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Company Gardens

The Company Gardens are more than just an urban park; they are the oldest garden in the country, created years ago by Jan Van Riebeeck as a tranquil asset and vegetable garden bordering his lawn “Town house” or Tuynhuys as it is known currently. The former Riebeeck estate is currently the official President’s house in Cape Town, and it is well-guarded and gated, although the garden and many of the other colonial-era buildings have opened up for the public. Between 7AM and 7PM, the gates to the park will remain open.

Even though the Garden area is a well-known and popular tourist destination, locals enjoy the fresh air and peaceful surrounds equally, and can be found throughout the Company grounds. The surrounding area contains both the professional business district and the Parliament houses, and lunch breaks cause the Gardens to overflow with Capetonians. Other locals enjoying the park are the many squirrels you will undoubtedly meet on a walk through one of the two parallel lanes.

For visitors, aside from the views of Table Mountain, the Cecil Rhodes statue and the appeal of the large fountain in the center of the park walkway, the several museums within and just outside the Company Gardens are the main attractions. Unlike the park, these museums will require an entrance fee on any day of the week apart from Thursdays, when there is free admission.

The South African National Gallery is worth a visit by any art-lover. The permanent collection of the Gallery includes contemporary as well as colonial art from renowned European and African artists. Recently, the SANG has made an effort to showcase more South African art, such as bead work and apartheid-era paintings which have been censored in the past.

Opposite the Gallery you can find the South African Museum, the oldest museum South of the Sahara. A highly popular destination, the museum has a large collection of natural historical items as well as cultural and anthropological gems on display, specifically from South Africa, although Africa in general is well represented.

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