Photoblog: Cape Town – then and now

Posted by Janine Avery on 23 May 2013

Cape Town, South Africa’s beloved Mother City, has changed dramatically over the years. Towering office blocks have overrun the city, bars and restaurants litter the streets and new Cape Town hotels can be found at every corner as industries boom. With this increase in infrastructure, Cape Town has changed her face. Take a look at Cape Town then and the Mother City as it is now:

In 1899 Woodstock was a beach. Today Woodstock is a busy industrial area.

Image source: Mallix

Welgemeend in Gardens was built in the 1700s and is one of the oldest surviving houses in Cape Town. Today the Welgemeend venue is used as a wedding and function venue.

Image source: pesteil2b

The 1900 Naval Base in Simon's Town. Simon's Town harbour as appears here today.

 Image source: HomeAway

A view of Sea Point in 1890. The built-up contemporary view of Sea Point as it is today.

Image source:

Orange Street in 1870. The modern Orange Street in Cape Town.

Image source: Citysightseeing-blog

The Old Pier in Cape Town which started from Adderly Street. The Foreshore area of Cape Town that you can see today.

Image source: Citysightseeing-blog

The Mowbray lime kilns in 1910 that were torn down. The Forest Hill staff housing for UCT that replaced them.

Image source: UCT

Lion's Head as viewed from Table Mountain over the years.

Image source: Panoramio

Kloof Road that runs down to the beach as it was in 1953. Kloof road as we see it today.

Image source: Walkthecape

A desolate Cape Town harbour in 1948. The fully functioning harbour that we see in Cape Town today.

Image source: Naturalmeat

The first Cape Argus cycle tour with 525 people taking part in 1978. The Pick n Pay Cape Argus Cycle Tour today, with over 35 000 participants.

Image source: Homeless

Table Mountain from an undeveloped Blouberg beach in 1950. The developed Boubergstrand area now with Table Mountain in the distance.

Image soure: Expactcapetown

De Waal Park in 1898. De Waal Park as it still lives on today.

Image source: De Waal Park

Historical images courtesy of RoomsforAfrica


Ed’s note

As a relatively new resident of Cape Town, it’s fascinating to see the city’s evolution in pictures. It reminds me of this video (Cape Town time-morph panorama: 1884 – 2013) we recently posted which shows the city’s 129-year change in 30 seconds. What is especially interesting to me is how the shoreline, which used to come up to the now vibrant suburb of De Waterkant, hence the name, has been filled in to extend the harbour (now part of the V&A Waterfont). It makes we want to take that long-overdue historical tour of the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town or at least start ticking off items on Sarah Duff’s rather comprehensive local’s guide to Cape Town.

For those of you who haven’t been to Cape Town, it’s reason enough to get yourself to SA’s tourist capital to see for yourself. There are loads of affordable accommodation options in Cape Town and you can even throw in a great white shark cage dive on Seal Island while you’re here, although I probably wouldn’t.

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