The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront (V&A) is the most visited tourist destination in the Southern Hemisphere, with some 22 million visits each year.
Situated in the heart of Cape Town’s working harbour against the dramatic backdrop of Table Mountain, the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is widely acknowledged as Cape Town’s premier shopping and tourst destination and a well known entertainment hotspot. Here, an innovative fusion of history and modern convenience has resulted a multi-purpose, dockside environment unlike any other in the world.
With over 400 stores, the Victoria & Alfred town of entertainment Waterfront provides the opportunity for serious shopping, with an incredibly diverse scope and something for everyone. Its spectacular blend of Victorian architecture, maritime tradition, and African culture ensures a shopping environment that is lively and cosmopolitan, with a distinctive African twist.
The stylish Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre forms the bulk of the retail space a the Waterfront and boasts over 240 unique retail outlets that offer a vibrant mix of luxury items, designer brands, and craft emporia. For those looking for a more traditional selection of art, antiques and jewellery, the Alfred Mall, situated within the historic Pierhead, offers a selection of stores for the discerning shopper.
Historic Clock Tower Precinct:
Across the Pierhead’s swing bridge, you can find the latest addition to the Waterfront’s retail offering – The Clock Tower Centre. This brings South African crafts, arts, designs and foods together under one roof, as well as the Waterfront Information Centre. There are also several sites of historical interest here, including the Clock Tower built in 1882 and the old Chavonnes Battery – the fascinating ruins of the Dutch East India Company military installation dating back to 1724. There are also spectacular views of Table Mountain and the working harbour, and there are usually a few enormous Cape fur seals lolling around in the water or on a platform where they sunbathe. Old rubs shoulders with new in the Clock Tower Precinct with the Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island, from where the high speed catamaran departs regularly throughout the day.
African Arts & Crafts:
The Waterfront also takes local crafts seriously and has two craft markets that provide the curious shopper with a traditional view of South African products. The Red Shed Craft Workshop, adjoining the Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre, is filled with an eclectic mix of handmade merchandise and art while providing an opportunity to see crafters at work. Adjacent to the Two Oceans Aquarium, The Waterfront Craft Market is one of the largest and most vibrant indoor craft markets in Cape Town, open seven days a week. It represents the Waterfront’s culture of entrepreneurship and small business development and features a diverse assortment of innovative designs and traditinal handcrafts, antiquities and holistic lifestyle accessories.
When it comes to restaurants, one would be hard-pressed to find such a wide selection in one venue, anywhere in South Africa. Some 68 restaurants, taverns and eateries are complimented by seven of Cape Town’s finest hotels, each with its own unique style. From ice-creams and take-aways, to elegant dining in five star restaurants and a vast range of international cuisine, the Waterfront has something for every taste.
Thre is no need to for visitors to the V&A Waterfront to search for entertainment – it surrounds you as soon as you enter the Waterfront complex. From street buskers demonstrating the art of mime, or musicians performing anything from Southern Jazz to traditional South African folk songs, entertainment keeps the Waterfront alive.
On weekends and during holidays, the Waterfront also has an extensive programme of events and activities to capture the imagination of visitors of all ages. The Waterfront’s year-round calendar is packed full of exciting and fun-filled happenings like the international yacht races – the BT Global Challenge and the Volvo Ocean Race – which attract sailing enthusiasts from around the world. Other annual events include the V&A Waterfront Wine Festival, the Spring Flower Festival, Winter Food Fair, Dragon Boat Racing and the country’s largest Jazzathon.
Whether you are simply looking for a place to sleep or wanting to indulge in 5 star luxury, you’ll find it all at the V&A Waterfront. Bustling or tranquil, modern or classic, budget or luxurious – staying at one of the eight accommodation facilities will put a world of opportunities right on your doorstep.
Being built around a working harbour, the Temperature Gauge fishing industry and the ocean still takes centre stage, providing visitors with the chance to see the catch of the day being off-loaded, while seals dolphins and seabirds add to the unique maritime experience. The world-class Two Oceans Aquarium reveals many more marine creatures, including seven sharks that cruise around their enormous circular aquarium.
One of the beast ways to enjoy the spectacular scenery in and around Cape Town’s Table Bay is to take any one of the many boat or helicopter trips that depart from the Waterfront daily.
Gerald Crawford was born in South Africa, studied electronics, telecommunication, eco-travel and african travel concepts. He taught responsible tourism in South Africa. If you have any questions or comments please e-mail me on. E-mail Address: