V & A Waterfront, Cape Town
I enjoyed walking around this wonder V & A Waterfront where a lot of tourists go to...my brother-in-law took at 70 day cruise of the continent of Africa and one of his favorites was this wonderful harbour area where you can have awesome food as you leave your cruise ship.
The V & A is located between Robben Island and Table Mountain at Cape Town's working harbour, and it is known for it's restaurants, luxury hotels and amazing shopping. I actually found a shop there where a lot of souvenirs were so affordable so I bought a lot of them...plus chocolates! (unfortunately, I cannot remember the name of the shop but it qwas very near the clock tower).
Also, I took a little boat cruise around the harbour itself and I saw a seal sleeping so nicely in one of the huge tires at the harbour (have it in one of the pictures). I think it was less than $20 to go on that boat and it was worth it to experience seeing the V&A from the water.
Everyone that visits Cape Town probably pays a visit to the waterfront. Well known throughout the world. This is one of Cape Town's biggest tourist attractions. For us folk that come from up country, it is a big thing and a real thrill to visit.
The waterfront started life as a harbour redevelopment project by Prince Alfred, the second son of Queen Victoria. During the boycott of the late Apartheid decades, the harbour fell into decay and it wasn’t until 1994 when construction works began to turn a part of the harbour into an entertainment center. Although the remaining part is still a working harbour, V&A Waterfront is mainly known for its shopping malls and hotels. But this does not mean that only tourists go there – many locals visit the Waterfront for a nice day out. There are shops for everyone, but beware that it is all aimed at a wealthier public than the shops in the city center. Among all the nice amenities, there’s also an aquarium which is worth a visit. Boat tours start from here, including the ferry to Robben Island which starts from a place near the clocktower. There’s always something going on here – may it be a concert or a magician doing some tricks. V&A is perhaps not the most South African place, but indeed a South African success story.
At the V&A Waterfront, you’ll find Nobel Square, where the four south african Nobel Peace Price winners are honoured. These are Albert Lutuli, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk. The bronze figures of the four laureates are popular photo motives, so feel free to take your pictures with them. However, please be respectful with them and don’t touch the heads. The figures enjoy a high status and South africa is very proud of its Nobel Prize winners. On the same square, a modern sculpture remembering the victims of the Apartheid years was placed, also showing Mandela and de Klerk.
The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in the historic heart of Cape Town's working harbour is South Africa's most-visited destination.
Situated between Robben Island and Table Mountain and set against a backdrop of sea and mountain views, it offers a variety of shopping and entertainment options to visitors, intermingled with office locations, hotels such as the historical Breakwater Lodge once a 19th century prison and luxury apartments in the residential marina.
It houses the Nelson Mandela Gateway which offers boat trips to Robben Island, as well as the Two Oceans Aquarium.
Prince Alfred, second son of Queen Victoria, began construction of the harbour in 1860. The first basin was named after himself, the second after his mother, hence the name.
Located right on the Harbour the V & A waterfront is a place to spend time just walking around, the souvenires sold here are a bit more expensive than you can find around town. Several restaurants here are open air, and have various cusines. The main reason to come here is for the Robben Island gate way...it's the only way to get there. Other than that it isn't much...there is numberous shops, so if that is your thing than you could spend more time here, but other wise just a shopping center on the water.
The Victoria and Alfred waterfront is a popular spot for shopping, dining and other kinds of entertainment.In the evenings, lots of street artists perform here and there's a fairground atmosphere.
Apart from this it's still a working harbour and boats to Robben Island and harbour cruises depart from here
The V&A is a big complex area on the waterfront in Cape Town, it is equally popular with tourists and locals, and is an area that seems to buzz all of the time!
I loved walking around the waterfront during the day, there are some really quaint little shops to visit, some full of gems and others full of tourist tack!! Of course, you will also find some big chain stores too.
The V&A is home to where you will depart to Robben Island too, there is a centre here specifically for booking your tours and learning about Robben Island.
One of Cape Town's biggest tourist attractions, the Waterfront evokes images of the early activities of the harbour. Much of its charm lies in the fact that this busy commercial harbour is set in the midst of a huge entertainment venue with pubs, restaurants, specialty shops, craft markets, theatres and movies
I'm not talking about shopping....
Tons of street performers gather here at V&A Waterfront. Enjoy watching them sing and play all day. My favorite ones would be the Marimba Band and a group of Acapalla singers, they really rock!! Help buying them some CDs, they're well worth it.
A wide-selection of cruise available at Quay 5, V&A Waterfront. (Eco-cruises, seasonal whale-watching, fishing, lunch, dinner, Champagne) We took a Sunset Cruise for 190 ZAR/person/1.5 hr. Advance booking suggested, but not essential depending on the season. The Table Bay at dusk is so incredible!!! Take a poncho/wind-breaker with you, it can be really chilly!!
We loved the V&A Waterfront, its such a lively friendly place, always busy with great bars and restaurants, interesting buildings wonderfully restored, lovely shops and street entertainment
you can book a cruise round Table Bay or a helicoptor flight here, visit the Two Oceans Aquarium or chill out on a sunny day with a glass of good Cape wine
the South African Maritime Museum is currently being moved to another building and was closed when we visited, you can however visit the Victoria Museum ship which is a replica of a 18th century ship housing salvage from shipwrecks
we particularly liked the Old Clock tower once used by the Harbourmaster, inside one room had a wall of mirrors to give him 360 degree views of the harbour, next to the Clock Tower is the old swing bridge, still used to allow larger ships into and out of the dock
In the same square as the Clock Tower is the Gateway to Robben Island, please note that to board the ferry to Robben Island you must do so through the Gateway Building there is no access from the steps at the side... you wouldnt believe how many people try to enter that way !
There is a tourist information office in the Clock Towere shopping mall, and an ATM opposite the large Ice Cream sculpture
Having been dropped off at the V & A Waterfront at about 3pm, there is enough stores/cafes/bars to keep you busy the remainder of the day. There are several cafes with outdoor seating, including Quay 4, to enjoy a quick snack while overlooking the harbor. The mall inside has great shopping and a fantastic wine shop. After a few hours of shopping, there are several good restaurants for a nice dinner and then into one of several bars in the area.
There are a variety of companies offering different cruises and tours. They are generally expensive by local standards, but then are primarily aimed toward tourists. I have given the name of one below.
You can do a variety of cruises:
- whale watching cruise
- sunset cruise
- Robben Island cruise
- eco cruises
- seal cruises
- cruise and dine cruises
- harbour cruises
- champagne cruises
- fishing trips
I just love this place. Great restaurants and coffee shops, tons of shopping from designer shops to stalls with interesting typically african products, a scratch patch where you can collect your own gem stones, cinema's, great boat trips etc