Cape Town’s historic holiday attraction – The Castle of Good Hope

Cape Town Holiday Attraction

Cape Town is the Mother City, and like any woman, she has her wiles, drawing people in from afar … Her many attractions include an impressively big Table Mountain, beautiful bays and beaches, internationally acclaimed vineyards around the corner, world-class entertainment acts, historic architecture, colourful cultures and foods, and much more to boot.

Whether you’re looking to come here to close that million-rand deal, shoot your Bollywood movie for cheap, take gran up the revolving cable car, or tan with your spouse at Llandudno, Cape Town has everything to offer. It truly is a world-class tourist and business destination.

Almost always the best place to look for holiday or business accommodation is somewhere in the thick of things, like in the city proper where you’d be close to both the old (Cape Town Castle, for example) and also the new (the International Conference Centre) while enjoying great views of Table Mountain rising above you. City Lodge V&A Waterfront is just such a hotel. It offers guests wonderful, on-your-doorstep shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities!

Cape Town Castle

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The Castle of Good Hope, often simply referred to as Cape Town Castle (since it’s the only one), is situated on prime real estate and can lay claim to being the oldest extant building in the country. How old exactly is that, you ask? Well, it was built between 1666 (the year of the Great Fire of London) and 1679 (the year…uh… that the Cape Town Castle was completed?!)

Strictly speaking, the castle wasn’t called Cape Town Castle or the Castle of Good Hope for a good long while, as it was built by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and so naturally had a Dutch name: Casteel de Goede Hoop. The Castle of Good Hope is a rather poetic name when you think of it and is derived, of course, from the name given to the southern tip of Africa: the Cape of Good Hope.

Arguably, the Castle might’ve been called the Castle of Storms, since originally, albeit briefly, Africa’s tip was named the Cape of Storms. The Portuguese explorers who were the first to navigate around Africa in the 15th century had a rotten time trying to get round the tip because fierce storms kept wrecking their ships.

The Cape of Good Hope

But when Bartholomew Diaz, who managed to outwit the weather and reach modern-day Port Elizabeth, returned home and informed King João II of Portugal of his chosen name for the Cape, João pulled rank and said he wanted a happier name.

João chose The Cape of Good Hope, because rounding Africa meant his kingdom was one step closer to finding a sea route to the spice countries of the east, and when that happened, João looked forward to relieving the Venetians of the burden of making almost all the money involved in transporting spice from Asia into Europe.

So while the ‘Good Hope’ name no longer points to how rough the weather down south can be, it does embrace an optimistic stance that reminds locals that even in hard times, there’s reason to hope for good food and money-making opportunities from the East…

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History and holiday attraction

The history of the Castle’s name aside, what does the Castle have to offer visitors of the here and now? You can take a guided tour around the castle and its grounds, and also visit the military museum. The Castle was for many years the centre of civilian, administrative and military life at the Cape; and while photography is allowed, even encouraged, starting a coup is not!

From war to beauty, the William Fehr Collection, in Iziko Museum, is also housed in the Castle. During his lifetime Dr. Fehr, a South African who loved to collect art that contained historical narrative, gathered together an impressive collection of famous oil paintings, furniture and decorative art, and a viewing of the collection offers the visitor another avenue for walking back in time.

Need some Cape Town accommodation options? Here are a few to get you started…

Cape Town accommodation

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