Discover Western Cape’s Rich History
The Western Cape is a region steeped in history. Originally inhabited by the indigenous Khoi people, the Cape was later populated by European settlers, including French Huguenots, the Dutch and the British, as well as Malay slaves, all of whom arrived in the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries. This range of cultural influences can still be observed all across the Cape.
Historic Hotels in Western Cape
To experience the storied history and multicultural heritage of the region, stay in one of Western Cape’s historic hotels. Opt for a characterful 19th-century country house packed with Victorian-era furniture and flourishes, or stay in an even older manor house set amid the vines of the Cape Winelands. Functional yet rustic guesthouses offer great options for budget travellers.
Western Cape Attractions for History Enthusiasts
Whether you’re a keen amateur historian or simply want to know more about South Africa’s past, the Western Cape is an excellent spot for a history lesson. Start at the famous Robben Island, home to the prison where the late Nelson Mandela was once held. It now functions as a museum and visitors can even enter the small cell where the former president was confined. For more information on Apartheid-era South Africa, visit the District Six Museum in Cape Town.
Explore Museums and Fortresses from Your Western Cape Hotel
Rewind the clock even further back at the Castle of Good Hope, a colonial fortress built by the Dutch East India Company in the latter half of the 17th Century. The Iziko Slave Lodge in Cape Town, which has served as a brothel, post office, jail, mental asylum and court in addition to being a residence for slaves, also recalls the early colonial era. Now a museum, the lodge documents the experiences of slaves in the Cape.
For some French flair, wander the streets of Franschhoek, a popular 18th-century destination for incoming Huguenots. Evidence of its French heritage is everywhere, from its street names to its wine cellars. Delve into the history of the Western Cape’s Islamic community at the Bo-Kaap Museum in Cape Town. For a primer on the Cape’s 350-year-old wine-producing history, Groot Constantia is the go-to spot.