The V&A Waterfront: South Africa's most visited destination

Tuesday, 15 December 2020 07:00 AM

The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is where Cape Town’s city meets the sea, and is a place where international culture meets authentic Africa. It’s a shopping mecca brimming with oceanside eateries and world-class cuisine. The V&A is home to the Two Oceans Aquarium, a functioning harbour, underground putt-putt, an organic farmer’s market, and hoards of stalls filled with locally-made arts and crafts. With an annual visiting of around 24 million people, it bears the title of South Africa’s most-visited destination; when you see it, you’ll understand why.

There are five shopping districts at the V&A Waterfront, namely Victoria Wharf, the Watershed, The Alfred Mall and Pierhead, The Clock Tower, and Breakwater Point. You’ll find everything you need from artful one-off creations to the latest designer label drops. When you’ve shopped to your heart’s content, you can fill your grumbling belly at a multitude of high-end restaurants, fast-food outlets, and coffee shops. Make sure to check out Quay Four for some smashing fish and chips overlooking the harbour and Willoughby & Co. for incredible sushi. You can pick up artisanal bread and cheeses, biltong and beers, and vegan delights at the V&A Food Market, as well as Unframed Ice Cream – some of the best in town.


Away from the shopping quarter, you’ll find the swanky Grand Café & Beach and the world-class pool bar, restaurant, and music festival space Shimmy Beach Club. At both of these incredible beach bars, you can expect Atlantic sea views rivalled by very few. If you’re a jazz fan, Bascule Bar at the Cape Grace hotel offers dinner-and-jazz nights you won’t soon forget. 


Not just an oasis for shoppers, the V&A Waterfront brims with historical culture and intriguingly archaic artefacts. Take a self-guided walking tour and see the V&A Waterfront’s 22 landmarks, including the Chavonnes Battery Museum, the harbour’s oldest heritage site. You can also take a guided tour from the Chavonnes Battery Museum, departing daily at 11 am and 2 pm. Make sure to see the Breakwater Prison, dating almost one century old, and check out the more contemporary Nobel Square, where you can see Nobel Peace Prize winners rendered in bronze. And, last but not least, a trip to the V&A Waterfront wouldn’t be complete without a ride on the Cape Ferris Wheel. From up there, the views are simply spectacular.

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