Jambo and Happy Halloween! In honor of this creepy holiday, we’ve rounded up some of the most haunted places and spookiest stories in South Africa. With its long and turbulent history, South Africa is said to be home to many restless spirits. Why not stop in at some of these goosebump-inducing locations on a visit to Cape Town or a South African safari?
Cape Town: Castle of Good Hope
This popular tourist destination is the oldest colonial building in South Africa, built by the Dutch East India Company in 1666. The Castle of Good Hope contains a dungeon that was infamously used to torture and execute prisoners. At high tide, the dungeon would flood, often drowning prisoners chained to the walls.
Many ghost sightings have been reported at the castle. The first sighting, that of a tall, spectral man pacing the battlements, occurred in 1915. Visitors have continued to spot this man throughout the years, and some say they’ve seen him jumping off the castle wall. Plan a visit to Cape Town!
Eastern Cape: The Uniondale Hitchhiker
The story of the Uniondale Hitchhiker begins on a stormy night in 1968. A young Air Force lieutenant was driving on the highway near the town of Uniondale with his fiancée asleep in the backseat. Allegedly, they were on their way to tell their families about their engagement. The young woman, Maria Roux, was killed in a car accident that night, and it’s said that her ghost haunts the highway near the site of her death. Several people have reported picking up a female hitchhiker with short brown hair, only to find that she suddenly disappeared partway through the trip. Plan a trip to Eastern Cape!
Cape Point: The Flying Dutchman
The Flying Dutchman is one of the most famous ghosts in the world. According to legend, a ship full of valuable goods from the far East was heading to Cape Point when it was hit with a terrible storm. The captain, likely drunk, refused to turn the ship around, despite the pleas of his crew. When the crew attempted a mutiny, the captain threw the leader overboard. A spirit then appeared and told the captain he would be condemned to sail the seas for eternity as punishment for his actions. For centuries, sailors have reported seeing this spectral ship. In some cases, it comes close to colliding with a ship, then disappears. Sometimes, it leads ships astray. Sailors have even accused the ghost of the Flying Dutchman of causing their food to spoil. Visit Cape Point!
KwaZulu-Natal: Nottingham Road Hotel
There are two different accounts of how Charlotte, the ghost who reportedly haunted the Nottingham Road Hotel in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal region, met her untimely end. Some say she was a chambermaid who fell in love with a British soldier; when he died in battle, she was so stricken with grief that she threw herself off the balcony. Others say she was a less-than-reputable woman who got in an argument with a man who wouldn’t pay for her services and pushed her over the edge. Either way, visitors have allegedly encountered the spirit of a woman, particularly in Room 10, who is known to rearrange rooms.
Kimberley: Rudd House
The old mining town of Kimberley is the perfect stage for a ghost story. Rudd House, built by the chairman of the DeBeers Mining Company in the 1870s, is said to be one of the most active centers of paranormal activity in South Africa. The Rudd family lived in this house for approximately 100 years over many generations. Finally, they moved out because they continued to hear the sound of a baby wailing and silverware clanking without any apparent cause.