Western Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Houses of Parliament
The city of Cape Town, despite not being the capital of South Africa, is home to South Africa’s Parliament - Cape Town is the legislative capital, whilst the seat of government is in Pretoria, the administrative capital - which is one of the biggest draw cards to the city under the mountain.
Where? Plein Street, Cape Town Central, Cape Town Central
Call? For Tours contact +27 (0)21 403-2266
Lying in the uppermost corner of Company Gardens, with their entrance on Parliament Street, it’s not unusual for locals and visitors alike to encounter Members of Parliament in coffee shops or restaurants in the surrounding areas; and journalists use this locale to scout for news.
It is from here that the President gives his State of the Nation Address, after the opening of Parliament, which involves several road closures and demarcated ‘no parking zones’ around the Gardens - a challenge for locals getting in and out of the Cape Town city centre, but a welcome spectacle for visitors.
Visitors can buy tickets to sit in the public gallery during parliamentary sessions between January and June, although you need to remember to have your passport with you, and there are guided tours though the Houses of Parliament buildings during the week.
The parliament building itself, which also houses the Library of Parliament, is beautiful, with its central dome and Corinthian porticos and pavilions.
The original designer, Charles Freeman, miscalculated the foundations and was replaced by Henry Greaves, who oversaw the building until completion in 1885. The new House of Assembly was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.