The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town is one of the city's most popular tourist attractions.
It is also South Africa's oldest working harbour; construction started in 1860. The first basin to be built was named Alfred after Prince Alfred, who was the second son of Queen Victoria, and the second basin was named after Queen Victoria herself . Hence the name Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.
Today the harbour is filled with fabulous yachts of the rich and famous, visiting cruise ships, tour boats, and of course the massive container ships off-loading their precious cargo.
As well as boat tours and yachts, there is plenty to do in around the V&A with many cultural, historical and other entertainments, as well as a fabulous shopping centre with views over the sea.
Things to do
The Wheel of Excellence is the only observation wheel in Africa. The 50m high giant wheel allows stunning 360 degree views of Cape Town, Table Mountain, Robben Island and even the Paarl mountain range! Guests can opt for a normal cabin (two offer wheelchair access) or a VIP cabin for their 20 minute ride, either way it is a definite must do!
If you are looking to enjoy a day out at sea then there are numerous charter boats you can take that offer a variety of services, including tours to Robben Island. Boat Tours are a great for groups of people that just want to relax. The sunset cruise is especially beautiful as you get to enjoy the sunset while having a glass of champagne.
While at the V&A you can go and see some great Museums, including The Chavonnes Battery Museum which features Cape Town's oldest cannon and for the sport lover's, the Springbok Rugby museum, which tells the story of the sports history in South Africa.
With Gothic-Victorian architecture and its deep red hue, The Clock Tower is an historic landmark that is almost impossible to miss. Occassionally open to the public, you could be lucky enough to take a look inside and see how it used to operate - it even has the original clock mechanism on the third floor.
The Two Oceans Aquarium is home to 3000 living sea creatures, and is guaranteed to be both a fun an educational visit for the whole family. You'll have the opportunity to observe the seals and penguins going about their day, get hands-on at the touching pool and take in the majesty of the some of the oceans most fearsome predators. And if you are feeling brave (and are a qualified diver), you can even do a shark dive in the I&J Predator Exhibit!
The Scratch Patch is a great and inexpensive activity for all ages! You pay a once off fee for the bag you get to put your treasures in (the come in 3 different sizes) and then you can begin your hunt to find the shiniest, prettiest or rarest gemstones including Rose Quartz, Tiger Eyes and Jasper.
The two shopping centres, aptly named Victoria and Alfred, offer a wide variety of both high-end couture to locally made memorabilia, and everything inbetween. You will also find banking services, hair salons and great restaurants in the Victoria shopping centre. The Alfred centre plays home to local art and goods for sale, a hotel and some splendid fine dinig options. Don't foget to take a look around the Wellness Centre, an indoor market offering a variety of local goods, and if you're wanting unique taste experiences and access to fresh goods check out the V&A Market on the Wharf.
Where to eat
There is a huge variety of restaurants from very sophisticated fine dining to family places, everything to suit all ages and tastes. Some restaurants have wonderful views over the ocean and many are outdoors.
City Grill Steakhouse offers a delicious variety of - all with a touch of South African flavour. The sweeping views of the harbour and relaxed atmosphere make it an ideal spot for family and friends to enjoy a good, hearty meal..
Take a break between activities to enjoy delicious food, in a casual setting right on the pierhead at Cafe Alfredo.
Balducci offers a comfortable, yet elegant setting with an Italian themed menu that will be sure to charm your taste buds.
At the Greek Fisherman you can enjoy an array of platters and tapas before heading onto your mains, which offers a wide selection of authentic Greek dishes with a modern twist.
If you have a sweet tooth then Myatt Cafe is the place to go. Here you will find a wide selection of speciality teas and coffees and, of course, sweet things in the form of truffles and macaroons.
Experience fine dining at Nobu. The Asian fusion restaurant, situated in the One&Only Hotel right on the Waterfront, offers delicios traditional Japanese cuisine with a modern touch.
Gourmet burgers are the name of the game at the Mondaill Burger Bar! They offer sumptuous 100% Angus beef burgers, free range chicken burgers and vegetarian options that you'll just love.
Indulge in delicious sushi, dim sum and cocktails at Sevruga. This stylish restaurant offers a wide sushi menu, as well as more traditional meals in a contemporary setting right on the pier.
Where to stay
The V&A Waterfront offer everyone a selection of accommodation from luxurious hotels to budget friendly apartments. Whichever type of accommodation you choose, you will not be disappointed with great locations and exceptional views.
Air: The closest airport is Cape Town International, which is approximately 15 minutes away.
Car Rental: Everything you would want to do in the V&A Waterfront is within walking distance from each other, but if you are wanting to explore further out then then organise to hire a car at the airport or online.
Public Transport: The MyCiti Buses services the area and you can easily and inexpensively get to and from the CBD, as well as Camps Bay, Gardens, Table View and Cape Town International Airport.
Taxis: There are a number of locations where you can catch a taxi in the V&A Waterfront, they are great for relatively short distances, but can get pricey for longer trips.
Sightseeing Bus: The best and easiest way to explore Cape Town and the V&A Waterfront is to take a Hop on Hop off City Sightseeing Bus. Tickets can be either bought online or at the ticket office outside the Two Oceans Aquarium. The buses also leave from here.
Did you know?
The Victoria&Alfred Waterfront has many nicknames, including the VnA; V&A; VandA, VA and the Cape Town Waterfront.
Originally just a Jetty built in 1654 the V&A Waterfront in it's entirety was only fully completed in 1945.
The famous Clock Tower in the V&A Waterfront was built in 1882, and is one of the V&A Waterfront's 22 official historic landmarks.
The average number of visitors a month is 1.7 million and 2.5 million during the popular summer season.
The Waterfront is located in the suburb of Greenpoint, Cape Town, and is less than 2kms away from the impressive Greenpoint Stadium.