Cape Town’s beginnings rest on an intricate history of violence and struggle, which some believe to be the catalyst for restless souls tormenting the land (and the people in it) for generations to come. These nine spots are centuries old and according to a few spine-chilling accounts, are hotbeds for paranormal activity, proving that some citizens of the Cape just never want to leave, even long after they’ve been gone…
1. Groote Schuur Hospital
Tucked away in the shadows of Devil’s Peak, the large 20th century building that is Groote Schuur Hospital gives off an eerie feeling even when cruising past it on the highway. While spooky occurrences are not uncommon at a hospital, Groote Schuur is plagued by a couple of restless souls who wonder about it’s hallways. Patients have tales of being tended to by nurses that no one has ever heard of, while a sister who’s been described as having ‘white eyes’ and who apparently committed suicide has also been sighted on numerous occasions. There is also the friendly Sister Fatima who reportedly tries to help hospital staff on their rounds by giving drinks to patients from trolley’s that are standing unattended, and the troubled soul of a patient who fell to his death while trying to escape is still stuck in limbo.
2. Tokai Manor House
Built in 1795, Tokai Manor House is a National Monument, and the subject of one of the best ghost stories in the Cape. The Eksteen family who owned the property in the early 1900’s, loved a good party and during one drunken New Year’s Eve, a young nobleman, Frederick Eksteen, was challenged to ride his horse around the living room. He did so proudly at first and everyone cheered, but due to the wild and noisy antics of the party, the horse got spooked and tumbled down the steps of the verandah. Frederick was dragged to his death while the horse didn’t survive either. Ever since then, those who’ve worked at the manor have claimed they often hear strange sounds such as drunken laughter and horse hooves, and some have even witnessed a man on horseback galloping around the property in the early hours of the morning, particularly on New Year’s eve.
3. Ghost House of Rondebosch
This three-story Edwardian dwelling of a bye-gone era looks completely out of place, and particularly creepy in the leafy suburb of Rondebosch. Apparently, during the 1970’s the house was used by a cult group to conduct many sinister activities, leaving a dark and mysterious energy behind. Those who have been brave enough to venture close to the gates have spotted a ghostly old man wandering through the rooms and have heard doors opening and closing shut for no apparent reason.
4. Greenpoint Lighthouse
Arguably one of the most recognizable landmarks in Cape Town, the red-and-white striped Green Point lighthouse dates back to the 1800’s, and with it’s historical significance comes hearsay of ghost stories and paranormal activity that’s swirled around for generations. The story goes that the lighthouse was once guarded by a lighthouse keeper by the name of W.S West who disappeared for reasons unknown. However, his spirit still roams around the tower as a one-legged figure called ‘Daddy West’ – it said that his voice can be heard echoing along the tower walls late night.
In 2014, the Cape Town Paranormal Investigations Unit (yes that’s a thing) went on an expedition to the lighthouse and came back with this recording of a demonic voice, which supposedly provides some concrete evidence to the rumours.
5. Rust en Vreugd
This historical dwelling from the 1700’s was built as the residence of a corrupt official of the Dutch East India Company and today functions as an art gallery and museum. Visitors often receive a few guests themselves, reportedly feeling a tap on their shoulder, but seeing no one behind them once they turn around. Other guests hear footsteps or sometimes see a floating woman lingering between rooms on the ground floor, while another woman can be seen glaring down at guests from an upstairs window with an empty cot beside her. It is also reported that dogs take a great disliking to the portrait of Lord Charles Somerset, a British Govenor who also previously lived at Rust en Vreugd, and repeatedly snarl at his painting.
6. Castle of Good Hope
Built in the 1600’s the Castle of Good Hope has a rich yet rather torturous history that’s seen many lives being lost in violent ways. Not surprisingly, these tormented souls still inhabit the area and often make their presence known to visitors and passers-by. The angry ghost of Govenor Van Noordt, who was a strict and unyielding man, once ordered several soldiers to be hanged on his watch. Later that day, he was found dead from a heart attack after one of the soldiers apparently cursed him. Now his soul is ill-fated to never leave the castle walls and workers and visitors have made mention of his bitter presence. Other reports include an angry black dog that antagonizes guests but then mysteriously disappears, and voices and shuffling can often be heard from the Dark Hole, an underground chamber that was used for torturing. In addition, the bell in the Bell Tower which was walled up centuries ago after a soldier hung himself with the bell-rope, is said to frequently ring on it’s own accord.
7. Groot Costantia
Another 17th century manor house, this one in Groot Constantia, belonged to Simon Van der Stel, one the earliest settlers of the Cape, who had a great attachment to the land. It is often reported that a figure resembling Van der Stel can been seen strolling in the gardens and having a dip in the pool on summer mornings.
8. Ghost of Elsa Cloete at Kitima Restaurant
It is widely known that Kitima restaurant at the historic Kronendal Manor, is disturbed by the spirits of a young couple from the 1800’s who were banned from spending their lives together. It is said that a British soldier sought the hand of Elsa Cloete who lived at the estate with her family, but her father forbade the union. The soldier is said to have been so distraught at the loss of his love that he hanged himself in an oak tree just outside the house. Elsa died shortly afterwards. These days the lovers can still be seen in and around the house, staring out of windows, dimming lights and moving objets around while the soldier lingers around the oak tree where he ended his own life. The staff at the restaurant consider the pair to be rather fascinating guests and even lay a table out for them every evening.
9. Table Mountain
This list wouldn’t be complete without an ominous Table Mountain tale. According to mythology, a governor of Cape Town once made enemies with a citizen, who took vengeance through the governor’s son by giving him a beautiful yet tainted flute as a gift. The flute once belonged to a leper, causing the boy to contract the leprosy disease. He was then banished to live in exile in the lonely forests of Platteklip Gorge on Table Mountain, and to this day, the melancholy sounds of his flute can be heard trailing down the upper reaches of this lonely gorge.
Photography D.O Strydom