SA's haunted places

2013-10-30 15:47
Whether you believe in spirits or think it's all just a load of hocus pocus hogwash, few things beat the thrill of hearing a good old, hair raising ghost tale... preferably around a campfire or candlelight.

Lucky for us, South Africa is particularly rich in these sorts of chilling tales. We've picked 10 of the most intriguing, set in places you can actually visit! So, get that ghoulish bucket list going.

Do you have a ghost story to share? Tell us in the comment section below or send us your thoughts to 

Lord Milner Hotel, Matjiesfontien

While undeniably picturesque, this little Victorian town in the middle of the Karoo is rather creepy and home to a host of inhabitants that haven't left - even after death. Among these is Kate, who worked as a nurse in the early days of the hotel's existence and loved to play cards with convalescing patients. She died without cause or reason at the tender age of 19 and can now be spotted staring whistfully out of the window of the top turret, her white dress flowing in the breeze.

Nottingham Road Hotel, KZN

This picturesque Midlands town with its well-established hotel, is home to one of the saddest and most romantic ghost stories around. Charlotte, a turn-of-the-century prostitute fell in love with a British army officer who didn't feel the same way about her. Romantics say she killed herself because of her broken heart, throwing herself from the balcony of her favourite room - number 10. She is often seen gliding around the hotel, seemingly keeping a watchful eye on everything.

Uniondale ghost, N9, Eastern Cape

Since 1976, there have been sporadic accounts of a young woman's ghost making her appearance on the Barandas-Willowmore road on Easter weekends. She is said to be the spirit of Maria Roux, who tragically died in a car accident in 1968 while she and her fiance were on their way to her parents' house to announce their engagement.

She is typically seen as a hitchiker along the road, who once picked up by a driver disappears a few moments later leaving an overwhelming scent of apple blossoms in her wake. 

A short while later he was found dead with a look of horror on his face. No cause of death was ever found.

Uitkomst farm, Machadodorp

About 20km outside of the Mpumalanga town of Machadodorp, a beautiful waterfall can be found on a farm called Uitkomst. Legend has it that a young honeymoon couple was exploring the waterfall, when the woman lost her footing and slipped to her death. A year later her distraught husband returned and took his own life.

On moonlit nights, the reunited pair may still be seen at the top of the waterfall.

Africana museum, Kimberley

Formerly the Kimberley Public Library, the museum is said to be home to the ghost of a fraudulent librarian who pocketed some of the library's income for his own use. When he got caught, he was so humiliated, he decided to commit suicide, using cyanide.

People say that it took three days for the cyanide to work through his system, and in the painful process his soul stayed behind. These days he can still be seen in his Victorian garb, pacing the library halls. Books are also often rearranged.

Richly House, Port Elizabeth

Built 1906, Richly House has been used for many different purposes, from a general nursing home to a World War II brothel, and now houses an interesting array of spirits. People have had encounters with a nun, accompanied by the chilling cries of an unseen baby, a grumpy man in a grey coat causing havoc in the kitchen and a woman and child in period clothing. 

Most of these ghostly inhabitants are fairly oblivious to their human onlookers, except for the one that appears in the domestic quarters and tries to strangle the staff members...

Jim Fouche High School, Bloemfontein

The remains of a young girl were found underneath a newly built swimming pool at the school in 1967. The discovery was followed by a series of strange events, such as: lights flickering, doors opening and closing, a girl heard singing. Her appearances are random and no one can tell when she will strike again.

The Supreme Court, Johannesburg

Daisy de Melker is the first serial killer ever to be convicted in South Africa after killing off two husbands and a son through poisoning in the 1920s. She was hanged for her crimes in 1932 and is said to haunt most of the places associated with her, among others Court 3 in the Johannesburg Supreme Court. 

Her home in Club Street in Turffontein is still standing and sometimes Daisy can still be seen there, peering out the upstairs window.

Victoria Hotel, Pretoria


Read more on:    travel  |  travel south africa  |  lifestyle

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