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V&A Waterfront

Cape Town's Victoria and Alfred Waterfront development has grabbed the imagination of Capetonian and visitor alike. With majestic Table Mountain as a backdrop and the unique interest of the 'working harbour', it is not surprising that the 'Waterfront' has become Cape Town's most popular attraction. Its success has largely been built upon local support and attracts over a million visitors a month, of which 70% are Capetonians.

I n f o r m a t i o n :
Cape Town Tourism
{+27 (0) 21 - 4264260} at the The Pinnacle, Corner Castle & Burg Streets, Cape Town.
V&A Waterfront Information Centre
{+27 (0) 21 - 4182369}

For over a century The Dutch East India Company contributed to the development of the Cape of Good Hope. The arrival of their merchant ships, laden with spices and treasures from markets explored, caused great excitement in the community. Times have changed, yet the same spirit lives on at the Waterfront Craft Market, where craftsmanship and artistry of an ageless quality are captured in a market for the explorer at heart.

Shops cover gemstones, curios and fancy fashions to the silliest souvenirs. It is also well stocked with restaurants, taverns, cinemas, theatres and a variety of entertainment including boat trips and charters. Try the historical walks.

It is advisable to first visit the V&A Waterfront Information Centre. They are there to help you with friendly advice, directions and up-to-the minute information on activities and events. They will even arrange bookings for tours and taxis.

A trip to Robben Island Museum is a must for any visitor to Cape Town. Visit the prison cell where Nelson Mandela spent many of his years in prison. For nearly 400 years, Robben Island, 12 kilometres from Cape Town, was a place of banishment, exile, isolation and imprisonment. It was here that rulers sent those they regarded as political troublemakers, social outcasts and the unwanted of society. During the apartheid years Robben Island became internationally known for its institutional brutality. The duty of those who ran the Island and its prison was to isolate opponents of apartheid and to crush their morale. Some freedom fighters spent more than a quarter of a century in prison for their beliefs. Those imprisoned on the Island succeeded on a psychological and political level in turning a prison 'hell-hole' into a symbol of freedom and personal liberation. Robben Island came to symbolise, not only for South Africa and the African continent, but also for the entire world, the triumph of the human spirit over enormous hardship and adversity.

The Imax cinema is situated at the Portswood Road entrance to the Waterfront. The main feature of Imax is the super-realistic image on a screen five stories high.

The Two Oceans Aquarium offers an exciting insight into the indigenous fresh and seawater creatures of South Africa.

The Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre forms the bulk of the retail space at the Waterfront, and presents the shopper with a wide variety of national retailers, boutiques and services, along with a large selection of restaurants, coffee shops and fast food outlets.

The Alfred Mall & Pierhead is situated within the historic Pierhead and overlooks the small craft harbour and adjacent dry dock. Those seeking quality specialist artefacts, jewellery, curios and art with a nautical or African flavour will find a wonderful selection here.

The Red Shed Craft Workshop, adjoining the Victoria Wharf centre, is filled with an eclectic mix of handmade merchandise and art and has an atmosphere that brings the shopper closer to the creator.

The Waterfront Craft Market represents the Waterfront's culture of entrepreneurship and micro business development. This vibrant indoor craft market, adjacent to the Two Oceans Aquarium, features a diverse assortment of innovative designs and traditional handcrafts, antiquities and holistic lifestyle accessories.

The South African Maritime Museum has the largest collection of model ships and some fascinating artifacts. There is also a floating exhibit, the S.A.S. Somerset.

Other items of historical interest are the Time Ball Tower, (which was once used by ships in the bay to set the time) and the Old Clock Tower, built in 1887. The topmost floor housed the clock mechanism, while the bottom floor housed the elaborate tide-gauge operated by a float on the water below. The Clock Tower Centre, across the swingbridge from the Pierhead, is the latest addition to the V&A Waterfront's retail offering. It brings South African crafts, arts, designs and foods together in one centre, along with facilities appealing to tourists and locals alike.

Cape Fur Seals
can be viewed by taking a boat ride around the harbour.

Published by Nelson's Guides • PO Box 432 Constantia 7848, Cape Town, South Africa
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