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This cache has been archived.

mr panda: This is definitely past its by date :(

Thanks for the lovely notes and happy days! I hope a new cache appears here soon so I can find it!


Hidden Heritage: Wagenaar's Reservoir

A cache by mr panda Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 01/24/2011
2.5 out of 5
1 out of 5

Size: Size:   micro (micro)

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Geocache Description:

The given coordinates are an approximation, as there is not GPS signal where the cache is located. This cache is a letterbox-hybrid, where the location of the cache is described with clues. I’ve provided a hand carved stamp for any letterboxers who may wish to log this (bring your own ink), and co-listed the cache on one of the letterboxing websites (link).

To find the container, follow these clues:
In the bowels of Golden Acre a treasure was found.
Across from the exact spot, the secret lies under the ground.
Behind the sign, a magnetic box awaits,
To see if the hunter is favoured by the fates.

Cache Description:

The Dutch East India Company started a settlement at Table Bay for one main reason: access to fresh water. Their single most important source of water was a river that few know about today. The Versche (Fresh) River begins where Platteklip and Silverstream join at the base of the mountain, and once ran into the bay, roughly where Adderly Street now lies. Today, this river runs mostly underground, but previously it watered the fertile fields of city bowl where the Khoi-khoi grazed their flocks. Later, these waters resupplied ships and the Company Gardens were planted along its banks.

Van Riebeek built a small ‘reservoir’ at the river mouth so ships could get fresh water. However, this was little more than a mud hole. After many complaints, Van Riebeek’s replacement, Zacharias Wagenaar, ordered the construction of a stone and brick reservoir. On August 6th 1663, three years before he laid down first stones of the Castle, construction of the reservoir began. The reservoir was built adjacent to the "Fort of the Good Hope" and was about 45 metres long by 15 metres wide. Steps ran down to it from which sailors could fill barrels. In 1671, a channel was designed by W. Mostert (of Mostert's Mill) to link the reservoir with ships at sea.

When work on the Castle began, the Varsche Rivier was again put to use in the Castles moat. The river was further employed to fill the canals (a "Gracht" in Dutch) around the growing settlement. Soon there was a Heerengracht, a Buitengracht, and a Keizersgracht, crossed by little bridges, all fed from the mountain river. By 1760, the Gracht system had completely replaced Wagenar’s reservoir and was used until 1845. The remains of the reservoir were built over and lost to all but archives and stories.

In the 1970s, archaeologists at the South Africa Museum (now Iziko) knew that beneath the ‘Old Station’ lay valuable heritage and there was a proposal for SANLAM to develop the property. After extensive urging, the City Council made a pioneering move by including a clause in the deed of sale explicitly providing for archaeological investigation of the site. Thus the development included archaeological monitoring of the destruction of the station and the excavation for the building of the Golden Acre. Among many other treasures found, In 1975, monitors identified “very old brick” and notified the (then) National Monuments Council. After archaeological excavation and investigation the remains were confirmed as Wagenaar's reservoir.

These are the oldest surviving structures relating to the establishment of the Cape Colony. After much debate between developers and local, Provincial and State authorities a portion of these remains were preserved in place (what we in the business call 'in situ'). The overall cost of preservation, 1,5 million rand, was borne by the State, Cape Provincial Administration, Cape Town Municipality and SANLAM. The task was not small: in addition to the archaeology, parts of the proposed building needed redesigning, a museum quality display needed to be created and built, and the ruins needed protection while foundations of Golden Acre were blasted metres into the bedrock and the building was erected around them. The display and the ruins were declared a National Monument, and opened to the public, along with the Golden Acre mall, at the end of July, 1979. The ruins are visible from three different floors with protective glass and explanatory displays.

Today, almost 350 years after they were built, and over 35 years since they were re-discovered and preserved, you can still see, in their original position, the very beginnings of the Cape Colony.


I forgot to check when I was checking up on the cache, but according to the internet...
The Golden Acre is open:
Monday-Friday: 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM – 2:30 PM
Sunday: Closed

This spot will never be muggle free, so please use stealth when retrieving and replacing.

Sources and Further Reading
Avery, G. 1979. The Ruins On Cape Town's Golden Acre. The South African Archaeological Society Newsletter 2:6-8.(Link)
Voigt, E. 1977. The Destruction of Archaeological Evidence in South Africa. The South African Archaeological Bulletin 32:107-112.(Link)

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Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Sbyybj gur pyhrf, lbh jvyy svaq vg!

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)