When construction began on this harbour-side development in 1988, few could have imagined the shopping, tourism and residential precinct it would be today.
More than 450 stores have you covered for anything you could possibly want to pack to take home. International labels (including Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Zara) are interspersed with local department stores and boutiques, souvenir emporia, electronics outlets, craft markets and jewellery showrooms, making this Cape Town’s number one shopping destination.
With more than 80 eateries and world-class restaurants, the V&A is a culinary destination in its own right. Local favourites include top-notch sushi platters at Willoughby & Co, steaks done to perfection at Belthazar (also the largest wine by the glass bar in the country), brasserie classics with a twist at chic Mondiall overlooking the quays, and a smorgasbord of delights at the V&A Market at the Wharf.
Hop aboard a pod on the Cape Wheel – our answer to the London Eye – to see Table Bay and the city bowl laid out at your feet. For a festive spin, book the VIP gondola, with a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine.
There’s no such thing as ‘Mom, I’m bored’ at the V&A. The world-class Two Oceans Aquarium is open from 9:30 am to 6 pm daily, with diverse habitats, touch pools, penguin feeding and puppet shows to entrance little ones.
Art Jamming gives painters in the making a chance to unleash their creativity on canvas, or take the tots to The Scratch Patch to dig for tumble-polished gemstones before a round of Cave Golf next door.
A proud legacy
History buffs, head to the Information Centre to book your place on the guided V&A Waterfront Historical Walking Tour, departing from the Chavonnes Battery Museum daily at 11 am. The tour takes in 22 historical landmarks around South Africa’s oldest working harbour, including the dry docks, old power station and pumphouse, and the Union Castle Building.
Afterwards, get your fill of our glorious rugby history at the Springbok Experience Museum at Portswood House.
The V&A Waterfront is open 9 am – 9 pm daily. Go to www.waterfront.co.za for more information.
Photography Gareth van Nelson/HSMimages.co.za