Walking Tour 8:

Observatory Tour


Tour Length: 3 hours

Tour Themes: XXXXXXX

Meeting Point: The gates of the South African Astronomical Observatory

End Point: Wrensch House on Lower Wrensch Road

Fitness Level: Medium

Language: English

Price: R150

Starting Point

End Point

A Bit of Background

Observatory – Obz and Ends

Why is Observatory?

Who is Lower Main Road?

How is Stones?

When is Bourgeois-Bohemia?

Where is dagga?

What is love?

We aspire to give you definitive answers to at least none of these questions on our magical mystery ramble through the best suburb in the country.

Observatory is, in short, the wedge of Cape Town – the district that’s never officially been one in the first place. It started by sucking in the loafers and flaneurs of the Imperial age and thrived through catching the hearts of every prospector hopelessly lost on their way to Jo’burg. It defied the apartheid-era by comprising the fringes of segregated worlds and bouncing most of the Commerce Bros at the door.

Today, like a lovable cockroach, it’s survived years of recession and the pandemic and come out fighting with more coffee-spots and daylight-robbery-based vintage stores than ever before. And we all have at least one favourite establishment where our lives were exemplified in a moment’s notice. Think about yours, and I’ll tell you its history.

So join me at the entrance to the actual Observatory just past the Two Rivers Urban Park and I’ll blast you through a living past of decolonial raiding, Victorian astrophilia, saloon-jazz derangement and diasporic immortality.

Archive Gallery

All photos, unless otherwise stated, are from the collections of Michael Fortune, Etienne du Plessis and the Cape of Diab group.

Our friends in Hout Bay

Reference Books for this Tour


  • Book 1
  • Book 2
  • Book 3
  • Book 4

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