Unconventional Museums of South Africa

13 November, 2023

South Africa is a country with a complicated history, whose residents have fought for their rights and freedoms for many years. Its local colour includes the luxury of buildings left over from the colonial system and the wonderful people who, bit by bit, create the history of this country, making their contribution to it. The editors of Beloc invite you to find out which museums will show you a new side to South Africa. Let’s begin:

Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex

The museum complex’s territory reveals the history of Bartolomeu Dias’ sea expedition. Bartolomeu Dias was a Portuguese and the first European to round the Cape of Good Hope in search of a shortcut to India. On an exact copy of the caravel you may touch the history by seeing the life of those times. The museum complex includes a large collection of shells and an aquarium with live mollusks and small ocean inhabitants like, octopuses, lobsters, soft corals, etc. You may also watch whales from the museum grounds from June to October.

Opening hours: Monday – Friday from 8h15 to 17h00

Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 9h00 to 16h00

If you want to take a walk around the complex, here are the ticket prices: adults – R20 (about 110 rubles), pensioners – R10 (about 50 rubles), children – R5 (about 25 rubles).

When visiting the caravel, the cost for everything is: adults – R40 (approximately 210 rubles), pensioners – R20 (approximately 110 rubles), children – R10 (approximately 50 rubles)

Tripadvisor user rating 4/5

Address: Market Street, Mossel Bay 6506 South Africa

If this museum reveals a piece of the history and richness of the oceans, then the next one will reveal all the unusual things that are mined in South Africa.

Cape Town Diamond Museum

Not every country in the world can give you the opportunity to see how diamonds are cut. If the sparkle of precious stones attracts you, this place is definitely worth a visit. You may learn how diamonds were discovered and began to be mined in Africa, hear something new about shafts, mining camps and workers’ equipment. You will be introduced to cutting techniques and shown an interesting short film about this craft. And most importantly, you will learn the history of Shimansky diamonds and why they are considered one of the best in the world.

Opening hours: Monday – Sunday from 9h00 to 21h00 (last excursion starts at 20h00)

Tripadvisor user rating 4.5/5

Address: Level 1 The Clock Tower V&A Waterfront, Cape Town 8001 South Africa

If collectibles sparks your interest, we suggest moving on to the next museum!


This museum attracts tourists and car enthusiasts from all over the world. In 2007, Johan Rupert (son of Dr. Anton Rupert, a South African businessman and philanthropist) bought his father’s collection from the Heidelberg Museum and moved it to Franschhoek. While visiting South Africa, you can look back at 100 years of automotive history and see legendary retro cars. The cars will appeal to both lovers of roaring engines and admirers of silent engines. Even for those who prefer a bicycle, there is a special exhibit. For example, a Beeston motor tricycle made in 1898.

Opening hours: Monday – Friday from 9h00 to 17h00

Holidays and weekends: from 10h00 to 16h00

The last tour begins one hour before the closing time.

Ticket price: adults – R80 (approximately 410 rubles), pensioners – R60 (approximately 310 rubles), children – R40 (approximately 210 rubles).

Tripadvisor user rating 4.5/5

Address: R45 L’Ormarins, Franschhoek 7690 South Africa

If a car engine reminds you of the heart of an automobile, then the next location is definitely for you.

Heart of Cape Town Museum

The name of the museum should be taken literally. It is dedicated to the history of cardiology in the country and the famous doctor Christian Barnard. Back in 1967, he was the first to perform a heart transplant that was successful. Within the walls of the museum you may touch the history of the development and study of the heart in South Africa. The exhibitions are recreated so realistically that sometimes the wax figures of doctors, nurses and patients seem to come to life in front of you. The excursion lasts 2 hours, but when it ends you will have an opportunity to have a more accurate look at what you liked the most.

Opening hours: Monday – Sunday from 9h00 to 17h00

Tripadvisor user rating 4.5/5

Address: Main Road Groote Schuur Hospital, Observatory, Cape Town 7925 South Africa

The next one on our list, like the Heart of Cape Town Museum, contributes to the history of the development of South Africa.

Zeitz Mocca – Museum of Contemporary Art

The former granary from the 1920s was given new life in 2017 thanks to a famous designer Thomas Heatherwick. He decided that it would be better to fit the museum into the existing walls, while adding lightness using some interesting glazing. Stepping inside, you find yourself in a tangle of corridors and stairs, catching the sun’s rays on the concrete floor. The play of light makes you stop for a moment. The best collections of contemporary art are collected here. Even if you don’t understand anything about it, the impressions of what you saw will stay with you for a long time. On the 6th floor of the building you may find the Ocular Lounge bar, where you may enjoy a 270 degree panoramic view of Cape Town and the harbour. We find this place a great location for taking pictures.

Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday from 10h00 to 18h00

Ticket prices start from R250 (approximately 1300 rubles), depending on the exhibition.

Tripadvisor user rating 4.5/5

Address: South Arm Rd Silo District, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town 8001 South Africa

And finally, if you want something as unusual as Zeitz Mocca, you should visit the last museum on our list.

First South African Perfume Museum

The museum was founded by the Kumanov family in 2012. They are the only perfumers in Africa who teach others. The company creates branded perfumes for NBC Universal and television channels such as Pop of culture, Studio Universal, Style, Telemundo and Universal channel. They always warmly welcome their visitors into the world of aromas. Their collection is quite extensive, because the owners import high-quality oils and create unsurpassed perfumes. In the museum they will not only tell you about the history of perfume, but also offer you the opportunity to create your own scent.

Opening hours: Monday – Sunday from 9h00 to 17h00

Pre-registration required

Tripadvisor user rating 5/5

Address: Lambrechts Street, Franschhoek 7690 South Africa

Beloc team hopes that you will enjoy our recommendations and that you will find something in these museums that will leave a really good impression!