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Haunted Locations: Cape Town, South Africa

Castle of Good Hope

Welcome back to another Weird Wednesday where we explore everything spooky, creepy, and darkly torturous.


In 1652, When a Dutch ship was wrecked off the coast of Cape Town, a group of sailors was asked to hang around while the rest of the party continued with their mission. While they waited, they grew crops and traded with the indigenous people already living on the land. When they were picked up and returned to Holland they were asked if this location would be a good place to use as a rest stop for their ships travelling the waters. The group agreed it was a great spot.


Because there were rumours of an attack on Cape Town, in 1666 construction of a fortress began. It was a large brick structure that housed military personnel. It was known as a castle because there was a small town within its wall, including a bakery, a church, many workshops, living spaces, a prison, and offices amongst other facilities.


As with most stories of colonization, this one is woven similarly with the grueling work of building the fortress put on the shoulders of slaves. They were treated cruelly, along with the indigenous people of the area, especially those who stood against the settlers. They were treated unfairly, often imprisoned, and on many occasions tortured and put to death, along with any other captured enemies of the Dutch.


Because of this sordid history, the castle is haunted.


The castle is said to be haunted by numerous soldiers, prisoners, and residents who died on the grounds.


One of the most terrifying areas of the castle was The Dark Hole, which was a prison and torture chamber. It was, as you might expect, a cold, wet, windowless hole. Some prisoners were kept there alone for weeks and then taken outside into the sunlight where they were made to stare into the sun, causing instant blindness.


The sounds of screams, and cries for help, can be heard echoing throughout the grounds.


There is a tale of a soldier who committed suicide by jumping off one of the towers, and his ghost has been seen many times, climbing up onto the wall before leaping off the edge.


Another soldier who killed himself by hanging from the rope in the belltower, is said to haunt the belltower to this day because even though it was bricked up centuries ago, the bell can be heard chiming, of its own accord, from within its stone tomb.


In the 18th century, Lady Ann Bernard lived within the castle, and it was her responsibility to host any important guests who came to visit. Since her passing, she continues to take her tasks seriously and her ghost makes an appearance whenever any VIPs come for a tour.


With no concrete explanation why, there have been many accounts of the ghost of a black dog attacking soldiers, and residents in the past, and to this day, tour guides and tourists. The ghostly canine shape will run up and leap onto an unsuspecting person only to immediately disappear upon impact.


There have been accounts of black or grey figures of varying sizes roaming the halls, rooms, and grounds for centuries.


The most famous legend is that of an indigenous prisoner who used his last words at the gallows to put a curse on the officer who had condemned him and six other men. The curse took hold almost immediately, as the officer was found that very evening, slumped over his desk, dead, with a look of abject fear etched on his face. Still to this day people see his ghost and hear him cursing and swearing up and down the halls.


Some say the entire castle is cursed.


The Castle of Good Hope offers tours 363 days a year, closed only on Christmas and New Year’s Day. If you are brave enough to enter this haunted fortress, you can book your ticket online!


And as always, if you chose to go hunting, remember the rules:






And stay away from The Dark Hole!


See you next week.



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