Art Museums In South Africa You Need To Check Out

Whether you’re looking for traditional paintings dating back to the Victorian era or ancient artifacts sculpted by the early tribesmen of Africa, you’ll find it in some of South Africa’s prestigious and off-the-beaten-path museums. To get your arts and culture fix, start planning your trip to some of these fabulous art museums throughout the country.

south african national gallery

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South African National Gallery

Nestled in the foothills of the mountains in Cape Town, South African National Gallery is a gem of a find for visitors who are looking to peruse through extraordinary collections of paintings, photography, textiles, beadwork and more. Art lovers will walk up to a white Cape Dutch-style building and step inside feeling like they’ve walked into a Smithsonian museum. The museum has temporary exhibits that rotate seasonally so visitors will see something new each visit.


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Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa

Give yourself something to analyze for days at Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town. Each room art lovers walk through will have them speculating over controversial art pieces such as skinned hides made to look like bodies, floral sculptures, portrait photography to symbolize poverty, outside art installments in abstract forms and many more pieces from the 21st century. And not to mention, visitors will appreciate the abstract building that currently houses the museum.


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Museum of African Design

Ever wondered how the simple gadgets we use in our life everyday are designed? Museum of African Design (MOAD) in downtown Johannesburg highlights how there could be beauty and an African touch used in standard products from textiles, to furniture, to kitchen utensils, to architecture and more. The building is currently in a renovated 1930s warehouse-turned-museum, giving visitors stunning historic and rustic architecture to admire too. It’s a small exhibit but well worth the visit when exploring the downtown area.


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Wits Art Museum

Also in Johannesburg is Wits Art Museum┬áis held on the campus of University of Witwatersrand where students and non-students can explore African art. There, you’ll find an impressive collection of tribal masks, textiles, and more. In addition to the ancient art pieces sourced throughout Africa, the museum also has contemporary pieces covering photography, paintings, sculptures, and other mediums.

nelson mandela metropolitan museum of art

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Nelson Mandela Metropolitian Art Museum

Visit the museum that honors South Africa’s most memorable hero by naming it after him. The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum in Port Elizabeth is a must see for visitors in the area. There, art lovers can admire a series of paintings and crafts that highlight the apartheid-era as well as more political contemporary art pieces from the 21st century. There are seasonal exhibits that change frequently for art lovers to see something new each visit. Past exhibits include 3D art, unique kite designs, and still life paintings.

rupert museum

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Rupert Museum

View the private collection of Anton and Huberte Rupert at the Rupert Museum in Stellenbosch. Over 350 pieces can be admired by art lovers in this museum located only 60 km from Cape Town. The pair has collected art pieces throughout their lifetime from talented South African artists with some small additional works from European artists. To this date, the collection continues to grow and draw more visitors to this special 0ne-of-a-kind museum.

tatham art gallery

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Tatham Art Gallery

In Pietermartizburg, Tatham Art Gallery is full of nothing but elegance of the same caliber as Tate Modern where art enthusiasts can browse through exhibits done by South African and European artists. The works range from historic South African landscape paintings to abstract, modern art installments, giving visitors plenty of exhibits to explore that caters to their taste. Come hungry, the museum has its own Cafe Tatham serving up fine tea, scones and small sandwiches. And don’t forget to take home a souvenir from the Tatham Shop where you can acquire ceramic goods and beadwork jewelry.

More from AFKTravel:

Art In Unexpected Places: Durban’s Creative Explosion, In The Streets, Stadiums And Beyond

The Ceramic Artistry Of Fez, Morocco

6 Lesser-Known Museums In Cape Town You Should Visit


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