The Best Museums to Visit in Cape Town - Secret Cape Town

One of the many reasons why people love South Africa is because of its multiplicity and rich culture. Of course, they don’t call it the rainbow nation for nothing! There are thousands of years of history just waiting to be discovered. 

Cape Town has something for everyone — whether you enjoy arts and crafts, cultural exploration, good food, or outdoor activities. If you enjoy immersing yourself in a culture, we’ve sourced the best museums to visit in Cape Town.

Iziko South African Museum 

Location: 25 Queen Victoria Street, Gardens

Schedule:  Daily from 09h00 to 17h00

Contact Details: +27 (0)21 481 3800

Cost: 

  • Adults: R30.00 
  • 6-17 years: R15.00
  • 5 years & under: R5.00
  • School Groups: R5.00 (booked) | R8.00 (unbooked)
  • South African pensioners and students (valid cards): R15.00 | Free entry on Fridays
  • Free entry on Commemorative days

The Iziko South African Museum is one of the oldest museums in South Africa. It has over one and a half million natural historical artifacts that have been collected over the past 200 years. There are man-made tools, fossils, and natural specimens that tell the story of South African culture, nature, and animals. 

Iziko Slave Lodge 

Location: Corner of Adderley and Wale Streets, Cape Town City Centre

Schedule: Monday to Saturday from 09h00 to 17h00

Contact Details: +27 (0)21 467 7229

Cost: 

  • Adults: R30.00
  • 6-17 years: R15.00
  • 5 years & under: R5.00
  • School Groups: R5.00 (booked) | R8.00 (unbooked)
  • South African pensioners and students (valid cards): R15.00 | Free entry on Fridays
  • Free entry on Commemorative days

Truly a unique place with a special story to tell, the Iziko Slave Lodge museum is situated inside an actual slave lodge that functioned as a cold-blooded facility for slaves of the East India Dutch Company. This spine-chilling building’s history adds an unflinching relevancy to the exhibits that cannot be disregarded. The museum also helps spreads awareness for human rights through educational exhibits of human slavery. 

Iziko Planetarium

Location: 25 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town City Centre

Schedule: Shows Daily

Contact Details: +27 (0)21 481 3900

Cost: R60 Adults (19 years and older) | R30 SA Pensioners, Children, & Students 

The Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome is South Africa’s most advanced digital planetarium. Visitors will get to experience world-class innovative technological designs and a unique approach to animation through its 360 degree cinema. The Planetarium also has an immersive multi-sensory entertainment platform which is used for artistic production. It is used for scientific research, which is responsible for optimizing South Africa’s data and eResearch visualization capacity, making virtual voyages to outer space possible. 

South African National Gallery 

Location: Government Avenue, Company’s Garden

Schedule: Daily from 09h00 to 17h00

Contact Details: +27 (0)21 481 3970

Cost: 

  • Adults: R30.00
  • 6-17 years: R15.00
  • 5 years & under: R5.00
  • School Groups: R5.00 (booked) | R8.00 (unbooked)
  • South African pensioners and students (valid cards): R15.00 | Free entry on Fridays
  • Free entry on Commemorative days

The South African National Gallery Houses premier South African, French, African, British, Flemish, and Dutch Art. Selections change regularly to allow the museum to have a full program of temporary exhibitions. Selections normally include sculptures, paper art, photography, textiles, architecture, and beadwork. 

Groot Constantia Manor House 

Location: Groot Constantia Estate, Constantia

Schedule: daily from 10h00 to 17h00

Contact Details: +27 (0)21 795 5140

Cost: 

  • Adults: R30.00
  • 6-17 years: R15.00
  • 5 years & under: R5.00
  • School Groups: Booked- R5.00; Unbooked- R8.00
  • South African pensioners and students (valid cards): R15.00/ Free entry on Fridays
  • Free entry on Commemorative days

Groot Constantia is a farm that dates back to 1885, when the land was granted to Simon Van Der Stel. It’s considered one of the oldest commercial wine farms of South Africa. The centre orientation in the Jonkershuis complex makes use of object, panel, and archaeological displays to give visitors an overview of the place from past to present, which includes slavery on the estate. 

In the coach house and historical wine cellar, there are carriages on display while the wine museum has drinking vessels and storage areas from antiquity to the early 20th century. The homestead, has an exhibition of paintings, textiles, furniture, brass, copperware, and ceramics which gives a full insight into the life of a successful 18th century to late 19th century Cape Farmer. 

Bo Kaap Museum 

Location: 71 Wale Street, Bo Kaap

Schedule: Open from Mondays to Saturdays from 09h00 to 16h00

Contact Details: +27 (0)21 481 3938

Cost:

  • Adults: R20.00
  • 6-17 years: R10.00
  • 5 years & under: R5.00
  • School Groups: R5.00 (booked) | R8.00 (unbooked)
  • South African pensioners and students (valid cards): R10.00 | Free entry on Fridays
  • Free entry on Commemorative days

The Iziko Bo Kaap Museum is one of the earliest homes built in the area, which dates back to the mid eighteenth century. The museum is found in the same area that became home to many freed slaves and Muslims after the abolition of slavery. It also showcases local culture and heritage of Islam. In 1965 the museum was declared a national monument and restored in the 1970’s. 

The Bo Kaap Museum was established in 1978 as a satellite of the South African Cultural History Museum. It was then recognized as a house that depicts the lifestyle of a Muslim family in the nineteenth Century. 

Koopman’s de Wet House

Location: 35 Strand Street, Cape Town City Centre

Schedule:  Monday to Friday from 09h00 to 16h00

Contact Details: +27 (0)21 481 3935

Cost: 

  • Adults: R20.00
  • 6-17 years: R10.00
  • 5 years & under: R5.00
  • School Groups: R5.00 (booked) | R8.00 (unbooked)
  • South African pensioners and students (valid cards): R10.00 | Free entry on Fridays
  • Free entry on Commemorative days

The Koopman’s de Wet House is furnished as a home of affluent Cape families during the late 18th Century. It contains some of the best Cape furniture pieces and silver in South Africa. Aside from the unique pieces of ceramics, this house would not be able to function without its slaves and servants. Recent research has made the activities and those who lived in the house come to light. 

In 1914, the house was made into a museum, after the death of its private home owners Marie Koopmans-de Wet and her sister Margaretha. It’s known to be the oldest house museum in South Africa. During the South African War, Marie Koopman’s de Wet was well known for her help to the widows and orphans of the Boer Republicans. 

Maritime Centre

Location: 1st Floor, Union-Castle House, Dock Road, V&A Waterfront

Schedule: Daily from 09h00 to 16h00

Contact Details: +27 (0)21 405 2880

Cost: 

  • Adults: R20.00
  • 6-17 years: R10.00
  • 5 years & under: R5.00
  • School Groups: R5.00 (booked) | R8.00 (unbooked)
  • South African pensioners and students (valid cards): R10.00 | Free entry on Fridays
  • Free entry on Commemorative days

The Maritime Centre contains an overview of shipping in the Mother City as well as the earliest existing shipping model of the Table Bay Harbour. The model was completed in 1885 by warders and prisoners of the Breakwater Prison. The prisoners also completed part of the exhibitions in the centre. 

There are also images that depict the development of Table Bay Harbour from the 17th to 20th century. The museum has a collection of ship models and small objects associated with the shipping industry in Cape Town. Medium and large sized images support the exhibitions at the museum along with an emphasis on the Union Castle Line. 

The John H. Marsh Maritime Research Centre is a key part of the Maritime Centre. This collection includes an important archive of nearly 20,000 pictures. These pictures depict 9,200 ships which date back from the 1920’s to the early 1960’s.  The Centre also has an online service which is responsible for answering queries regarding the ships and ordering images.

Rust en Vreugd 

Location: 78 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town City Centre

Schedule: Thursdays to Friday from 09h00 to 16h00
(open on request for school groups)

Contact Details: +27 (0)21 481 3903

Cost:

  • Adults: R20.00
  • 6-17 years: R10.00
  • 5 years & under: R5.00
  • School Groups: R5.00 (booked) | R8.00 (unbooked)
  • South African pensioners and students (valid cards): R10.00 | Free entry on Fridays
  • Free entry on Commemorative days

The Rust & Vreugd was built as a home for a high ranking official of the VOC (Dutch East India Company) named Willem Cornelis Boers around 1777 to 1778. It was built in the Mother City’s old outer limits, specifically in the transition area between town and the larger market garden farms found in the upper part of the city. After Boers, the house was passed on to several other private owners. 

The house was bought back by the Dutch Reformed Church in 1878 and served as a training college for teachers called the Cape Town High School. The house was occupied from 1925 to 1957 and in the early 1960’s it was restored into a gallery space. 

In 1965, William Fehr donated his private collection of paper artwork which consists of drawings, paintings, and watercolours to the people of South Africa. Due to the sensitive state of the paper artwork, only a selected few are showcased. In 1993, a second restoration took place and recently more disabled access facilities were installed in the house. 

The Castle of Good Hope

Location: Buitenkant Street, opposite the Grand Parade, Cape Town City Centre

Schedule: daily from 09h00 to 17h00

Contact Details: +27 (0)21 467 7223

Cost:

  • Adults: R50.00
  • 6 & over: R25.00
  • 5 years & under: Free
  • School Groups: R8.00 (booked) | R15.00 (accompanying teacher)
  • South African pensioners and students (valid cards): R25.00
  • Free entry on Commemorative days

The Castle Of Good Hope houses the William Fehr Collection. This selection includes fine and interesting examples of decorative art and paintings that are of special relevance to the Cape. Included in the collection is a wealth of historical information which concerns the people and landscapes of the early colonial South Africa. It’s considered one of the most important public artifact collections of this period. 

William Fehr was born in 1892 in Burghersdorp, Western Cape. He was a businessman by profession and had a love for pictorial art. In the 1920’s, his attention turned to collecting South African related paintings, drawings, and prints. Later on, he extended his interest to furniture and other objects. 

South African Jewish Museum 

Location: 88 Hatfield Street, Gardens

Schedule: Sunday to Thursday from 10h00 to 17h00 | Friday from 10h00 to 14h00

Contact Details: +27 21 465 1546

Cost: (Photo ID required)

  • Adults: R75.00
  • SA Pensioners: R45.00
  • Students (Under 12 years):    FREE
  • Students (Over 12 years): R45.00
  • Red Sightseeing Bus: 50% Discount
  • Audio Guides: R20.00

This museum is focused solely on the history of Jewish people in the Cape Region. It was built in 1963, and hosts an exhibit on Judaism through the ages. The museum was officially opened by Nelson Mandela in 2000 and became an instant major attraction for tourists. The entrance to the museum is situated in the Old Synagogue, which was the first one built in South Africa in 1863.