Top 21 Galleries and Museums in Cape Town - 2019
Top 21 Galleries and Museums in Cape Town - 2019
Title Image
Top 21 Galleries and Museums in Cape Town - 2019
A list of the best galleries and museums in Cape Town. Bo-Kaap Museum. Cape Town Planetarium. South African National Gallery. Slave Lodge & More.
Title Image

Top 21 Galleries and Museums in Cape Town - 2019

A list of the best galleries and museums in Cape Town. Bo-Kaap Museum. Cape Town Planetarium. South African National Gallery. Slave Lodge & More.
Title Image
Top 21 Galleries and Museums in Cape Town - 2019
A list of the best galleries and museums in Cape Town. Bo-Kaap Museum. Cape Town Planetarium. South African National Gallery. Slave Lodge & More.

Cape Town is a metropolitan city with interesting local museums and art galleries showcasing the Mother City’s history, diversity, and cultural heritage.

While many visitors come to Cape Town for its beaches and gastronomy, a visit would not be complete without a trip to at least one of its art galleries or museums. Choosing the right one for you isn't always easy, which is why we created a comprehensive list of Cape Town’s best museums and art galleries .

Don't forget to check what's happening in Cape Town Today

Quick JumpMuseums in Cape Town City CentreDistrict Six MuseumBo Kaap MuseumCape Town Planetarium South African MuseumKnext Art GallerySouth African National GallerySlave LodgeSouth African Jewish MuseumGold of Africa MuseumCastle of Good HopeMuseums near the WaterfrontZeitz MOCAARobben Island MuseumCape Town Diamond MuseumChavonnes Battery MuseumMuseums on the West CoastSouth African Air Force MuseumMuseums in the Northern SuburbsRust-en-Vrede Art GalleryMuseums in the Southern SuburbsIrma SternBarnard GalleryJosephine MillMuseums in Atlantic SeaboardHout Bay GallerySembach Art Gallery

Museums in Cape Town City Centre

District Six Museum

Memories of forced removals tell painful stories@polinakhovaeva

The District Six Museum displays pictures and personal belongings of the people who were forced to leave their homes in District Six during apartheid. Around 60 000 people were displaced and forced to give up their residence, simply because of their skin colour and ethnic heritage.

This museum serves to help us understand the dark times they went through, and to keep their stories alive. Many of the staff at the Museum are also ex-residents of District Six, with their own painful memories to share.

  • Entrance Fee:
    • Adult (self-guided): R30,
    • Adult (with guide/ex-resident): R45
    • Scholar: R5 
  • Operating Hours:
    • Mon-Sat, 9am-4pm
    • Sunday by appointment only
  • Address:
    • 25A Albertus St & Buitenkant Street, Zonnebloem
  • Contact Number:
    • +27 (0)21 466 7200

You can visit the District 6 Museum here.

Bo Kaap Museum

Former townships along slopes of Signal Hill@annie___bananie

A big tourist attraction, this museum is found amidst the colourful buildings that make up the vibrant Malay Quarter. Walk up the cobblestone streets to discover this small museum in the oldest house of the area, where you will learn about the history of Islamic culture in South Africa.

Stories of Malay Quarter residents are on display in the museum, sharing their childhood memories of growing up in Bo Kaap. There are also videos of community members explaining how the area is changing as residents move away and outsiders move in.

  • Entrance Fee:
    • Adults: R20
    • 6-18 years old: R10
    • Under 5: Free
  • Operating Hours:
    • Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm
  • Address:
    • 71 Wale St, Schotsche Kloof
  • Contact Number:
    • +27 (0)21 481 3938

You can visit the Bo-Kaap Museum here.

Cape Town Planetarium

The Planetarium is a wonderful place for those who enjoy learning about planets and galaxies. Located in the Company’s Garden, the Planetarium offers a permanent exhibition as well as seasonal shows of different themes throughout the year.

Visually stimulating, the planetarium is well worth the visit, allowing for star-gazing and cosmological adventures for adults and children alike. Practical workshops are available for children too.

  • Entrance fee:
    • Adults: R40
    • children (under 18) R20
    • pensioners: R20
  • Operating Hours:
    • Monday-Sunday 10am-5pm
  • Address:
    • 25 Queen Victoria St, Cape Town City Centre,
  • Contact number:
    • +27 (0)21 481 3800

You can visit the Cape Town Planetarium website here.

South African Museum

Houses more than 1.5 million scientific specimens@coconut_cracked

Next to the Planetarium is the South African Museum, the oldest museum on the African sub-continent. It hosts exhibitions based on certain themes, where the collections showcase the natural as well as cultural history of South Africa.

The 1.5 million items on show at the museum consist of anything from Stone Age tools, to fossils, to traditional clothes and modern artefacts, as well as some really interesting giant marine animal bones.

  • Entrance Fee:
    • Adult: R30;
    • 6-18 years old: R15;
    • Under 5 free;
    • SA students and pensioners: R15.
  • Operating Hours:
    • Mon-Sun, 10am-5pm
  • Address:
    • 25 Queen Victoria St, Cape Town City Centre,
  • Contact Number:
    • +27 (0)21 481 3800

You can visit the South African Museum website here.

Knext Art Gallery

Contemporary art pieces on display @heymrs.hartmann

The Knext Art Gallery sports quite a wide selection of contemporary art pieces from across Africa. The gallery is a stone-throw away from Roeland Street and provides a platform to meet and engage with fellow creatives.

The gallery itself is strongly eco-focussed in providing eco-furniture ranges and other locally made products for eco-conscious investors. They pride themselves in working with emerging artists and giving them a space to display their artwork, as well as house works by internationally acclaimed artists from both Africa and abroad.

  • Operating Hours:
    • Mon-Sun, 10am - 4pm
  • Address:
    • 115C Harrington St, Gardens, Cape Town
  • Contact Number:
    • +27 (60) 971 93 13
  • More Info

South African National Gallery

Forms part of the Iziko collection of museums@gretvery

Along the museum mile, adjacent to the South African Museum in the Company’s Garden, the National Gallery houses South African art collections, as well as French, British, Dutch, African, and Flemish ones.

There is a permanent collection as well as temporary exhibitions, and they include paintings, sculptures, textiles, photography, beadwork, and architecture, from colonial times through to modern times.

  • Entrance Fee:
    • Adults: R30
    • 6-18 years old: R15
    • Under 5: Free
    • SA Students and pensioners: R15
  • Operating Hours:
    • Mon-Sun, 10am-5pm
  • Address:
    • Government Ave, Company's Garden, Cape Town
  • Contact Number:
    • +27 (0)21 481 3970

You can visit the South African National Gallery Museum website here.

Slave Lodge

The second oldest building in South Africa@bhbrockett

The Slave Lodge, which housed up to 9000 slaves between 1679 and 1811, has held different names and purposes over the last three centuries. It’s been known and served as the Government Offices Building, Old Supreme Court, and SA Cultural History Museum, before being renamed the Slave Lodge in 1998.

The museum offers a view into the dark times of slavery, and helps visitors understand the hardships that slaves endured, and their invaluable role in building the South Africa we enjoy today. The museum also contains exhibitions which highlight ceramics and silverware collections.

  • Entrance Fee:
    • Adults: R30
    • 6-18 years old: R15
    • Under 5: free
    • SA students and pensioners: R15
  • Operating Hours:
    • Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm
  • Address:
    • Adderley St, Cape Town City Centre
  • Contact Number:
    • +27 (0)21 467 7229

You can visit the Slave Lodge website here.

South African Jewish Museum

A tribute to the diaspora of Jewish communities@snelsonus

This museum depicts the timeline of the Jewish community in South Africa, starting with the refugees in the 1800s, and the incredible influence it had on South African history, including its economic, cultural, and political development.

Source: SA Jewish Museum site. The museum also provides information about Jewish culture and Judaism. The building itself represents modern architecture, while the interior is a mixture of old and new cultural artefacts.

  • Entrance Fee:
    • Adults: R50
    • Under 12: Free
    • Pensioners: R30
    • Red Sightseeing Bus: R25
  • Operating Hours:
    • Sun-Thur, 10am-5pm;
    • Friday, 10am-2pm
    • (closed on Saturdays)
  • Address:
    • 88 Hatfield St, Cape Town City Centre
  • Contact Number:
    • +27 (0)21 465 1546

You can visit the South African Jewish Museum website here.

Gold of Africa Museum

Largest collection of African gold artefacts in the worldGold-of-Africa-Museum

This museum, located in the CBD, is home to the largest collection of African gold artefacts in the world. The museum offers exhibitions as well as educational programmes that allow visitors to learn about the discovery of gold in South Africa in the 19th century, and how it helped shape the country into what it is today.

The famous collection of West African gold artefacts from the Barbier-Muller Museum (in Geneva) is held there, as well as art and jewellery from ancient civilisations. Gold jewellery (18 and 22 carat) can be purchased at the boutique shop.

  • Entrance Fee:
    • Adults: R40-70
    • Children under 10: R25
  • Operating Hours:
    • Mon-Sat, 9:30am-4:30pm
  • Address:
    • 96 Strand St, Cape Town City Centre
  • Contact Number:
    • +27 (0)21 405 1540

You can visit the Gold of Africa Museum website here.

Castle of Good Hope

The oldest colonial building in South Africa@poushavida

The Castle of Good Hope is the oldest colonial building in South Africa. It was built in the 17th century by the Dutch East India Company (commonly known as VOC) as a fort, and a replenishment station for sailors.

The Noon Gun tradition (a cannon fired at exactly 12pm every Monday to Saturday) originated at the Castle to announce the arrival of ships and announce the time.

Historic paintings and decorative art pieces are housed there, including the famous William Fehr Collection, which contains important historical information regarding colonial South Africa.

  • Entrance Fee:
    • Adults: R30;
    • 5-18 years old: R15
    • Under 5: Free
    • SA students: R15
    • SA pensioners: R15
  • Operating Hours:
    • Mon-Sun, 9:30am-3:30pm
  • Address :
    • Darling St & Buitenkant St, Foreshore
  • Contact Number:
    • +27 (0)21 787 1260
    • +27 (0)21 467 7223

You can visit the Castle of Good Hope website here.

Museums near the Waterfront

Zeitz MOCAA

a sensual feast@zeitzmocaa

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) is a newly opened public contemporary art museum. It collects, researches, preserves and exhibits art from 21st century Africa and its Diaspora. Zeitz MOCAA hosts international exhibitions and encourages a intercultural understanding with guaranteed access for all.

There are over 100 galleries, spread out over 9 floors. These are dedicated to cutting edge permanent collection, temporary exhibitions, Centres for Art Education, Curatorial Excellence, the Costume Institute and more.

  • Entrance Fee:
    • R180 per adult
    • Free access to under 18s (10:00 - 13:00)
    • Wednesdays: Free entry for South African and African citizens
    • First Fridays: half-price admission between 16:00 - 21:00. Last entry 20:30
  • Operating hours:
    • Mon, Wed - Sun, 10:00 - 18:00
    • Closed on Tuesdays
  • Address:
    • V&A Waterfront, Silo District, S Arm Road, Waterfront
  • Contact Number:
    • 087 350 4777

You can visit the Zeitz MOCAA here

Robben Island Museum

A short boat ride away from the V&A Waterfront, this museum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the Nobel Peace Prize winner, and late president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela served an 18 year prison sentence for his role in the fight to end apartheid.

A tour of the museum includes a visit to the main prison and specifically Nelson Mandela’s cell, usually conducted by an ex-prisoner. The tour also includes a visit to the harbour and lighthouse, where penguins can be seen, as well as a visit to the mental hospital, military base, and leper colony.

  • Entrance Fee:
    • Adult: R320
    • Under 18: R180
  • Operating Hours:
    • Mon-Sun, 9am-1pm
  • Address:
    • Clock Tower, V & A Waterfront
  • Contact Number :
    • +27 (0)21 409 5100/ +27 (0)21 413 4200

You can visit the Robben Island Museum here.

Cape Town Diamond Museum

Exploring South Africa's Diamond HistoryCape Town Diamond Museum

At the Cape Town Diamond Museum, you will learn about the scientific formation of diamonds, a lengthy process that starts within the Earth’s crust and ultimately yields a polished stone that has become the world’s most precious gem, and the epitome of romantic love.

This museum tells the story of how diamonds were discovered in South Africa and how the industry went from a chaotic, yet profitable, mess to a controlled and ethical industry. There is also a workshop as well as a boutique selling diamonds.

  • Entrance Fee:
    • Adults: R100 pp
    • Children under 14: Free
    • Pensioners: Free
  • Operating Hours:
    • Mon-Sun, 9am-9pm
  • Address:
    • Clock Tower District, V & A Waterfront
  • Contact Number:
    • +27 (0)21 421 2488

You can visit the Cape Town Diamond Museum website here.

Chavonnes Battery Museum

Museum offers guided tours through lifelike exhibitsChavonnes Battery Museum

The Chavonnes Battery is a Dutch East India Company Fort, built in 1714 to protect Table Bay from sea-borne aggressors. Partially destroyed and buried in 1860 when the harbour was built, it was rediscovered and since 2012 a visitor attraction about the History of Cape Town.

Visitors are invited to enjoy a different international photo exhibitions every 6 months and explore the Archaeology Ruins of the fort and displays in the museum.

The museum offers guided tours below sea level, where the archaeological ruins of Chavonnes Battery, and the original shorelines, can be found. The guides dress up in period costumes as they tell stories and anecdotes.

  • Entrance Fee:
    • Adults: R70
    • Seniors, Students, Kids: R50
  • Operating Hours:
    • Mon-Wed, 9am-4pm
    • Thur-Sun, 9am-6pm
  • Address:
    • Clock Tower Precinct, V A Waterfront
  • Contact Number:
    • +27 (0)21 416 6230

You can visit the Chavonnes Battery Museum website here.

Museums on the West Coast

South African Air Force Museum

A display of SA's military aviation historyAirliners

The SAAF museum collects, preserves and exhibits articles and records of the history of military aviation in South Africa. The main aim is to gather information and educate the public and youth about the history and traditions of the SAAF.

  • Entrance Fee:
    • Free
  • Operating Hours:
    • Wed-Fri, 7am-3pm
    • Saturdays, 8:30am-12pm
    • Main hanger (Hanger 4) is closed on weekdays when operating, but tours can be scheduled on Saturdays from 9am-11:30am
  • Address:
    • Ysterplaat Air Force Base, Cape Town
  • Contact Number:
    • +27 (0)21 508-6576

You can visit the SAAF Museum website here.

Museums in the Northern Suburbs

Rust-en-Vrede Art Gallery

Originally built as a prison in the 19th century@rust_en_vredegallery

Originally built as a prison and police headquarters in the 19th century, this art gallery was declared a national monument in 1984.

The art work exhibited at the Rust-en-Vrede Gallery are those of established as well as emerging artists. The gallery has 3 showrooms for exhibitions which change on a monthly basis. Additionally, there are permanent collections of traditional and contemporary ceramics which are an important part of Durbanville’s history.

  • Entrance Fee:
    • Free
  • Operating Hours:
    • Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm
    • Saturdays 9am-1pm
  • Address:
    • 10 Wellington Rd, Durbanville
  • Contact Number:
    • +27 (0)21 976 4691

You can visit the Rust-en-vrede Art Gallery website here.

Museums in the Southern Suburbs

Irma Stern

Artwork by internationally renowed SA artist@skallakind

The museum is governed by the University of Cape Town, and showcases the work of Irma Stern, an internationally renowned South African artist. The museum aims to show an appreciation of her life and work by displaying her artworks.

Irna Stern’s art work focused on paintings, sculptures, and ceramics. She enjoyed painting people and portraits, and decorated her house in vibrant colours. The rooms in the museum have been left intact.

  • Entrance Fee:
    • Adults: R20
    • Students and pensioners: R10
    • Children: Free
  • Operating Hours:
    • Tue-Fri, 10am-5pm
    • Saturdays, 10am-2pm
  • Address:
    • Cecil Rd, Rosebank, Cape Town
  • Contact Number:
    • +27 (0)21 685 5686

You can visit the Irma Stern museum website here.

Barnard Gallery

Newlands based south african art gallery@barnard_gallery

The Barnard Gallery, a South African art gallery in Newlands, focuses on fine arts and sculptures. The gallery was opened by director Christiaan Barnard, who personally selects pieces to put on display based on his own appreciation of the art.

This art gallery displays the works of established local and international artists. Christiaan aims to provoke in the public the same passion that he feels when seeing the art pieces. The museum has been designed to complement the art on display.

  • Entrance Fee:
    • Free
  • Operating Hours:
    • Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm
  • Address:
    • 55 Main St, Newlands
  • Contact Number:
    • +27 (0)21 671 1553

You can visit the Barnard Gallery website here.

Josephine Mill

THe only mill of its kind in Cape TownTourism in Cape Town

Josephine Mill is a museum that celebrates and exhibits the art of stone-ground milling, making flour using a waterwheel to generate power. This museum is the only such remaining water mill in Cape Town.

At the Mill Shop you can buy their signature stone-ground flour, freshly baked goods made with organic ingredients, and enjoy the magnificent view from their restaurant.

  • Entrance Fee:
    • Free
  • Visiting Hours:
    • Mon-Fri. 9am-12:30pm
  • Address:
    • 13 Boundary Rd, Newlands
  • Contact Number:
    • +27 (0)83 299 6873

You can visit the Josephine Mill museum website here.

Museums in Atlantic Seaboard

Hout Bay Gallery

The gallery houses sculptures, paintings and more@houtbaygallery

The Hout Bay Gallery includes paintings, sculptures, and even furniture by a variety of South African artists. While the museum is free to browse, all the artworks on display can be purchased. This gallery specializes in the transportation and shipping of art to local and international clients.

  • Entrance Fee:
    • Free
  • Operating Hours:
    • Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm;
    • Sat-Sun, 11am-5pm;
    • Public holidays, 12pm-5pm
  • Address:
    • 71 Victoria Ave, Hout Bay
  • Contact Number:
    • +27 (0)21 790 3618

You can visit the Hout Bay Gallery website here.

Sembach Art Gallery

THe gallery was established in 1995Sembach Art Gallery

This Hout Bay art gallery was established in 1995, and specializes in displaying mostly contemporary South African art.

The artist community is mostly from the Western Cape, including internationally established artists. This Cape Town museum showcases a range of art forms, including paintings, sculptures, photography, and ceramics.

  • Entrance Fee:
    • Free
  • Operating Hours:
    • Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm
  • Address:
    • 30, Main Rd, Scott Estate, Hout Bay
  • Contact Number:
    • +27 (0)21 790 7324

You can visit the Sembach Art Gallery website here.

These museums are historical gems that are not to be missed while visiting Cape Town, as they really capture the cultural essence of the Mother city. Museums in Cape Town empower South African citizens by hiring the very people whose hardships are depicted in the museums. And with such affordable prices, there is no excuse to not visit at least one of them.

Our vision at Vibescout is to provide the most relevant, current and comprehensive information.

If you feel we've missed something amazing or have any suggestions regarding our system, we would love to hear from you! Contact: info (at) vibescout.com

QUICK
JUMP