Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

A panoramic view of the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Table Bay.

The waterfront offers a wealth of entertainment opportunities for visitors to Cape Town.

The historic Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town offers a variety of activities for travelers and local Capetonians alike. In contrast to the wilderness surrounding the Mother City, the Waterfront is home to an extensive shopping center, art galleries and museums galore. With over 22 different attractions, an entire day can be spent here.

For example, you can visit the Watershed Craft Market – a sprawling warehouse chock-full of local arts and crafts. It is walking distance from the Two Oceans Aquarium – a world-class marine wonderland which provides fun for the whole family. Alternatively, explore the Portswood Tunnel and take a trip around the Cape Town Wheel with its dramatic views of Table Mountain and the marina. Art lovers can visit the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa or take a walk through the Nobel Square commemorating the Nobel Peace Prize laureates of South Africa.

History buffs will delight in the offerings of the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum, the Cape Medical Museum and the South African Maritime Museum. At the Maritime Museum, guests can partake in  guided tours illuminating the history of the Cape from 1654, when Jan Van Riebeeck started building the harbor. Here the diversity of cultures in the Cape is well presented, with paraphernalia from Dutch, German and French cultures, in contrast to the culture of the Malaysians who were brought to South Africa as slaves. The museum is also home to the SAS Somerset, the only boom defense vessel left in the world.

Visit the Chavonnes Battery Museum as part of the history tour. The battery was part of the defense system in Cape Town and was built in the 18th century. Visitors can view the cannons used and experience a live cannon firing ceremony. Breakwater Prison is also available to visitors. Prisoners here were responsible for the construction of most of the Cape harbor. It was also the first prison to segregate inmates according to race.

The most popular tour for history lovers, however, remains the guided tour from the Nelson Mandela gateway to Robben Island. A three-story glass museum tells the story of Robben Island and Nelson Mandela as he was sentenced to prison and then released in 1990. This is also the departure point for the ferry to the island itself.

After working up an appetite exploring, you can visit one of the many restaurants overlooking the marina, including the famous Quay Four restaurant. Enjoy the great selection of wines the Cape has to offer with a view of Table Mountain. From seafood to a gin bar and the Lindt Chocolate Studio, there are many fine eateries to choose from.

Adventurous spirits can take a helicopter ride to witness the buzzing Waterfront from the air. On fair weather days, you can venture out onto Table Bay via one of the many vessels anchored in the harbor, from lush catamarans and super yachts to a novelty pirate ship called ‘the Jolly Roger’. A champagne sunset cruise on Table Bay is a quintessential Cape Town experience.

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