do two things. The first thing on our list was the famous Table Mountain. Quite surprisingly we also wanted to do some sightseeing with the Hop-On Hop-Off buses. In general, we never use those red buses, but a tight schedule made us opt for this choice.

As our bad luck would have it the first part of our plan didn’t look promising. On this particular day, Table Mountain was closed for visits due to poor weather conditions. Strong winds and bad visibility had us sit down and set up a new plan.

We decided to start with the Hop-On Hop-Off buses at once. There are a few different lines in Cape Town and we wanted to try the short yellow route before checking the status for Table Mountain a second time in the afternoon. The decision was to continue with the blue route if the mountain continued to be closed. While the yellow line stops in the city center, the blue line is a longer mini peninsula tour that takes around 2 hours.

Along the yellow route, it was the Castle of Good Hope which was our main target. As for the blue line, we had more possibilities; Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, the World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary as well as Hout Bay with their seals. Once we had made our plan, we purchased the tickets and set off on the yellow line.

Cape Town Hop-On Hop-Off: The Yellow Line

The yellow line, or the Cape Town Yellow Downtown Tour as it is named, has seven stops and takes approximately  30 minutes. We were quite excited about sitting on the top of the bus. It was also interesting to listen to the information about each place we passed, these included several of the main downtown sights.

There was the impressive St. George’s Cathedral, the nostalgic Mount Nelson Hotel, and the famous District Six. Especially the stories about District Six are worth remembering as they form such an integral part of Capetonian and South African history. During the apartheid regime, the forced removal of around 60.000 people from District Six took place. The area had been declared a “whites only” area and the houses of the inhabitants were demolished. New housing projects in the area have since been restricted and it is today a green part of the city, with large empty fields just a stone’s throw from the center.

Castle of Good Hope

It did not take long before it was time for us to get off the bus. We had arrived at the Castle of Good Hope. The castle was built by the Dutch East India Company between the years 1666 and 1679. This makes it the oldest colonial building in South Africa that still stands. The Castle of Good Hope is a star fort, which means that the external walls are built in the shape of a start to better reflect canon balls from attacking forces.

The castle is a reflection of South Africa’s complex history. These days it is a popular venue for workshops, meetings, events, and art exhibitions.

Our Short Stop at The Castle of Good Hope

Arriving at the Castle of Good Hope we, first of all, noticed that the castle was a lot smaller than we had expected. The walls are not as high as some European fortresses, but the size would soon turn out to be larger than at first sight. The shape of the castle means that a big part is not visible and the star shape makes it a long distance to walk along the walls. We paid a small entrance fee to enter the castle and the lady at the reception warned us that extensive reconstruction work was in progress. This meant that many parts of the castle were closed to visitors.

It was certainly possible to feel the historical importance of the castle while walking around the walls. We spent around an hour walking around on the castle grounds as well as up on the walls to enjoy the views. Afterward, we walked back a few hundred meters to the tourist center. There we heard that Table Mountain would probably not open at all that day. So we set off on the Cape Town Blue Mini Peninsula Tour instead.

Join Us in Exploring Southern Africa

Here are all the posts belonging to the series about our trip to South Africa and Namibia. Read the parts by clicking on the links below:

Join us as we explore Southern Africa

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