Local Attractions

4 Cape Town tourism attractions you (probably) didn't know about

We highlight some hidden gems in the Mother City

22 September 2019 - 00:00 By
The Gangster Museum in Khayelitsha.
The Gangster Museum in Khayelitsha.
Image: 18gm.co.za

1. THE GANGSTER MUSEUM IN KHAYELITSHA

Amid the plague of gangsterism destroying lives and communities across the Cape Flats, comes the 18Gangster initiative. Not so much a museum as an exhibition that shows young people the reality of gangs and - hopefully - convinces them gang life is not for them. The museum confronts the issue head-on, with ex-offenders working at the museum, sharing their stories and leading tours into Khayelitsha. See 8gm.co.za

2. THE STEAM ENGINE ON TABLE MOUNTAIN

Five reservoirs were built on top of Table Mountain at the turn of the last century to supply the thirsty city. The stone was quarried on the mountain and transported on a short railway to the construction site.

The stone trains were pulled by a tiny 7-ton steam locomotive which had been built in Scotland, sent on to the Cape by ship and carried in pieces up the mountain. When the dams were finished, it was deemed too much trouble to dismantle the engine and lug it down so it was left behind.

It is now the centrepiece of the Waterworks Museum which occupies the old rangers' shed at the Hely-Hutchinson reservoir. The quickest access is on foot from Constantia Nek (two hours). See tablemountain.net

3. THE LOST TUNNELS OF TABLE MOUNTAIN

One of Table Mountain's many gifts is the great number of freshwater springs that rise in its sandstone and flow down its flanks. The water was - and is - crucial for any settlement.

Starting in the 17th century, a network of canals was built to bring water from the springs to irrigate the Company Gardens. As the city developed, the canals found new use as sewers until they were bricked over, abandoned and forgotten.

Later rediscovered by urban adventurers, you can now explore the tunnels on a three-hour tour that starts and ends at the Castle of Good Hope. As the canals still carry water from the mountain, tours don't run if water levels are too high - as they are at the time of writing. See goodhopeadventures.com

4. PIGCASSO THE PAINTING PIG

Pigcasso, the painting pig, has made waves around the world. She was saved from a farm and not a moment too soon, or her considerable abstract impressionist talent would have been lost to the world.

Pigcasso, rescued from certain death in an abattoir, has found her calling in abstract art.
Pigcasso, rescued from certain death in an abattoir, has found her calling in abstract art.
Image: Supplied

Pigcasso receives visitors - and takes the occasional commission - at Farm Sanctuary SA, an animal sanctuary in Franschhoek, where you may also meet Baloo the cow, among other animals saved from the predations of the meat industry. See pigcasso.org.