Scotland, London, France and other countries come to mind when one imagine castles, sitting on the top of grassy hills and stone foundations. Africa is known largely for its pyramids in Egypt and Sudan; mud huts with thatched rooftops and door-less gateways in the rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. Thoughts of the countryside are tainted by derogatory echoes of things lacking, slum villages, and impossible roads.
It would not come as a shock then, that the idea of castles in Africa, is as foreign to some as the idea of pyramids outside of the continent. If it was widely known that there were pyramids in Spain, Greece, and Mexico, maybe the idea of medieval castles with Norman and Gothic architecture across the African continent would be more reflective of the reality, especially since they are not the typical sensationalized historiography of forts related to the slave trade such as Elmina in Ghana or the Maison des Esclaves on Goree Island, Senegal. Granted, historic sites such as Elmina must retain its sentimental value for those affected by it to get reflection and find closure; there is more to Africa than overcoming terrible memories. There are other architectural attractions that serve a different purpose, a less psychologically intense appeal; a more naturally beautiful experience.
These pictured below, are in fact real castles in Africa, some were built as private residential homes and others serve as hotels and venues for special occasions today. While some of these were built by Europeans working in Africa during the 20th Century, some of them were built by Africans themselves. They are found along beaches, in the midst of a forest, and right in the center of the busy business district. At least two of them are for sale at a very humble price; if you won’t mind living in the middle of nowhere, at least you would have the opportunity to create your own world, right inside Africa.
Fasilides Castle (Fasil Ghebbi, Gondar, Ethiopia, East Africa)
Gondar, Ethiopia is home to various medieval structures such as this castle made of stone, which was built by the Ethiopian Emperor Fasilidas in the 17th Century. According to UNESCO, the fortress city, which includes this castle, served as the center of the Ethiopian Government till the 19th Century. The castle serves as a popular tourist destination today.
Cairo Citadel (Cairo, Egypt, North Africa)
This 12th Century Castle was built by the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria, Saladin, as protection during the Crusades. The medieval castle was built strategically to defend itself from crusaders as well as taking in the best of the wind, which is notable in the area for producing some of the most refreshing breeze. The castle serves as a tourist site equipped with museums including the National Police Museum, a Carriage Museum, and a spectacular view of the city of Cairo.
Camelot Castle (Clarens, Free State, South Africa, Southern Africa)
A hotel resort in the town of Clarens, South Africa, the Camelot Castle sits on about 3,000 square meters. A very artistic town, Camelot shares its space with two other popular castles in South Africa.
Kajuru Castle (Kajuru, Kaduna State, Nigeria, West Africa)
Built in the 1980s by German businessman, Gerhard Huebner. It is about 27 miles from Kaduna, which is home to the Nigerian Defense Academy and the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology. The castle is equipped with towers, dungeons, secret rooms, and a baronial hall, among others. The castle today, serves as a private resort for gatherings up to a max of about 10 to 12 people.
Lindsay Castle (Noetzie, Knysna, South Africa, Southern Africa)
In the 1930s a few castles were built on Noetzie Beach in Knysna, South Africa. Castles such as Lindsay Castle, Craighross Castle, and about 4 others line the oceanfront of the Indian Ocean and are offered to guests as getaways with beautiful amenities.
Lundazi Castle (Lundazi, Zambia, Southern Africa)
The Lundazi Castle, in the business center of Lundazi District, Zambia, is styled in Norman architecture built with brick. The castle was built in the 1940s by the British District Officer at the time, Errol Button. It started off as a Government guesthouse and has evolved over the decades as a very popular hotel equipped with 17 rooms, a dungeon, and battlements.
Nesbitt Castle (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Southern Africa)
It took about 30 years to build this medieval castle in Zimbabwe, with work starting around 1910. It was built by a South African named Theodore Garde, who started off as a Theologian and became a successful businessman. His love for ancient and archaeological things inspired him to build this into his own home, which he called Holdengarde Castle. The castle sits on about 100 acres of land with Gothic styled architecture. In the 1980s, a businessman from Zimbabwe, Digby Nesbitt renovated the castle and transformed it into a boutique hotel.
Saldanha Stone-Castle (Saldanha, Western Cape, South Africa, Southern Africa)
On the beach in Bluewater Bay, this South African castle serves as a 7-room guest house, equipped with a large dining hall and an entertainment center between its towers. Supposedly, the castle is on sale by Seef Real Estate for R7.6m, which is about $700,00.
Stratford Castle (Durban, South Africa, Southern Africa)
Listed as one of 10 castles in the world built for love by Web Urbanist, this baronial-styled castle is equipped with stained glass centerpieces, bartizan windows, amazing Armour and antiques. It is famously known for an engraving of Poet, Sir Walter Raleigh’s words “True love is a durable fire, in the mind ever burning”. The castle has a secret garden in its open rooftop with a sauna as well as a Jacuzzi room. The castle is on sale for about $365,00 by itself, or $500,000 for the castle and the Hugh Baiocchi 9-hole golf course, which sits right next to it.
Tafaria Castle (Nyeri, Kenya, East Africa)
This 29 room castle was built by Kenyan businessman, George Waititu, who still currently owns it. Waititu, who is in his 40s, grew up in the community dreaming of castles. After several decades of achieving success in his business ventures, he decided to leave his longtime high-paying job, return to his community and build a medieval-styled castle. The castle is equipped with a stable of horses and an amphitheater. Exciting events are hosted at the castle grounds such as the ‘X-Knights’, which is a mountain bike challenge, and various tours from Nairobi.
Pezula Private Castle (Noetzie Beach, South Africa)