This fort was built between 1666 and 1679. It was originally designed as a waystation for Dutch East Indian ships sailing between The Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). It was heavily fortified due to the ongoing threat of war with Great Britain.
The fort was updated in the late 17th Century changing the entrance and adding the bell – now the oldest in South Africa.
During the Second Boer War the fort served as a prison – even imprisoning the famous British spy Duquesne – with cells that still exist to this day.
In 1936 the fort was declared a National Monument and was extensively renovated in the 1980’s. The fort is the best historical example of a Dutch East India Company fort.
The fort is now the Castle Military Museum and home to the Cape Town Highlanders Mechanized Regiment.
Phantom footsteps are heard between the bastions of Leerdam and Buren. One of the first ghosts reported at the castle – in 1915 – was seen here as an apparition of a man who jumped off the wall and then walked between the 2 bastions. Since the 1940’s an apparition has been seen accompanying the footsteps of a man with no legs. This ghost is thought to be that of a soldier who hung himself in the bell tower some 3 centuries ago.
The Grey Lady – named after the long grey cloak she wears – is thought to be the Lady Anne Barnard who lived in the castle in the late 18th century. She has been seen wandering the castle in her cloak and is most known for joining any social event held here. She’s also seen in the fort’s ballroom dressed in a period ballroom gown.
Disembodied screams and cries for help are heard coming from the Donker Kat – the dungeon – and a sucking like energy has been reported here as well pulling people toward the entrance.
It is very rare that people are granted permission to spend the night here but anyone who has tells stories of apparitions – even some who interact with the living – unexplained noises, touches, tugs and pulls by unseen presences and feelings of being watched and never being alone.
There is also a Lady in Grey – who may or may not be the same as the Grey Lady above – who is seen running through the castle crying violently with her face in her hands.
The bell in the tower will sometimes ring completely on its own.
The apparition of a large black dog is seen on the site that will often charge toward witnesses and disappear just short of jumping on them.