Architecture and Animals: A trip to South Africa

By Elizabeth Sesser

I recently took an incredible trip to visit the amazing country of South Africa. We started our adventure with 4 days in Cape Town, followed by 4 days in the Winelands, and ended with a 5-day safari in and around Kruger National Park

Cape Town – A view from the trek up to the Cape of Good Hope Lighthouse.

Cape Town - Boulders Beach Penguin Sanctuary

There is so much to do and see in these regions, it truly felt like we didn’t have enough time. There were mountains to be hiked, penguins to be seen, street art to find, wines to be tasted and of course animals to be tracked! Let’s also not forget the architecture! The style is known as Cape Dutch.

Vergelegen Wine Estate, Homestead - Somerset West, Built 1706

Cape Town was settled by the Dutch in the mid-1600’s as a trading ground for the Dutch East India Company. Of course, with all the other influences they brought, came along their architecture. The style’s most distinctive features are the prominent central, grand and ornately rounded gables, thatched roofs and white washed lime plaster walls.

One of the early examples of this is the Homestead at Vergelegen Wine Estate. It was built for the governor of the Cape, Willem Adriaan Van Der Stel in 1706. The name Vergelegen means “far away” or “remotely situated” as the farm is about 30 miles from Cape Town, Willem Adriaan’s primary residence. In those days, this would have taken three days by ox-wagon to reach, traveling on the slopes of the Hottentots Holland mountain range overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. 

Laborie in Paarl, built in 1750

The style is common throughout the Cape, but is particularly prevalent in the wine region. Most Cape Dutch buildings in Cape Town have been lost to new developments.


The Leuu House – Franschhoek 

The opposite of exploring the architecture of the cities was my time spent with the animals of the bush. So, I leave you with some amazing pictures of some incredible creatures!