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South African Jewish Museum

The origin and development of the Jewish community in South Africa is revealed in the exhibitions and presentations at this compelling museum.

Learn about the history of South Africa’s Jewish community as you browse the historical artifacts, interactive displays and presentations at the South African Jewish Museum.

Cape Town has the oldest Jewish community in sub-Saharan Africa. Learn about the country’s first Jewish settlers who arrived in the early 19th century. These settlers were English and German Jews who came here to trade.

The city's first synagogue, erected in 1862, serves as the entrance to the museum. Once inside, view the collection of Jewish ceremonial artifacts. Then cross the drawbridge to the main museum building. The walkway is meant to represent ship gangplanks that immigrants would have walked down on arriving in the country.

Read information panels and watch touch-screen presentations that cover such topics as anti-Semitism and how Jewish immigrants established themselves in the country. One of the touch-screen kiosks provides details on prominent Jewish people who have contributed to South African society, including the actress Janet Suzman.

Walk through the life-size re-creation of a shtetl. A shtetl is a typical Eastern European village from where many of South Africa's first Jewish settlers would have come. See the replica of a smous cart that would have been used by peddlers to transport their wares.

The museum is also home to a Japanese miniature art collection. Peruse miniature ceremonial carvings in ivory and wood that were worn by rich merchants. The items date from the 17th to the 19th centuries, and more than 200 are on display. View another touch-screen presentation to see photographs of each piece and learn about its history.

The museum is located in the center of Cape Town in an area known as Museum Mile for the concentration of museums. Catch public transportation to the area or drive and use the parking, available for a fee, about a block from the museum.

The South African Jewish Museum is open every day except Saturdays and Jewish holidays. Admission charges apply with discounts for seniors. Children under the age of 12 can enter for free. Bring photo ID with you.


Guide to Exploring around South African Jewish Museum


Best Lodging Options Near South African Jewish Museum

See all 3,615 Properties near South African Jewish Museum
Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel
Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel

Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel

76 Orange Street, Cape Town, Western Cape
     
    5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    This family-friendly Cape Town hotel is located near the airport, within a 15-minute walk of Company's Garden and South African Jewish Museum. Greenmarket Square and Iziko Social History Resource Centre are also within 1 mi (2 km). Cape Town Station is 25 minutes by foot.

    Hippo Boutique Hotel ¥3,678
    Hippo Boutique Hotel

    Hippo Boutique Hotel

    5-9 Park Road, Gardens, Cape Town, Western Cape
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Cape Town City Centre, this boutique hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of South African Museum and Planetarium and Greenmarket Square. Castle of Good Hope and Table Mountain are also within 6 mi (10 km). Cape Town Station is 22 minutes by foot.

      Mandela Rhodes Place Hotel ¥8,413
      Mandela Rhodes Place Hotel

      Mandela Rhodes Place Hotel

      Corner of Burg & Wale Street, Cape Town, Western Cape
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        This family-friendly Cape Town hotel is located in the mountains, just steps from St. Georges Mall and Long Street. Kloof Street and Castle of Good Hope are also within 15 minutes. Cape Town Station is 10 minutes by foot.

        Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence, Cape Town ¥6,197
        Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence, Cape Town

        Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence, Cape Town

        22 Riebeek Street, Cape Town, Western Cape
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Cape Town City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Long Street and Cape Town International Convention Centre. Castle of Good Hope and Kloof Street are also within 1 mi (2 km). Cape Town Station is 7 minutes by foot.

          InnsCape on Castle
          InnsCape on Castle

          InnsCape on Castle

          53 Castle Street, Cape Town, Western Cape
             
            3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Cape Town City Centre, this hotel is steps from St. Georges Mall and Long Street. Cape Town International Convention Centre and Castle of Good Hope are also within 15 minutes. Cape Town Station is 6 minutes by foot.

            The Onyx Apartment Hotel ¥5,322
            The Onyx Apartment Hotel

            The Onyx Apartment Hotel

            57 Heerengracht Street, Cape Town, Western Cape
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Cape Town City Centre, this aparthotel is within a 5-minute walk of Long Street and Cape Town International Convention Centre. Castle of Good Hope and Two Oceans Aquarium are also within 1 mi (2 km). Cape Town Station is 9 minutes by foot.

              iKhaya Lodge & Conference Centre
              iKhaya Lodge & Conference Centre

              iKhaya Lodge & Conference Centre

              Dunkley Square, Gardens, Cape Town, Western Cape
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Cape Town City Centre, this guesthouse is within a 15-minute walk of South African Jewish Museum, Long Street, and Kloof Street. Castle of Good Hope and Cape Town International Convention Centre are also within 2 mi (3 km). Cape Town Station is 15 minutes by foot.

                Cape Town Hollow Boutique Hotel
                Cape Town Hollow Boutique Hotel

                Cape Town Hollow Boutique Hotel

                88 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, Western Cape
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Cape Town City Centre, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of South African Museum and Planetarium and Company's Garden. South African National Gallery and Western Cape High Court are also within 10 minutes. Cape Town Station is 16 minutes by foot.