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Explore these Chilling Haunted Locations in South Africa

South Africa is full of spooky locations, both abandoned and inhabited by ghosts and residents

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By House & Garden South Africa | October 26, 2023 | Travel Leisure

With South Africa’s history — both dark and celebratory — going back hundreds of years, there are sure to be many locations where the stories and those who once lived their lives there, have yet to move on. In fact, South Africa is world-renowned for haunted locations that are both abandoned and still inhabited. From historic hotels, museums, shops, to prisons, South Africa is a great place for those with an appetite for the paranormal, or for those who are non-believers. While all these locations are reported to have different kinds of paranormal activity, what they all have are their own histories and those who live today to retell their stories.

Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town

The Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town is a beacon in the middle of the city as a tourism hotspot, as well as the human emotions that characterise South Africa as a nation. This bright yellow fort is also the oldest surviving building in the country, after being built between 1666 and 1679, meaning it has a plethora of stories attached to its lore.

Like other historical sites in South Africa, their respective hauntings stem from tragedy. In its construction, sailors, Khoisan people, and enslaved bodies were used as workforce to erect the buildings of this European fort. Visitors report hearing footsteps when in the Castle’s windless dungeons when they are alone, the bell ringing on its own when there is no one ringing it. But when it comes to crime and punishment, and our perceptions of it historically is very different, so you would you have people imprisoned here and punished for crimes in a way that would today be considered inhumane. This most manifests itself through the reported ghost of the governor Pieter Gijsbert van Noodt, who sentenced multiple men to death in the 1700’s. But Van Noodt died soon after their hangings after reportedly getting cursed by prisoners whose last wishes he wouldn’t grant. Today, staff and guests say they hear him swearing throughout the Castle’s corridors.

Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town. Image via Pexels.

Ghosts of the Nottingham Road Hotel, KwaZulu-Natal

Perched in the Midlands in KwaZulu-Natal is one of South Africa’s oldest hotels, the Nottingham Road Hotel, which remains a popular stay today for families visiting students at the famed Michaelhouse school and runners who congregate to take part in Comrades. But, separate from the histories and lore of these prestigious occasions bringing guests to the rooms and halls of “Notties”, the hotel is reported to home to a ghost reportedly named Charlotte. Since the hotel’s establishment in 1854, its links to soldiers and the railway system can be said to bring stories that may result in ghostly figures.

Staff and guests of Nottingham Road Hotel have reported sighting a ghostly woman who walks the grounds of the hotel, with more sightings linked to room 10. Yet, Charlotte is said not to be malevolent, but a benign, helpful spirit who moves flowers, packs away clothing, and fixes the beds. But the lore of Charlotte says she had thrown herself off (or perhaps pushed off) the balcony to her death, after living as a chamber maid.

The Nottingham Road Hotel, in the Midlands. Image: supplied.

Chimes Hotel and Tavern, Benoni

While the Kempton Park Hospital is one of Johannesburg’s most well-known abandoned location with ghostly stories from before and after its mysterious shuddering, the Chimes Hotel and Tavern in Benoni is another location where South African history and ghostly tales converge. When gold was discovered in Benoni during the gold rush of 1886, the Benoni Gold Mine was established, though it was later renamed the New Chimes Mine.

Built by those who came to make a stake in the gold rush, the Chimes Hotel and Tavern was built, making it one of the oldest pubs in the country that also fed and housed prospectives. But Chimes become a rough place where miners drank their wages at the bar. Today, groups of paranormal investigators have explored the old building overnight and recorded spooky voices like scary chanting during the night.