The Castle of Good Hope

The Castle of Good Hope

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  • Mar, 13 , 24

A recent trip to Cape Town provided me the opportunity to drag my companions to an old fort, as is my custom. Fortunately, I think everyone in enjoyed it.

The Castle of Good Hope is located in downtown Cape Town. It was originally built on the shoreline but, due to the expansion of the port, now lies about a mile inland. It was built by the Dutch East Company between 1666 and 1679, making it one of the oldest large structures left standing in all of South Africa. As something of a fort connoisseur, I would describe the Castle as being especially large and quite well preserved for such an old example.

Tickets are inexpensive (less than $3 US), and visitors get almost free rein of the place on a self-guided tour, which includes a small military museum with displays, which was only partially open during my visit, along with several other nonmilitary mini-museums (Dutch colonial art and artifacts, information about the first voyages around the Cape, etc.).

Museum staff encouraged caution in the surrounding neighborhood; apparently crime is fairly common in this part of town, particularly car break-ins. The fort interior was pretty much deserted, borderline concerningly so, but we did not encounter any problems either inside, at the public parking lot (which was just a block or two away), or in between.

Overall, this is surely one of the top military history sites in all of South Africa, and one that should be palatable even to those less historically inclined, thanks in no small part to the surprisingly grand and attractive architecture to be found within.

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