V & A Waterfront, Cape Town
Make sure that you visit Nobel Square and see four of South Africa's Nobel Peace Price winners: Albert Luthuli (1960), Desmond Tutu (1984), FW de Klerk (1993) and Nelson Mandela (1993). The monument was built in 2005 to honour these great men. The square also has a fifth sculpture, Peace and Democracy, a narrative work acknowledging the contribution of women and children to the attainment of peace in South Africa.
South Africa is a land less ordinary, it's ancient history, unearthly beauty, culture and wilderness make it one of the world's leading tourist destinations. It is indeed the place where adventurers get fulfilled and the amateur traveler makes dreams come true. The country has many towns all, popular and well known for their individual attractions; this particular review is about Cape Town and the V&A Waterfront.
The Victoria and Alfred waterfront is one of the first attractions one sees when they get to Cape Town. Quite attractive and well maintained, the V&A Waterfront as it's popularly refereed to is Cape Town's commercial and cultural center. It is also an expensive area that I would not recommend staying at for longer periods. The V&A is a historic harbor basin, now commercialized and attracts millions of tourists each year; the shops, museums, restaurants, high priced hotels and theaters.
It is a place you can refer to as high class and definitely stunning, the marina especially. Now while advertising will tell you that it offers something for everyone, I would go in with caution. You always want to stay away from the V&A unless you have the money to spend. I suggest visiting it in the day or night as it definitely is an attraction you do not want to miss while you are in Cape Town.
For the ladies who love shopping, this is the place to be, you can shop til you drop. For the gentlemen who want to impress their companions, I would definitely dine here or go to the theater, awesome.
PS: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain
Just a short 10 minute walk from the V&A waterfront. There is a great area to stretch your legs and see some of the wave action the cape is known for. The Cape Town light house is also located here. There is a dog park where you can bring your best friend for some good play time.
This is a beautiful place to see the sunset and watch the ships come in.
You can spend hours watching the surfers and enjoying the sound of the ocean.
I don't know whether I love or hate this, but it's certainly an eye catching addition to the landscape of the V& Waterfront.
Apparently the crates symbolise the saving in plastic usage resulting from some of Coca Cola's environmental initiatives, which has to be a good thing. Whether this is best expressed by constructing a 20m high red robot made out of crates is a matter for debate ...
Most of the time, I tend to dismiss the V&A Waterfront as a bit of a tourist trap, but that attitude never seems to persist once I actually get there, as it undoubtedly offers a huge amount to keep the tourist occupied.
Apart from the staple offerings of the brilliant Two Oceans aquarium and the Robben Island ferry terminal, it's easy to overlook the fact that the Waterfront is still a working port, with dry docks and other related infrastructure. Watching the crews work on the ships can be a magnet for technically minded - particularly small (and not so small) boys - and what's even better is that it's free!
This is a very popular tourist attraction besides being a working port. You can sense the vibrancy of the area as soon as you get there. There just seems to be a lightness of mood as people wander around the stores and look at the attractions.
There is a giant ferris wheel which is particularly impressive with the blue sky as a backdrop.
It is called The Wheel of Excellence and was built for the World Soccer in 2010. I was not on it but understand it affords an amazing view of Table Mountain, the city and harbor. A panoramic view of Cape Town.
From the waterfront you can get a boat to Robben Island where Mandela was held prisoner for so many years. Or you can get on a harbor tour which gives the tourist a wonderful view of the surrounding mountains.
The shopping mall is quite large and boasts a variety of stores. Some high end stores and some for the rest of us. There are great places to buy African souvenirs.
We ate at a very nice restaurant and sat outside. The service was efficient and the food good.
This part of Cape Town is situated around the historic Victoria and Alfred harbour and named after Queen Victoria and her son Alfred. It was thoroughly restored in 1990's and turned into a recreational complex with hundreds of stores, restaurants and pubs. It's here that international celebrities stay in elegant hotels when they come to Cape Town. It's also an entertainment centre with a big IMAX cinema, concert venues and museums. One of its biggest attractions with locals and tourist alike is the Two Oceans Aquarium.
V&A Waterfront is undoubtedly a nice area to stroll around, look at elegant Victorian architecture, watch harbour life, visit some shops, etc. For me, personally, it's too commercialised and business-orientated.
One of the most fun things to do at the V&A Waterfront (which I usually consider to be a bit of a tourist trap) is to pose with the statues of South Africa's four Nobel Peace Prize laureates, who are immortalised in larger-than-life bronze statues.
Four? Many people will probably remember that our first democratically elected President, Nelson Mandela, and former President FW de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in 1993 for their herculean efforts in steering South Africa through a peaceful transition to multiparty democracy. With further head scratching, you may even dimly recall the irrepressible Archbishop Desmond Tutu being awarded the same prize back in 1984 for his dogged and vocal resistance against the worst injustices of apartheid which helped to keep South African issues on the world radar during the dark years of political isolation. However, most people may not know that Albert Luthuli, a former head of the African National Congress (ANC), was the first South African to win the Nobel Peace Prize - which was awarded to him in 1960 for his championing of the Defiance Campaign which opposed grand apartheid.
It is always a source of considerable amusement to me that the statues are larger than life, which reflects the personalities of the men involved - it must be the first and only time that the pint-sized Tutu has towered over anyone!
All four gentlemen are conveniently arranged in a neat row for you to pose by, with the added bonus of Table Mountain as a backdrop - a photo opportunity not to be passed up!
In the front you have a lot of spa treatments and as you walk along towards the back you have various crafts being offered. In the outdoor space out back is where they normally have performance space and lecture series are held. Check out the website to see events.
you will find there all the time street perfomances, restaurant, cafe, shopping.... etc what ever you need to mock around..... i loved the place, the mood.....the shopping too is great.... many shops had a very good prices.... i bought many skirts and sport clothes from there....
wanna go again ... really
Whilst touristy it is most charming. Its boardwalks lined with attractive, painted-wooden buildings selling carvings, drums, guidebooks and postcards. Seals out of the water sunning themselves lazily whilst other seals leisurely bob alongside the boats - fishing boats, tourist boats, shark-cage excursion boats, big boats, little boats... Street performers positioned on every corner, drumming, singing, dancing and providing the tourists with a little bit of African atmosphere. And all the while Table Mountain looms; a huge backdrop, high over the salty waters of the bay famously riddled for its great white sharks. How squeaky clean it is. How easy it is - shops, restaurnats - everything you could need!
There are car parks here.
(the red clock tower you see in my photo is where you aim for to buy tickets to go to Robben Island. The tours depart 9am, 11am & 2pm you MUST book tickets in advance as they seel out fast!))
The Clock Tower is a beautiful red tower, recognisable by its Victorian-Gothic style. It has an old tidal gauge mechanism on the bottom floor, used to check tide levels. On the second floor is a mirror room, which was used by the Port Captain to overview the harbour.
Our daughter had booked this cruise to end a lovely day of wine touring! We got back to our hotel and got dressed up to hit the V&A Waterfront to chill out on our boat trip and have a nice dinner afterwards on the waterfront.
What we had in mind and what actually happened are two different things!
We got onto our boat and after about ten mins we started to move out of the harbour. Remembering I'm petrified of water, I can't swim but love boat trips as long as they are calm! As soon as we came out of the harbour the boat started to bob about quite a bit and I noticed the sea was not exactly calm. The further we sailed out the worse it got, and it got to the point that we were all hanging on for dear life and the boat was almost capsizing. Everyone started to laugh about it at first, especially when the waves were coming over and getting us soaked to the skin. I have to say this boat trip was the most frightening experince of my life. I really thought we were going to fall into the sea at some point. My husband who found it quite amusing at first started to get a bit worried, and told the guys to turn the boat around as it was getting too dangerous. The thing was, we had no life jackets on, nothing to hold onto only each other. We were given waterproof ponchos when it started to get really rough but by then we were soaked anyway.
I was given the impression by the leaflet and by the look of the boat we'd just sail out for a while and just cruise along, watching the sunset, drinking a glass of champagne. Instead I started fearing for us all. The guys would not take the boat back to the harbour but just brought it in a bit so it wasn't so dangerous. We had a good twenty mins or so being chucked around the boat, which was very frightening.
I wanted to complain when we eventually got off the boat, to the people that you book it with on the waterfront. As we were the last boat to sail that evening they had shut up for the night. I did complain to the guys that ran the boat, but they just laughed at me.
We all came off the boat all looking like drowned rats and we had to sit in wet clothes having our evening meal. The restuarant that we were in gave us blankets and let us sit under a patio heater to get warm again.
I wouldn't have minded so much if we had been pre warned before we set sail, that it would be very choppy. To me a champagne sunset cruise is just that, a cruise where you can chill out be relaxed and watch the sun set. We didn't do any of that but clung onto what ever you could to save yourself from being tipped overboard.
So my advice to you if you want to use this boat, be prepared, make sure you have a life jacket on, and don't dress up!
The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is a shopping, dining, and enertainment area located along the waterfront in Cape Town. It is similar to the South Street Seaport in New York or the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, only with better food and drinks. The shops seemed fairly ordinary, but the restaurants at the V&A Waterfront were very good. We had some great dinners there during our stay in Cape Town.
Waterfront is an active center of commercial activity day and night. It is also a spot favoured by marimba ensembles and folk choirs vying for the tourist buck. Fierce competition aside, they are easy and valuable introduction to the musical fibre of the South African society and offer glimpses of where some of the best Michael Jackson moves have come from. Locals join spontaneously into the performance, singing, dancing or both, thus adding patina of truthfulness to the whole exercise.