Also known simply as 'The Castle' by locals, The Castle of Good Hope is South Africa's oldest occupied building, completed in 1679. The five-sided stronghold on Buitenkant Street in the Cape Town city centre replaced a similarly shaped fort that served Commander Jan Van Riebeek for 20-odd years. The Dutch settlers, in the process of establishing a replenishment station for the Dutch East India Company's maritime empire in 1652, established the fort to defend the colony from sea invasion, and also established the Cape Town harbour, the Company's Garden and a thriving trade with the local cattle-farming Khoikhoi people (aka Hottentots, relative of the San bushmen of the interior). While the castle was built for defense, in the later years of Dutch occupation, it ultimately served as the administrative and social hub of the colony.
Most of the Castle is open to the public and has been well restored, including the original moat and wooden bridge, 2 dungeons, the granary with many archaeological finds on display, and an exposed section of the original foundation, and the Governor's residence which is filled with period furnishings, priceless paintings, and other objects d'art. Don't miss taking a walk along the castle walls which offer exceptional views of the city centre.
There is also a small coffee shop and curio shop located within the castle walls. The Key Ceremony is held on weekdays, and is worth a watch. Maps are available in a variety of languages for self-guided tours.