Founded in 1825, the Iziko South African Museum was the first one in the country. It’s mission is to educate visitors on cultural and biological diversity through exhibitions ranging in theme from 120,000 year old fossils to Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Iziko’s exhibitions are popular for doubling as art installations, as one of it’s prime attractions is a sound booth where one can listen to the otherworldly singing of whales, as well as the world-famous Linton Panel, a frame of rock art from the African Renaissance and an architectural wonder of the world. Afterward, you can grab coffee in their cozy cafe.
South African Museum
Robben Island Museum
Located west of Cape Town, Robben Island is famously known for harbouring the prison where former president and Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela served 18 of his 27 years detention during the apartheid regime. The Robben Island Museum was established in 1997 to commemorate the struggle endured by former political prisoners, and the island itself was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. The museum is one of Cape Town’s most important and popular attractions.
Irma Stern Museum
Irma Stern (1894-1966) was one of South Africa’s most outstanding artists of all time. Though educated in Germany where she associated with the Expressionists of the nation, she returned to Africa at 26, a decision that would later determine the path of her life’s work. Of this time, she wrote, “The darkness opened up and I stood at the source of the Beginning—Paradise.” The museum is housed in Irma Stern’s former home of 40 years, with some of the rooms left as she had originally arranged them, and the upper floor occupied as an gallery space for local artists.
District Six Museum
During the 1970’s, South Africa’s apartheid regime forced the removal of over 60,000 residents of the District Six residential community in Cape Town. Since 1994, the District Six Museum has served to memorialise the community, its history and ex-residents’ struggles during the dark nationalist era. Its ground floor is completely overlaid in a map of the inner-city, detailed with notes drawn by ex-residents indicating where their homes had been. The building itself is an 170 year-old former church.
South African National Gallery
The museum houses outstanding collections of South African, African, British, French, Dutch and Flemish art.
Selections from the Permanent Collection change regularly to enable the museum to have a full programme of temporary exhibitions of paintings, works on paper, photography, sculpture, beadwork, textiles and architecture. They provide insight into the extraordinary range of aesthetic production in this country, the African continent and further afield.
Bo Kaap Museum
Bo-Kaap is a colorful, cobble stone-lined neighborhood formerly known as the Malay Quarter of Cape Town. Not only known for its romantic ethnic architecture, it is also Cape Town’s culturally-diverse center. The Bo Kaap Museum celebrates the Islamic contribution to South African culture by early settlers in the way of architecture, tailoring and carpentry, and is also the oldest building in the area.