Rhodes Memorial is a national landmark which lies within the Table Mountain National Park. It stands on the slopes of Devil's Peak, on the Northern flank of Table Mountain and offers stunning views of industrial Cape Town, out over the airport and the Cape Flats. On a clear day, one can even get spectacular views of the Helderberg and Hottentots Holland Mountain range.
Rhodes memorial, which was designed by Sir Herbert Baker, was built in 1912 to honour former Cape Colony prime minister and mining magnate Cecil John Rhodes. The position chosen was Rhodes’ favourite viewing site. It is said that Rhodes used to sit there and restlessly contemplate his future.
Rhodes Memorial was designed to resemble a Grecian temple. There are eight bronze lions modelled on those at the base of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, London. The Doric columns were inspired by Rhodes’s appreciation of classical architecture.
Rhode Memorial consists of 49 steps, each representing one for each year of Rhodes’s life. A bronze bust of Rhodes rests on a pedestal featuring a poem written by his close friend, Rudyard Kipling. The statue of Physical Energy at the base of the steps stands for a tribute to Rhode's drive and determination.
Rhodes Memorial offers an imposing view over the Cape Flats. It can be accessed form M3. It is a popular spot, particularly with students from the nearby University of Cape Town, which is a short walk away, and visitors can enjoy tea and scones or a light lunch at the tearoom located in a cottage (also a Herbert Baker original).
The area surrounding this site is full of stone pine trees and is the starting point for hiking paths on the slopes of Devil's Peak. The memorial is open to the public in winter (May to September) from 08h00 to 18h00, and in summer (October to April) from 07h30 to 19h00. Entry is free.
Hiking Trails from Rhodes memorial
The Kings Blockhouse
The Kings Blockhouse was built in 1796 by the British as a defensive and lookout position and it allows a complete view of False Bay and the Castle. The Block House is on the Contour Path which continues in both directions towards Kirstenbosch and towards Table Mountain.
The walk up to the Kings Blockhouse takes about 1 hour. As it is quite isolated, it may not be safe to be at the Blockhouse alone after dark. Make sure that you have ample time to get up and down before dark. The easiest way to get there is to hike up from Rhodes Memorial. Just follow the signs all the way up. Look out for the path heading up the hill towards the Block House; it starts at the top left of the parking area.
Rhodes Memorial to Kirstenbosch
This hike is pretty easy at the beginning but it seems endless as it takes a quite some time to reach Kirstenbosch. It takes about 3 hours to complete the walk.
You walk on the contour path from the block hut to the top of Kirstenbosch. The views over the city and False Bay are stunning and on a clear day, you can see all the way to Hangklip on the other side of the bay. There are many boardwalks that make it easy to walk. It is a nice walk for hot days because for most of the time in the forest, you are sheltered from the sun.
In summer time, Kirstenbosch organises Summer Concerts on Sunday afternoons which are very popular. As you attend the concert, it is great fun to bring your picnic basket of snacks, bubbly and just chill.
Rhodes Memorial Restaurant
Right behind the memorial, on an elevated terrace, you will find the Rhodes Memorial Restaurant. It serves al fresco meals daily, ranging from lovely salads to baguettes, platters and fresh fish. It is also renowned for its fresh cakes and desserts, created on the premises. Enjoy splendid views from the sun terrace in summer, and a log fire in winter.
The restaurant is open seven days a week from 09h00 to 17h00.