- Explore over one and a half million scientific specimens
- Collections ranging from 700 million-year-old fossils to insects and fish caught last week
- Visit a Digital planetarium and go on a virtual exploration of the universe, the human body, or atomic structures
The Iziko South African Museum is home to the majestic Whale Well – an enthralling experience of marine wonder that includes a 20.5 metre blue whale skeleton.
A modern centre of research excellence, the museum showcases a rich range of specimens, from fossil footprints to African dinosaurs, as well as trance-inspired San rock paintings. Situated in the Company’s Garden, it provides inspiring insight to the diversity of the natural world we live in from its exhibitions inside and its beautiful surroundings outside.
Founded in 1825 by Lord Charles Somerset, the Iziko South African Museum has been storing and adding specimens of scientific importance to its collection for nearly 200 years. The museum moved to its present building in the historic Company’s Garden in 1897. Today, the museum contains collections that will show generations to come what our world was like, providing visitors with a better understanding of the earth, past and present.
Closed Sunday, Christmas Day, Worker’s Day (1 May)
Iziko South African Museum
Advice for visitors
The museum is an especially fun family experience, showing extinct species as well as current species from all over the world. The planetarium is an added expense, but is highly recommended with its hour-long films that detail the incredible hidden details of the universe, human body and more. Be sure to ask staff for a virtual tour of the planetarium as well. The gardens surrounding the museum are an equally worthwhile place to spend a few hours. Even better – grab a spot in the shade with the museum as a backdrop and have a picnic on the grass.
Did you know
Iziko is an IsiXhosa word meaning “‘hearth”. A hearth in a typical African homestead usually occupies a central space, hence the Museums of South Africa have been renamed Iziko Museums of South Africa. The prefix Iziko symbolises the museums as hubs of cultural activity and a central place for gathering South Africa’s diverse heritage.