Chavonnes Battery … a hidden heritage below a bustling modern world

One of the museums to visit on my to do list since I moved to Cape Town was the Chavonnes Battery.

Situated near the clock Tower at the V & A Waterfront, the front of this modern building is misleading to the rich archaeological ruins of Cape Town’s old fort lying below sea level.

Visitors can time travel back 300 years as they don an 18th century tricorn hat and walk through the remnants of 17th to 19th century Cape Town to a shoreline of postal stones, shipwrecks, soldiers and slaves.

This unique perspective allows you to glimpse realistic small scale models of the Cape shoreline and the battery. Large graphic information panels help you to imagine life here in the 17th and 18th century.

As you meander through and over the old stone ruins of the fort that has been buried for over 140 years below sea level on the sand of what was the original shoreline.

On display are various artifacts and remnants of pottery and glass left as traces to remind us of life within the fort. An abandoned well, model ships, cannon balls and canons are just a few of the captivating objects to be found.

You can also find more information on other forts , such as the Castle of Good Hope and directions to fire a cannon ball.

One of the museums most popular sections is the gunnery display. Here you can find genuine artifacts, realistic replicas and some of South Africas best models.

You discover the role and duties of an 18th century gunner and on a walking tour with a guide you will be given a lesson in loading and firing an 18 pounder cannon.

You can take a virtual tour here

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