The Rhodes Memorial is a tourist attraction in one of the most popular spots in Cape Town. The Rhodes Memorial is situated on the slope of Table Mountain and offers a beautiful panoramic view of the city of Cape Town and its surroundings. From the beautifully crafted monument, you can see the city, its harbours, as well as the mountains and valleys beyond.
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The History of Rhodes Memorial 📜
The Rhodes Memorial was built in memory of Cecil John Rhodes, a controversial figure in South African history who played a major role in the country’s colonization. Visiting the memorial offers a chance to learn about Rhodes’ life and legacy, and to engage with the complex issues surrounding his involvement in the subjugation of the African people. The story of the Rhodes Memorial begins in the early 1900s when Rhodes was a prominent figure in South African politics and business. He made his fortune in the diamond industry and played a major role in the colonization of the country.
In 1899, he donated land to the University of Cape Town and envisioned a grand monument to be built in his honour upon his death. After Rhodes passed away in 1902, plans were set in motion to construct the memorial. The monument was designed by architect Sir Herbert Baker and unveiled in 1912 by the Duke of Connaught, a member of the British royal family.
The memorial itself is an impressive structure that features a statue of Rhodes seated on a horse, along with a marble colonnade and a surrounding amphitheatre. The monument is situated on the slopes of Table Mountain, offering breathtaking views of the city and its surroundings.
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Rhodes Memorial Design and Construction
The design of the Rhodes Memorial was inspired by the ancient Greek temple of Zeus at Olympia. The monument was built using local granite and features 49 steps leading up to the statue of Rhodes. The bronze statue of Rhodes was sculpted by Marion Walgate and stands on a plinth that is inscribed with the words “To the Spirit and Life Work of Cecil John Rhodes, 1853-1902”. Rhodes Memorial was officially opened by Lord Gladstone, the Governor-General of South Africa, on 17 April 1912. The memorial was later declared a National Monument by the South African Heritage Resources Agency in 1938.
Rhodes Memorial Gardens
The gardens surrounding Rhodes Memorial are a beautiful attraction in their own right. The gardens were designed by landscape architect James Kyle and feature a variety of indigenous plants and flowers. Visitors can stroll along the winding paths, take in the breathtaking views of the city, and enjoy a picnic in the peaceful surroundings. The gardens are also home to a number of animal species, including the Cape Dwarf Chameleon, which is endemic to the Cape Peninsula. The gardens are a popular spot for birdwatching, with a variety of bird species making their home in the area.
Rhodes Memorial Walks and Hikes
Rhodes Memorial is a popular starting point for several hikes and walks in the surrounding area. The most popular hike is the Rhodes Memorial to Kirstenbosch Gardens hike, which takes visitors along a scenic route through the forests of Table Mountain National Park. This hike takes approximately two hours to complete and offers stunning views of the city and the surrounding mountains. Another popular walk is the Rhodes Memorial to Newlands Forest walk, which takes visitors through Table Mountain National Park and into the beautiful Newlands Forest. This walk takes approximately three hours to complete and is a great way to explore the natural beauty of the area.
Rhodes Memorial Restaurant and Tea Room
Rhodes Memorial is also home to a restaurant and tea room, which offers visitors a chance to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings while enjoying a meal or a cup of tea. The tea room is a popular spot for afternoon tea and offers a variety of cakes and pastries, as well as a selection of teas and coffees. The tea room also offers stunning views of the city and is a great place to rest and take in the scenery after a long walk or hike. The restaurant and tea room are open seven days a week and offer indoor and outdoor seating options. Visitors can choose to sit inside and enjoy the cosy ambience or sit outside and take in the beautiful views of Cape Town and the surrounding mountains.
Visiting the Rhodes Memorial 🚙
The Rhodes Memorial is a great experience for the whole family, it is open to the public Monday to Sunday from 09h00 to 17h00 for free. The memorial also has a family-friendly restaurant nearby. You can attend as a part of a tour group or on your own. It is near the University of Cape Town. Off M3, exit 8 Rondebosch, and follow signs up the mountain.
Rhodes Memorial is a must-visit attraction for anyone visiting Cape Town. The memorial and surrounding area offer a fascinating glimpse into the life and legacy of Cecil John Rhodes, as well as stunning views of the city and the natural beauty of Table Mountain National Park. Whether you’re looking to go on a hike, enjoy a picnic, or simply relax and take in the scenery, Rhodes Memorial has something for everyone.