Cape Town CBD (central business district) is the perfect place to start exploring the Mother City. It has a diverse range of historical buildings, parks, coffee shops, restaurants, bars, theaters, museums, craft markets, nightclubs, and shopping malls. Cape Town is a must-see in South Africa “The Rainbow Nation”.
Let me show you which are the most interesting places you can visit just with a quick walk starting from Green Market Square.
1. Green Market Square
Also known as the ‘historical centre of Cape Town’, the Green Market Square is located in the middle of Cape Town’s city center, right in front of the Old Town House.
Since its construction in 1696 it was used as a slave market, a vegetable market, a place for political protests and a parking lot. Nowadays you will find a flea market there, where African souvenirs and crafts are sold, so you’ll be able to find many colorful and impressive souvenirs, gifts and items to use every day.
Read more about the Green Market Square here.
2. Piece of Berlin Wall
This Part of the Berlin Wall was given as a gift to Nelson Mandela when he visited Berlin. It’s importance relies in that it symbolizes the end of the apartheid in 1989 as well as a piece of German History, when this country was also separated.
Read more about the piece of Berlin Wall in Cape Town here.
3. The Cape Town Club
The Club was once only for prosperous and influential citizens, nowadays it is open for members of all cultures, ages and sex.
You can also dine in the Club’s Restaurant and get a throwback feeling to the time of the Gentlemen Clubs.
Read more about the Cape Town Club here.
4. The Race Classification Appeal Board
The two benches marked ‘whites only’ and ‘non-whites only’ are located outside the old Race Classification Appeal Board where people were classified in races. This is a strong sign of discrimination that reminds us about the errors committed in the past. One interesting test was “the pencil test”: if a pencil was placed in your head and it fell it meant that you were white.
Read more about the Race Classification Appeal Board here.
5. The Company’s Garden
The Company’s Garden is one of the prettiest parks in the center of Cape Town. Surrounded by big buildings and loud cars, the park is a quiet spot with interesting flora and fauna. There is even a small restaurant that offers local food.
You will find tourists and locals there, visiting the rose garden, looking at the historical statues, admiring the oldest pear tree in South Africa, watching birds in the aviary or just relaxing in the sun.
Read more about The Company’s Garden here.
6. The Tuynhuys
A famous building next to The Company’s Garden is the Tuynhuys. It is an impressive, huge building that reminds of Dutch architecture and has a beautiful garden in front of it.
The Tuynhuys is used as a ceremonial office by the president of South Africa.
Read more about the Tuynhys here.
7. Houses of Parliament
Only 400 meters next to the Tuynhuys, the Houses of Parliament is located. This is another imposing building with an important function, it is the place for general assembly of the National Council of Provinces.
It is a very beautiful building with a central dome and Corinthian pavilions, definitely worth to visit.
Read more about the Houses of Parliament here.
8. Slave Lodge
Government Offices Building, Old Supreme Court, SA Cultural History Museum and nowadays Slave Lodge are the many names of the building that reflect its long and rich history.
Today, Slave Lodge is a museum with the umbrella theme `From human wrongs to human rights` and you can explore the long history of slavery in South Africa there. There is also the possibility to rent an audio-guided tour that will give you insight into the dismal living conditions of that time.
- Adult: $30 ZAR
- 6-18 years: $15 ZAR
From Monday to Saturday from 10:00 – 17:00
Official website: https://www.iziko.org.za/museums/slave-lodge
9. City Hall
Another must-see in Cape Town is its City Hall with the Turret Clock that strikes every hour (the designer was the same of the Big Ben Clock).
This is the place where Nelson Mandela gave his first speech after he was released from prison. The 27 years he spent there and the fact that he made a legal transition into a black majority government made him a true “father of the nation”.
The City Hall no longer houses the offices of the City but it has become a central place for cultural and creative events like the City Hall session.
Read more about the City Hall here.
10. Castle of Good Hope
The castle of Good Hope is the oldest colonial building in South Africa and is a reminder of Cape Town’s colonial past. The fortress was built by the Dutch East India Company in a pentagon shape and shines in a gentle yellow color. It was a rehabilitation station for sailors suffering diseases.
Read more about the Castle of Good Hope here.
Extra 1. Project at Church Square
At the moment you are able to see a colorful project at church Square. On a giant 500 sqm grass rug you can see rainbow colored deck-chairs and a giant rainbow that was made by a local construction company from 500 liter buckets to represent the amount of water the city must get usage down due to the drought.
Despite the importance of this topic, the installation puts you in a good mood just like the whole `rainbow nation` does.
Read more about the project here.
Extra 2. Flower market
Walking down the streets in the centre of Cape Town you will find a flower market with a lot of different colorful flowers.
If you are lucky, you’ll see Proteas, the national flower of South Africa, that overshadows every other flower with its unique look.
Read more about proteas here.
If you every visit South Africa don’t miss your chance to visit Cape Town and start exploring the city on its center!
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