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TThe V&A Waterfront is one of Africa’s most visited destinations with 24 million visitors annually. Situated in the oldest working harbour in the southern hemisphere, with the iconic Table Mountain as its backdrop and extensive views of the ocean, city bowl and mountain peaks, it offers local and international visitors a cosmopolitan mix of experiences ranging from leisure to shopping and exclusive entertainment.
Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa - A museum like no other
The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA), a landmark not-for-profit partnership between the V&A Waterfront and German businessman Jochen Zeitz, is the first major museum dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its Diaspora on the Africa Continent.
With its home in the ambitiously reimagined historic Grain Silo complex, a historical icon of the Cape Town skyline, the museum opens more than nine floors of exhibition space to art-loving, museum-going audiences to share the cultural artefacts and ideas of Africa with the world.
Zeitz MOCAA also forms part of the newly developed Silo district, set to be the V&A Waterfront’s design, art and culture hub.
MMany factors contribute to the extraordinary appeal of the V&A Waterfront. High on this list is the fact that it is one of South Africa’s top shopping destinations. Situated in the heart of Cape Town, where the mountain meets the sea, it has been a working harbour since about 1860, when trade routes to the East transformed the seafront into a lucrative trading post.
In 1988, the redevelopment of the historic docklands built on this legacy, transforming the harbour into an exciting 21st-century “trading post”, complete with a comprehensive array of shops, entertainment venues, prime office locations, world-class hotels, luxury apartments and restaurants.
With 22 official and historical landmarks on site, the V&A Waterfront forms part of, and is an important thread that is the rich fabric of the city, offering visitors plenty to explore.
Guided walking tours take about an hour and a half and begin at Chavonnes Battery Museum, the harbour’s oldest heritage site. The tour then winds its way from Clock Tower Square and will include, but is not limited to the Robinson Dry Dock – one of the oldest of its kind in the world still in daily use. Breakwater Prison where markings left by defiant prisoners are still visible, and the Pump House which is now home to the Cape Town Comedy Club, where local and international stand-up comedians perform several nights a week.
CCraft and Food Markets
The Watershed has more than 150 tenants who represent over 365 brands. A vast selection of products can be found here from ceramics and furniture to textiles, fashion and jewellery. The Watershed also offers a range of treatments for the body and soul which can all be found at Wellness at the Watershed. Watershed is located on Dock Road, next to the Two Oceans Aquarium and is usually open daily from 9am till 6pm.
The V&A Food Market houses a wide range of vendors selling scrumptious artisanal and gourmet street food which can be eaten outside at wooden tables and benches overlooking the harbour and the mountain with wine or craft beers to wash it down, or taken away to be enjoyed later.
The nearby Two Oceans Aquarium is highly recommended for a view of the creatures which inhabit our seas. Feeding of the penguins is a highlight and the adventurous can scuba dive in the I&J Ocean Exhibit.
After that head over the to the Clock Tower district where the glittering history of diamonds in South Africa is brought to life at the Shimansky Cape Town Diamond Museum. Or hop on a ferry to Robben Island (book ahead) to visit the infamous prison and find out more about its most famous ‘resident’ Nobel Laureate and former President, the late Nelson Mandela. Pay tribute to the four South African Nobel Peace Laureates at Nobel Square, situated next to the V&A Food Market on Dock Road.
A harbour cruise is an ideal way to spend the last few hours of the day, there is no shortage of cruise options and Boat Operators. Enjoy an early morning harbour cruise or a sunset cruise while sipping on a glass of sparkling wine. If you prefer fresh air to high seas, the Waterfront Heliport is a short walk from Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre. There you will find a variety of helicopter companies that offer sightseeing flights around the peninsula and winelands.
Whether you admire the sunset from the rolling deck or the co-pilot’s seat, the evening is when the V&A Waterfront starts to light up. Do as Capetonians do and make use of late night shopping (until 9pm) for further retail therapy, or enjoy live entertainment and concerts at the outdoor amphitheatre.
A vast array of retailers presenting the world’s top brands, two cinema complexes – including the only 4D cinema in Cape Town – call the V&A Waterfront home, along with some of Cape Town’s best restaurants with more than 80 eateries featuring flavours from around the world and options to suit every budget. Whether it’s a quick bite from the fast food emporium or a more leisurely experience at a fine dining restaurant, you can choose from a wide range of eateries with Table Mountain and sea views or indoor cafés, delis and casual dining eateries.
Cape Town’s notorious south-easterly wind in the summer months can mean you miss out on going up Table Mountain if you’re only here for a short while. The next best way to get a bird’s eye view of the city is to go for a spin on the Cape Wheel. It’s next to the amphitheatre where free live music performances take place almost daily.
Places to stay
With two new exciting offerings, the extraordinary new luxury Silo Hotel and the Radisson Red, the V&A Waterfront offers leisure and business travellers an impressive selection of accommodation, all of which are located in our exceptional surroundings. Visitors are within walking distance of the Cape Town City Centre and the surrounding suburbs of Sea Point, Mouille Point and Greenpoint.
The V&A Waterfront also offers easy access to other major attractions in the City, including Robben Island, Table Mountain - one of the new seven natural wonders of the world, the Constantia Winelands and Cape Point. It’s a short 20 minute trip to Cape Town International Airport.