The V&A Waterfront Cape Town
The Waterfront Cape Town is popular not only with the tourists but very much loved by the locals and expats too. The V&A Waterfront is the best place to chill out in the vibrant Mother City and enjoy the beauty of the city with Table Mountain as background.
At the weekends there are always free concerts around the major shopping and entertainment district in South Africa and you will meet people of all colours in this vibrant part of town.
There are many attractions around the Waterfront, the quarter’s atmosphere is always humming and bustling with life and so this place in Cape Town is on top of the tourist attractions in South Africa, if not one of the best places on earth.
Join me on my photographic journey around the Waterfront Cape Town
The imposing mountain range of the Table Mountain massif which is flanked by Devil’s Peak to the left and Lions Head and Signal Hill to the right in the next picture gives the Waterfront its wonderful setting its natural beauty.
The V&A Waterfront is situated at Cape Town’s Victoria and Alfred harbour basins. This harbour quarter derives its name from Queen Victoria (Queen of England 1937-1901) and her second son Alfred, and not like many mistakenly think by her husband Albert.
Many of the original Victorian buildings at the harbour, which was constructed in the 1860s were restored to its former glory and lend the Waterfront Cape Town its colorful sights and atmosphere, like the red Clocktower here in the picture. If you want to learn about South Africas history, I recommend you book a trip to Robben Island on the ferry which departs from Nelson Mandela Gateway behind the Clocktower.
The Waterfront Cape Town was only developed in the last 15 years, when the historic docklands were developed and put to public use.
The V&A waterfront still houses a working harbour, but the bigger ships are nowadays towed into the adjacent Duncan and Ben Shoeman docks.
What to do at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront
Shop till you drop at one of the more than 400 shops in the different shopping centers. You will find designer wear as well as rare craft items, African curiosa, supermarkets and art galleries.
The famous Victoria Wharf Shopping Center at the westernmost part of the Waterfront is the biggest of them. Here the shops are open 9.00am to 9.00pm, Sundays and public holidays they close at 8.00pm. Then there is the Alfred Mall, the Clock Tower Shopping Center and not to forget the many craft stores at the Red Shed (in the Kings Warehouse) and Blue Shed (which is also called the Waterfront Craft Market & Wellness Center).
Enjoy street theater, jazz musicians, stilt artists, marimba bands and watch many other buskers in the streets and with regularly schedules shows at the amphitheater in front of the Victoria Wharf Shopping Center.
There are many places to just sit down and relax on one of the numerous benches or enjoy a splendid meal at one of the many coffee shops, bars and restaurants. There is also a food court at Victoria Wharf and there are several fast food outlets too.
Or Watch the seals splashing in the water under the turning bridge or taking a sunbath or visit the Two Oceans Aquarium and learn about the exciting marine life. The Aquarium is one of the attractions at the Waterfront Cape Town you should not miss, especially if you are here with children. They will love the little penguins and huge spider crabs and there is a touch pool for getting close to starfish and other marine life.
Take a harbour cruise on top of one of the many cruise ships, catermarans and sailing boats. There are sunset cruises and dinner cruises also available and some of you might be delighted to hear that game fishing cruises can be booked here too.
Or maybe you will see a luxury cruise liners anchored at the docks next to the Table Bay Hotel or one of the many training sailing ships from overseas.
Cheer for the great teams and watching a dragon boat race, which has quite a tradition in Cape Town. Watch out for announcements for the next races at the harbour basin.
And do not miss Nobel Square and see four of South Africas most well known nobel prize winners: Albert Luthuli (1960), Desmond Tutu (1984), FW de Klerk (1993) and Nelson Mandela (1993) all won the Nobel Peace Price and got a great monument set up in 2007 to honor these great men.
Many more things to do
Book a helicopter flight over Cape Town. Come down to the Victoria Wharf at ground level and you will surely find the right charter flight for your interest.
Fancy some indoors mini golf? A bit groovy but fun, opposite the Blue Shed and Aquarium next to the parking arcade. You will have to make your way through Scratch Patch, where children love to find their own semi-precious stones, up the steps to the mini golf center. Great fun on a grey or rainy day.
If you want to find accommodation in the Waterfront area, you will have all options. There are seven big hotels at the Waterfront mainly belonging to the upper standard and luxury categories, like the Table Bay and Cape Grace Hotels and there is rental accommodation in the luxury apartment complexes at the marina available too.
Banking and Foreign Exchange, like American Express and Rennies is widely available at the Waterfront shopping complexes. There is a post office on the first floor of the Victoria Wharf Shopping Center and pharmacies on both floors of the same shopping complex and in the Clocktower Shopping Center.
Need more info on the Waterfront Cape Town?
For really good information on South Africa visit the Cape Town Travel and Tourism Center on the second floor of the Clocktower Shopping Center or check the Waterfronts own website www.waterfront.co.za for FAQ like where you can collect lost items of find specialty shops.
How to get there?
With your own car it is easy to get there, as the Waterfront Cape Town is well signposted at all the road in the area and from the highways.
You will find plenty of parking in the Waterfront Capetown, but parking is on the expensive side (for Cape Town). Parking is usually around R7 per hour. But behind the BMW Pavilion there is a parking garage with ample parking for R5 for three hours too.
There is a bus service from the city center and Sea Point.
Taxi ranks can be found at the entrances to the Shopping Centers and opposite to the Aquarium or behind the Cape Town Tourism Center at the Clocktower Shopping Center.
And you can walk to the Waterfront from the city center, which is a nice walk and patrolled by security officers, so it is safe during daylight times. At night I would recommend you take a taxi to get back to your accommodation.
For travelers to South Africa seeing the V&A Waterfront Cape Town is a the best place to start your journey in South Africa. A place you will love right from the start and will try to come back to as often as you can.
A definite MUST SEE when in Cape Town.
Now just come and see for yourself. Enjoy your stay!