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An overview of the Western Cape museums
in South Africa

The following is an overview of most of the Western Cape museums in South Africa by location, including descriptions, contact details and website addresses, where available.

The Western Cape province at the south-western tip of the continent of Africa, is an area of such beauty and contrast that few people can visit it without falling in love with it.

Straddling the peninsula is the famous Table Mountain, a spectacular backdrop to the city of Cape Town.

Museums in the Western Cape province by location,...

The South African National Gallery in Cape Town houses some of the most beautiful collections of South African, African, British, French, Dutch and Flemish art in the country - Western Cape Museums in South Africa
The South African National Gallery in Cape Town houses some of the most beautiful collections of South African, African, British, French, Dutch and Flemish art in the country - Western Cape museums
Western Cape Museums in South Africa - Photo: Ian Junor


The lighthouse at L'Agulhas, 1 km from Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point of Africa is the country's second oldest lighthouse. Situated on a dramatic stretch of coast, it houses a museum



At the centre of a patchwork of wheat and barley fields, the heritage of the Caledon community is reflected in the Caledon Museum, a Victorian house museum filled with artefacts donated by members of the community.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
14 Constitution Street
Tel: (0281) 21511
Fax: (0281) 41427
Mon-Fri: 8.00 -13:00 nd 14:00-16:30
Sat: 9.00-13:00


Cape Town

The South African Museum, the oldest museum in sub-Saharan Africa, was established in 1825. It includes the modern and spectacular Whale Well, the only example of a quagga foal, the famous Lydenburg Heads and Linton rock paintings, the highly acclaimed Wonders of Nature exhibition, and a great diversity of natural history.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
25 Queen Victoria Street
Tel: (012) 24-3330
Fax: (021) 24-6716
Daily: 10:00-17:00

The South African Cultural History Museum, the oldest cultural history collection in the country, is housed in a magnificent old building to which modern facilities have been added. It showcases the natural history of South Africa, as well as the early human inhabitants of the subcontinent. The collection is noted particularly for its artefacts of Khoisan rock art and its exhibition on the Khoi people. Specialist collections include philately, numismatics, weapons, costume, musical instruments and decorative arts. It has the only collection of postal stones in the world and is the only museum in South Africa with a planetarium attached to it.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
49 Adderley Street
Tel: (021) 461-8280
Fax: (021) 461-9592
Mon-Sat: 09:30-16:30

Bertram House, a Georgian house museum, is furnished in the style of a wealthy British residence in early 19th Century Cape Town. Exhibits include superb collections of furniture, porcelain and silver. The period garden is a delight.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
Government Avenue, Cape Town
Tel: (021) 24-9381
Fax: (021) 461-9592
Tues-Sat: 09:30-16:30

The influence and intermingling of Eastern and Western cultures brought by slaves, early political exiles and prisoners from the Dutch East Indies in the 17th Century, is evident in the Bo-Kaap Museum, a 1760 house furnished in the style of a 19th Century Muslim home.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
71 Wale Street
Tel: (021) 24-3846
Fax: (021) 461-9592
Mon-Sat: 09:30 - 16:30

Early Cape medical history continues to live in the Cape Medical Museum, housed in the former residence of the superintendent of the defunct city hospital. It is an intriguing cultural heritage.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
Portswood Road, Green Point, Cape Town
Tel: (021)418.5663
Fax: (021)418.5663
Mon-Fri: 9.00 - 16:00
Weekends by appointment

The District Six Museum, housed in what was once the old Methodist Church, balanced on the border between the outskirts of the city centre, Buitenkant Street, and the barren wasteland of District Six, is a fascinating, constantly changing living memorial to the community of this once vibrant Cape Town suburb which was forcibly removed in pursuit of the policy of apartheid. More than just a static display, it is an arena which enables the community to reaffirm its identity, celebrate its heritage, and confront the complexities of its history.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
25A Buitenkant Street
Tel: (021) 461-8745 (Linda Fortune or Noor Ebrahim)
E-mail: or
Mon - Sat: 09:00-16:00
Sundays by appointment only

The recently opened Gold of Africa Museum, is housed in the beautifully restored Martin Melck House, built in 1781 as a parsonage for the Old Lutherann Church next door to it. It consists of the Barbier-Mueller collection, brought back to Africa at considerable cost from the private museum in Geneva. It documents the timeline of the world and of gold, describes the trade and history of gold in Africa, and showcases gold objects recovered from grave sites at Mapungubwe Hill and Thlamela. The exhibit has more than 350 West African gold artifacts.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
96 Strand Street
Tel: (021) 421-0426

Groot Constantia, South Africa's oldest producing wine estate, is home to the Grand Manor House instantly recognisable as the best-known example of Cape Dutch architecture. The museum collection depicts the heyday of wealthy lifestyles at the end of the 18th Century.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
Groot Constantia off Constantia Rd
Tel: (021) 794-5067
Fax: (021) 794-7697
Daily: 10:00-17:00

The exhibition at the Cape Town Holocaust Centre comprises text and photo panels, archival documents and film footage, multimedia displays, artefacts, and recreated environments. Among the themes covered are racism and discrimination, the Third Reich, ghettos, The Final Solution, deportation and the death camps, Rhodes Island, rescue, resistance and liberation. In the final, and very moving, section, which includes a portrait gallery, local survivors give their testimony.
First floor Albow Centre, 88 Hatfield Street
Sun-Thurs: 10:00-17:00
Fridays 10:00-13:00
Closed on Saturdays and Jewish Holidays

The Koopmans De Wet House, 19th century home of the socially and politically prominent Marie Koopmans De Wet, was once the cultural salon of Cape Town. It contains a valuable collection of Cape furniture, Eastern ceramics and Dutch Delftware. The vine in the courtyard is reputed to be one of the oldest in the country. The period murals are an outstanding feature of the interior.
35 Strand Street, Cape Town, 8001
Tel: (021) 24-2473
Fax: (021) 461-9592
Tues-Sat: 09:30-16:30

The South African Jewish Museum explores the social, intellectual and cultural contributions made by South Africa's Jewish community. Multi-media displays explore the themes of memory, reality and dreams.
Tel: (021) 465-1546
Fax: (021) 465-0284
Sun-Thurs: 10:00-17:00
Fri: 10:00-14:00
Closed on Saturdays and Jewish Holidays
Open on Public Holidays

The superbly restored Josephine Mill is Cape Town's only surviving and operational watermill. Built in 1840 it stands in an idyllic setting on the banks of the Liesbeek River, a reminder of four centuries of human activity on the site.
Boundary Road, Newlands
Tel: (021) 686-4939
Fax: (021) 686-6404
Mon-Fri: 09:00-16:00
Weekends on request

The military history of the Cape from 1510 is on show at the ancient Castle of Good Hope Military Museum.
Castle Street
Tel: (021) 469-1136
Fax: (021) 469-0208
Daily: 09:00-16:00

Also at the Castle is the William Fehr Collection, a superb collection of furniture, paintings, ceramics and silver which exemplifies the Cape of Good Hope as a crossroads of East and West at the tip of Africa.
Castle Street
Tel: (021) 469-1060
Fax: (021) 469-1076
Daily: 09:30-16:00

Robben Island is known throughout the world for its most famous prisoner, Nelson Mandela, who spent much of his 27-year impriosnment there. It has been declared a World Heritage Site in recognition of its human rights iconic status. The Robben Island Museum was established as a national monument and a national museum in September 1996. The museum tour starts from the Nelson Mandela Gateway Building which comprises a ferry terminal, high-tech exhibitions and the new "front door" to The Island. The tour on The Island incorporates sites such as the house in which Robert Sobukwe, leader of the Pan Africanist Congress was confined for years, and the cell in which Mandela was imprisoned, as well as sites testifying to the Island's role over the centuries as a dumping ground for society's discards, from lepers to freedom fighters.
Jetty 1, Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town
Tel: (021) 419-1300
Fax: (021) 419-1057
E-mail: or

The South African Maritime Museum in the heart of Cape Town's old working harbour features SAS Somerset, the last boom defence vessel in existence; a ship model workshop; a lighthouse multimedia spectacular and a hands-on children's discovery cove.
Dock Road, Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
Tel: (021) 419-2505
Fax: (021) 419-7332
Daily: 10:00-17:00

The Suid-afrikaanse Sendinggestig Museum, the 1804 slave chapel erected by the South African Missionary Society, is an architectural gem, exquisitely restored. The comprehensive exhibition details Christian missions in the Western Cape and provides a starting point and orientation for touring the mission route.
40 Long Street
Tel: (021) 23-6755
Fax: (021) 23-6755
Mon-Fri: 09:00-16:00
Sat: (School holidays only) 09:00-12:00

Technology and fun meet at the Telkom Exploratorium on a journey that reveals the magic of telecommunications through hands-on exhibits and a historical collection. Discover space communication and the internet and watch a laser show.
Union Castle Building, V and A Waterfront
Tel: (021) 419.5957
Fax: (021) 419.5798
Tues-Sun: 09:00-16:00



The Citrusdal Museum, housed in a charming stone building that was this tiny hamlet's original church, takes you back to the first San (Bushman) inhabitant of the area and includes the pioneering days of the early colonists.
Kerk and Muller Straat
Tel: (022) 921-3210
Mon-Fri: 8:00-13:00 and 14:00-16:30
Sat: 09:00-12:00 (16:30 in season)
Sun: 09:00-16:00 in season

James Mac Gregor, an entrepeneurial Scot, created Craig Royston in 1860 and made his name and fortune in the valley. The Scottish connection is celebrated at the Craig Royston Museum.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
Modderfontein Farm, N7
Tel: (022) 921-2963
Fax: (022) 921-2186
Mon-Sat: 09:00-16:30
Sun: 10:00-16:30 in season.



The butter-making industry of the town is detailed in the Darling Museum and Gallery, which also contains domestic artefacts of earlier times.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
Pastorie Street
(02241) 3361
(02241) 2935
Mon-Fri: 09:00-16:00



The Huguenot Memorial Museum commemorates the French refugees who fled to South Africa to escape from religious persecution and settled in the Cape in 1688. Their contribution to the country is exhibited and can be researched. The more recent history of the town is interpreted alongside its fauna and fynbos.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
Lambrecht Street
Tel: (021) 876-2532
Fax: (021) 576-3649
Mon-Fri: 09:00-17:00
Sat: 09:00-13:00 and 14:00-17:00
Sun: 14:00-17:00



Genadendal is the oldest Moravian mission village in Africa, with church buildings and a school dating back to 1738. The Genadendal Mission and Museum Complex documents its history and its work.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
30km from the N2 on Route R406
Genadendal tourism Bureau
Tel: (028) 251-8279
Fax: (082) 251-8196



Fairies and pixies are normally seen at the bottom of the garden. So is a " long-drop". All three form part of the exhibit at the George Museum. The ear-splitting old forest fire alarm is not the only thing to make you sit up and take notice of the pride of George.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
Junction York and Courtenay Street
Tel: (0441) 73-5343
Fax: (0441) 74-0354
Mon-Fri: 09:00-16:30
Sat: 09:00-12:30



The Elgin Apple Museum, one of only two apple museums in the world, reflects the history of the apple industry in South Africa.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
Main Road
Tel: (021) 859-2042
Mon-Sat 09:30-18:00



The waves crash into the Old Harbour Museum, an open-air museum filled with colourful old fishing boats and old stone shacks. Brightly coloured undersea and intertidal creatures peep at you from the interior seawater tanks and the sono-booth connects you to the conversations of whales. There is an active programme of workshops and hikes in the exquisite mountain and marine environment.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
Marine Drive
Tel: (0283) 21475
Fax: (0283) 22-2635
Old Harbour:
Mon-Sat: 09:00-13:00; 14:00-17:00
Photo cottage:
Mon-Fri: 09:00-13:00; 14:00-17:00
Sat: 08:00-13:00; 14:00-16:00


Hout bay

The activities of the valley and its people from wood, to fishing and even mining, is told in homely fashion at the active and community-concerned Hout Bay Museum.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
4 Andrews Road
Tel: (021) 790-3270
Fax: (021) 790-3270
Tues-Sat: 10:00-12:30 and 14:00-16:30
Closed: Sun and Public Holidays



The Angling Museum of the J. L. B. Institute of Ichthyology is the only museum of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere with its displays of fly-fishing, the history of the rod, reel and hooks, and the Coelacanth (old four legs).
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
Old Gaol, cnr Queen and Main Streets
Tel: (0445) 82-6138
Fax: (0461) 23423
Mon-Fri: 09:30 - 16:30
Sat: 09:30-13:00
Opening Hours extended in season



This charming living village in the heart of the Karoo was founded by a young immigrant Scot, James Logan, in 1884 as a refreshment stop for travellers making what was then an interminable journey from Cape Town into the interior on trains without dining cars. He created an "oasis", planted trees and a garden, built his own residence, Tweedside Lodge, and established the famous Hotel Milner which was completed in 1899, and shortly thereafter served as the Headquarters of the Cape Western Command. Matjiesfontein became a fashionable watering place, attracting those who could afford to seek relief for chest complaints in the clear, bright air, among them Olive Schreiner, who lived in her own cottage there for five years. The village was restored in the late 1960s and in 1979 Matjiesfontein was declared a National Heritage Site. Western Cape Museums in South Africa



The Wheat Industry Museum is one of only three museums in the world dealing with wheat industry.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
Main Road
Tel: (0264) 31093
Mon-Thu 08:00-17:00
Fri 08:00-16:00
Weekends on re quest


Mossel bay

The arrival of the two caravels of Bartolemeu Dias in 1488 marked the beginning of Christianity in South Africa. The Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex (Shell, Maritime, Granary and Local History Museums) contains a replica of the caravel which, in 1988, celebrated the voyage made by that intrepid explorer 500 years earlier. It also houses the largest shell museum in Africa and displays on the early Khoisan inhabitants.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
1 Market Street
Tel: (0444) 91-067
Fax: (0444) 91-1915
Mon-Fri: 09:00-16.45
Sat-Sun: 10:00-16:00



The Natale Labia Museum, housed in the former residence of Prince Labia, is now a satellite of the National Gallery and houses a superb permanent collection as well as a stream of interesting temporary exhibitions.
192 Main Road, Muizenberg,
Tel: (021)788-4106
Fax: (021)788-3908
Tues-Sun: 10:00-17:00

Rhodes Cottage Museum, in the modest thatched seaside cottage where Cecil John Rhodes spent the last days of his life, contains personal memorabilia, period furniture and a diorama of his burial place in the Matopos.
246 Main Road, Muizenberg,
Tel: (021)755-1516
Tues-Sun: 10:00-13:00 and 14:00-17:00

The South African Police Services Cultural History Museum, the Western Province's only police museum, includes Het Post Huijs, the region's first policing post, and a display on the Battle of Muizenberg. Cells, single quarters, a court, and a charge office have been recreated.
186 Main Road
Tel: (021)788-7031/35
Fax: (021)788-4120
Mon-Fri: 8:30-15:30
Sat: 09:00-13:00
Sun: 14:00-17:00



The unique theme of a living language is conveyed in the Afrikaans Language Museum through exhibitions that not only dwell on the past but also actively engage daily developments and plan the future. The highly visible Language Monument on Paarl Mountain offers superb views of the surrounding countryside with popular picnic and amphitheatre facilities.
11 Pastorie Ave
Tel: (021) 872-3441/ 2018
Fax: (021) 872-3642
Mon-Fri: 8:00-17:00
By arrangement after hours
Monument: Daily: 08:00-16:30

The Paarl Museum, housed in the Dutch Reformed parsonage built in 1787, has a superb permanent collection of Cape antiques and artefacts reflecting the rich cultural diversity of the town.
303 Main Street
Tel: (021) 872-2651
Fax: (021) 872-3642
Mon-Fri: 10:00-17:00
After hours by request



The Piketberg Cultural Historical Museum is a house museum giving an overview of the local history since 1655 including some anthropological and early agricultural material.
Hoogstraat 4
Tel: (0261) 31126
Fax: (0261) 31380
Mon-Fri: 09:00-14:00


Simon's Town

The Simon's Town Museum is housed in the Residency in which the Governor of the Cape lived in 1777. Its exhibits depict the cultural history of the town; the Royal Navy; the famous dog, Able Seaman Just Nuisance and the wrecks of False Bay.
The Residency, Court Road
Tel: (021) 786-3046
Fax: (021) 786-2391
Mon-Fri: 09:00-16:00
Sat: 10:00-13:00
Sun: 11:00-16:00

The historic mast house in the West Dockyard of the architecturally significant precinct houses the South African Naval Museum. Attractions include a life-size minesweeper, submarine dioramas, and a large collection of ship models and naval relics.
West Dockyard, Court Rd
Tel: (021) 787-4635
Fax: (021) 787-3625
Daily: 10:00-16:00

The score of the apartheid era national anthem, Die Stem, was written in the former Dutch Reformed Church rectory which, as the Stempastorie Museum for National Emblems, now also contains emblems, flags and coats of arms from South Africa's political history.
2 Church Street
Tel: (021) 786-3226
Fax: (021) 461-8280
Tues-Sat: 09:30-16:30



Stellenbosch, the second oldest town in South Africa, is a museum-lovers delight. Many of its historical buildings surround the village green, better known as the Braak. One of these is the Burgerhuis, a private dwelling, built in 1797 by Antonie Fick, the grandson of a German immigrant. It is a fine example of Cape Dutch architecture, which experts have described as the most lyrical architectural style in the world. The South African artist, J H Pierneef, believed its gable to be one of the most beautiful in the Cape. It has been lovingly restored and furnished in the elegant fashion that recalls the lifestyles of well-to-do citizens of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Cnr Alexander and Bloem Street
Tel: (021) 887-0339
Fax: (021) 887-1645
Mon-Fri: 08:00-16:30
Sat: 10:00-13:00; 14:00-17:00

The making of wine through the ages is illustrated in the Stellenryck Wijn Museum through such diverse artefacts as a 7th Century BCE wine jug, porcelain, silver and glass, and some rare Cape wines.
cnr Dorp and Aan-de-Wagenweg
Web: Stellenryck Wijn Museum
Tel: (021) 888-3200
Fax: (021) 886-4611
Mon-Fri: 09:00-12:45 and 14:00-17:00
Sat: 10:00-13:00 and 14:00-17:00

The Toy and Miniature Museum, the first of its kind in Africa, specialises in finely detailed and exquisite miniature rooms. The fascinating old toy collection includes antique dolls and Dinky Toy motor cars.
Old Rhenish Parsonage, Market Street
Web: Toy and Miniature Museum
Tel: (021) 887-2928
Fax: (021) 883-2232
Daily: 09:30-17:00

The University Museum (incorporating the Sasol Art Museum and University of Stellenbosch Art Gallery) is housed in the old Bloemhof School. The University has rich holdings of sculpture, paintings, ceramics and graphics by South African and foreign artists as well as prehistoric artefacts, South Western and Central African domestic and ritual objects, weaponry and costumes.
Ryneveld Street
Tel: (021) 808-3693
Fax: (021) 808-4499
Mon-Fri: 09:00-17:00
Sat: 09:00-13:00

The Village Museum is a site museum containing several period houses with their restored gardens. Each represents a different era in the history of the town and is fully furnished in the style of its time.
Erfurthuis, 18 Ryneveld Street
Web: Village Museum
Tel: (021) 887.2937
Fax: (021) 883.2232
Mon-Sat: 09:30-17:00
Sun: 14:00-17:00

The VOC Kruithuis is the only surviving powder magazine (1777) in southern Africa. Built by the Dutch East India Company, it bears the Cape cypher of the VOC and contains VOC memorabilia, flintlocks, swords, cannon and other items.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
Bloem Street
Web: VOC Kruithuis
Tel: (021) 887-2902
Fax: (021) 883-2232
Mon-Fri: 09:30-13:00 and 13.30-17:00
June and July: closed



The Drostdy Museum includes the Ambagswerf, Mayville House, an old jail, a water mill, a 19th-century rose garden and displays of 18th-century furniture.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
18 Swellengrebel Street
Tel: (028) 514-1138
Fax: (028) 514-2675
Mon-Fri: 09:00-16:45
Sat, Sun and public holidays: from 10:00-15:45



De Oude Drostdy Museum is in the The Drostdy (1806), designed by Thibault. It houses a unique collection of early Cape furniture and household articles. It is also the House of Drostdy-Hof Wines - visitors can enjoy a glass of wine in the 193-year-old candle-lit jail.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
4km out of Tulbagh on the Winterhoek Road - follow the signs
Tel: (023) 230-0203
Fax: (023) 230-0203
Mon-Sat: 10:00-13:00; 14:00-17:00
Sun: 14:30-17:00
Closed on religious holidays

The earthquake which devastated this Boland town in 1969 created a new pride in the architectural heritage of Tulbagh and the houses in the town's Church Street were restored to their original glory. The Oude Kerk Volksmuseum contains superb examples of Cape furniture and other colonial artefacts.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
4 Church Street, Tulbagh.
Tel: (0236) 30-1041
Fax: (0236) 30-1348
Mon-Fri: 09:00-17:00
Sat: 09:00-16:00
Sun: 11.00-16:00


Victoria West

The Victoria West Museum is housed in two galleries. The Cultural Hall illustrates the history of Victoria West, its people and environs, with varied displays relating to the history of this charming Karoo town, founded in 1843. The B. J. Kempem Hall focuses on the prehistory of the Karoo. Pride of place is given to the fish fossils and a bradysaurus, each of them 250 million years old, which were found in the district.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
Church Street
Tel: (053) 621-0413
Mon-Fri: 07:45-13:00 and 14:00-16.45
Closed: Weekends and public holidays



The Wellington Museum has a large ethnographic collection thanks to the work of missionaries whose work extended as far as Malawi and Nigeria. The long history of local industries like viticulture, tanning and fruit farming is also explained.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
Tel: (02211) 873-4710
Fax: (02211) 34710
Mon-Fri: 09:00-17:00
After hours by appointment



The Kleinplasie Open Air Museum, a farm museum, showcases the wine culture and the characteristic architecture of the winelands. Visitors can experience life as the pioneers lived it in years gone by. The farm buzzes with activity all year round, according to the time or the season. Activities include baking, harvesting, candle-making, shearing, slaughtering and much more. There is a huge collection of farming artefacts. An added attraction is the steam train.
Western Cape province.
Robertson Road
Tel: (0231) 22225/6
Fax: (0231) 74134
Mon-Sat: 09:00-16:30
Sun: 10.30-16:30 Ysterplaat

The early days of the Royal Flying Corps and the development of the South African Airforce are documented at the South African Air Force Museum sited at a working air base. There is also an exhibition of art on aircraft and avionics.
Western Cape Museums in South Africa
AFB Ysterplaat
Tel: (021) 508-6377
Fax: (021) 508-6479
Mon-Fri: 09:00-16:00
Weekends: 10:00-16:00

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