As luck would have it, many of Cape Town’s most fascinating historical sights are located within comfortable walking distance of each other, which makes a walking tour an ideal way to immerse yourself in the city’s rich history. For guests staying at the 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa, a guided or self-guided walking tour around the fascinating and atmospheric neighbourhoods of Bo Kapp and District Six comes highly recommended. From charming colourful homes on cobbled streets to cultural diversity, poignant museums and South Africa’s oldest building, here’s what visitors can expect to discover on a walking tour of Cape Town.
Begin at the Bo Kapp Museum
The Bo Kapp is one of Cape Town’s most historic and atmospheric neighbourhoods, making it the ideal place to begin a walking tour. The Museum is a celebration of local heritage in an area that began life as a buzzing and diverse community of creatives and merchants, many of whom had emigrated to South Africa from Malaysia, Sri Lanka and other parts of Africa. However, it suffered irrevocable damage during Apartheid, when over 60,000 people were forced to leave their homes to make way for a ‘whites only’ neighbourhood. Today, visitors come here to not only learn about the struggle and devastation of apartheid but also to appreciate the area’s multiculturalism.
Explore the history of District Six
After exploring the brightly coloured houses and cobbled streets of Bo Kapp, head down Wale Street to arrive in District Six. Take a tour that begins at the excellent District Six Museum and then wends its way around the district’s major landmarks. Along the way, visitors will hear the moving first-hand accounts of locals who lived through the area’s momentous events.
Enjoy a grand finale at the Castle of Good Hope
Five minutes’ walk from the District Six Museum you’ll find the Castle of Good Hope. Hailed as the oldest building in the country, the magnificent structure dates back to the 17th century, when Jan van Riebeeck of the Dutch East India Company ordered the construction of a military fort. Today, it serves as a sight of historical importance and an impeccably preserved example of colonial architecture. Walk around the grounds, take a guided tour or work your way around the exhibits in the Castle museum. Moreover, if you’re lucky enough to visit before midday you may well witness the thrilling spectacle of the firing of the signal cannon, once used to announce the sighting of an enemy ship at sea.
Explore Cape Town’s History from the 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa.
Image credits: Lead image © iStock/brytta. Bo Kaap © iStock/espiegle. Wale Street © iStock/Dandamanwasch. Castle of Good Hope © iStock/mikedabell.