Nestled in the harbour between the harbour basins and the cruise terminal stands the Silo district, a monument to sophistication and contemporary art and repurposed history and industrial heritage.
The old towering grain silo complex, originally built in 1921, made up a huge part of production at the harbour. In the present, these industrial giants have been reconstituted to host contemporary African art, style, and sophisticated chic. With food, design, shopping, art, and leisure, the complex caters to a broad audience of connoisseurs.
The building that inspired other businesses to follow suit is the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA). Built in the tallest, oldest grain silo, the whole building itself has become an art piece. With soaring columns, high ceilings, and cut out concrete, it’s like walking into an industrial cathedral. Bursting with galleries filled with the most important in African art and design.
Above the Zeitz MOCAA is the Silo Hotel, a boutique hotel with stunning views of the Cape Town Skyline, the harbour and Table Mountain. With contemporary style and luxury, it boasts a state of the art spa, luxury suites and three dining options for guests to choose from. With glass paneled walls, the silo is turned into a glowing beacon at night for all to see.
The other silos are home to boutique stores and restaurants which offer grand taste sensations with dishes from Asia and Europe. The Lindt Chocolate factory in Silo 2 offers chocolate tasting and chocolate making classes, taking visitors on a journey of taste and senses. The Radisson Red in Silo 6 offers a city hotel experience to artistic, expressive crowds, the people in touch with art, fashion and music.
In the Silo Districts immediate surrounds visitors can find another 7 Wonders picture frame to get a shot of Table Mountain and the mother city. Next door is the Cape Town Diamond Museum, where visitors can learn all about the Diamond Rush in Cape Town, and see how rough diamonds are transformed into the sparkling jewels we know and love.
Next to that is a Chavonnes Battery museum, a piece of ancient Dutch history unearthed. The Battery’s protected the Cape in the early days of Dutch colonisation, sinking unfriendly or unrecognisable ships in the bay and protecting the settlement from unwelcome threats. Visitors can see the guns themselves, and explore the ancient building that has been turned into a gallery for art and photography across the globe.
Then there is the Clock Tower center, just across from the famous Waterfront Swing Bridge. The Clock Tower was once the Port Captain’s Office, built in 1882, and today it’s a tourism hub with retail stores, restaurants, and other notable historic landmarks such as the Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island, which is a all-glass museum telling the history of Nelson Mandela’s political struggle for the freedom of South Africans. From this museum visitors can take boat tours to Robben Island, where they will get a chance to see where Nelson Mandela was held prisoner for so many years.
The Silo District is a mix of contemporary modern art and sophistication with industrial history and heritage. In a country so rich in history and culture, the Zeitz MOCAA and its surrounds provide an insight into the world of African art, culture, and the modern world. It’s a worthwhile visit for any tourist or local that admires contemporary style.