The Volvo Ocean Race will sail into the Mother City in the coming weeks, and the V&A Waterfront has announced a new endeavour focused on the appreciation and understanding of South Africa’s ocean – The V&A Waterfront’s Ocean Life Festival, in association with the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race - Lisbon to Cape Town
Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race – Lisbon to Cape Town. Photography: Volvo Ocean Race

What the Waterfront intends to become an annual event, the Ocean Life Festival will see a programme of events and activations spread across the Waterfront between Monday 27 November and Friday 8 December, with boats possibly arriving from the 24th at Quay 6 at the Waterfront. The plan behind each event will be to engage and delight visitors’ interest in ocean life, ocean sustainability, and the potential of maritime assets such as South Africa’s vast oceans.

“Volvo Ocean Race itself has been a catalyst for the evolution of the thinking around the potential of what the oceans economy can look like for the Western Cape, and South Africa. Supporting and developing South Africa’s oceans economy is a significant focus area for the V&A Waterfront, and the annual Oceans Life Festival will be but one of the ways we look to do this,” said CEO of the V&A Waterfront, David Green.

The Volvo Ocean Race itself is an ocean racing event like no other. The longest and toughest professional sporting event in the world and sailing’s toughest team challenge, the race provides the ultimate test of a team and an amazing human adventure. The race returns to the port of Cape Town since 2014, giving visitors access to the sailing crews and their magnificent sailing machines.

“As custodians of one of the most recognised waterfronts in the world, the V&A Waterfront, we are keenly aware of our responsibility to protect this natural resource and we’d like to encourage Capetonians to come to the Festival and to enjoy themselves,” concluded Green.

Ocean Life Festival Programme

Volvo Ocean Race Arrivals

Date:           ETA between Friday, 24 and Tuesday, 28 November

Time:          N/A

Venue:       Quay 6, V&A Waterfront

Contact:     V&A Info Centre on [email protected] or 021 408 7600


Innovation Station: Ocean Plastics

Date:           Tuesday, 28 November to Sunday, 3 December

Time:          10h00 to 18h00

Venue:       Centre Court, Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre

Cost:            Free

Contact:     V&A Info Centre on [email protected] or 021 408 7600 

Bring young and old alike down to the Victoria Wharf Centre Court between Tuesday, 28 November and Sunday, 3 December for some creative fun turning recyclable plastics into new keep-sakes!

An educational activation designed to increase awareness about the hazards of excessive plastic pollution, Ocean Plastics will run daily from 10am to 6pm in this timeframe, with no cost to participate. Each participant will be exposed to three elements:


V&A Ocean Film Festival, curated by Wavescape 

Date:           Wednesday, 29 November to Friday, 1 December

Time:          20h00

Venue:       Ster Kinekor Nouveau Cinemas, Victoria Wharf

Tickets:      Available through Ster Kinekor:

Standard ticket                                    R55.00

2D block booking                                R45.50

2D kids ticket                                       R44.00

2D pensioners ticket (60+)              R44.00

2D Discovery Vitality ticket             R28.00

2D Edgars ticket                                  R28.00

Contact:     Ster Kinekor at [email protected] 

Merging art with a cause, the V&A Waterfront has partnered with Wavescape to use cinema to drive awareness of the sustainability challenges facing the world’s oceans. Kicking off at Ster Kinekor Nouveau on Wednesday, 29 November, the inaugural V&A Ocean Film Festival will show four poignant films centred on addressing ocean conservation issues with tactile solutions. Tickets start from R55.00 per person and available through Ster Kinekor.

Night 1:

A Plastic Ocean (1 hour, 42 minutes)

A Plastic Ocean is an adventure documentary shot on more than 20 locations over the past four years. Explorers Craig Leeson and Tanya Streeter and a team of international scientists reveal the causes and consequences of plastic pollution and share solutions.

Night 2:

Chasing the Coral (1 hour, 33 minutes)

Around the world, coral reefs are feeling the heat — literally. Persistently rising ocean temperatures have triggered coral bleaching events on a scale never seen before. This new documentary tells a grim story of reefs in trouble, and warns about what we could lose when they die.

Night 3:

First screening: Blue (1 hour, 10 minutes)

Blue is a powerful film about our oceans. It charts the challenges we face and the opportunities for positive change. Filmed in Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, the South Pacific and the United States, this stunning cinematic documentary comes at a time when we are making critical decisions that will decide the legacy we leave for generations to come.

Second screening: The Smog of the Sea (28 minutes)

The Smog of the Sea chronicles a one-week journey through the remote waters of the Sargasso Sea. Marine scientist Marcus Eriksen invited onboard an unusual crew to help him study the sea: renowned surfers Keith and Dan Malloy, musician Jack Johnson, spearfisher woman Kimi Werner, and bodysurfer Mark Cunningham become citizen scientists on a mission to assess the fate of plastics in the world’s oceans.


TEDxCapeTown Salon | Oceans 

Date:           Wednesday, 6 to Friday, 8 December

Time:          18h30 to 19h30

Venue:       Volvo Ocean Race Village, VOR Dome, Jetty 2, V&A Waterfront

Tickets:      Available through Quicket:

Ticket for one day:                             R80

Ticket for two days:                           R120

Ticket for all three days:                  R140

Contact:     V&A Info Centre on [email protected] or 021 408 7600 

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx brings you TEDxCapeTown Salon, where TEDTalk videos and live speakers will combine to spark meaningful discussion around the challenges posed by ocean pollution. Kicking off at 6.30pm at the VOR Dome on Jetty 2 each day, TEDxCapeTown Salon will run from Wednesday, 6 to Friday, 8 December, with tickets available via Quicket at a cost of between R80 and R140 per person.


Alex in Waterland, a V&A Waterfront’s Ocean Life Festival Theatre Show

Date:           Saturday, 2 to Sunday, 3 December

Time:          12h00, 14h00 and 16h00 (each performance is 45 minutes)

Venue:       V&A Amphitheatre

Cost:            Free

Contact:     V&A Info Centre on [email protected] or 021 408 7600

Alex’s dream is to be the greatest hero that ever lived. His mission is to save the planet from the forces of pollution! To do this, Alex must travel deep into the ocean to help animals defeat the bad guys…but he can’t do this without a little help from his friends.

Join us on Saturday, 2 and Sunday, 3 December at the V&A Amphitheatre to see Alex tackle the evils of pollution, in a production created by the V&A Waterfront Theatre School. With three free shows a day at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm, children can learn more about the dangers that pollution poses to our oceans around the world.


CoCreateDESIGN – Making Waves for Change

Date:           Monday, 27 November to Friday, 1 December

Time:          11h00 to 15h00

Venue:       Quay 6, Volvo Ocean Race Village

Cost:            Free

Contact:     [email protected] or 021 461 1448

Witness the extraordinary creativity of a circular economy in action during the V&A Waterfront’s Ocean Life Festival, as Dutch designers are paired with their South African counterparts in a unique design challenge: CoCreateDESIGN.

Using plastic and other discarded waste, designers will be challenged to create a durable piece of street furniture in just one week, with the final installations going on display at the Waterfront thereafter. Sponsored by the Dutch Consulate, the public is encouraged to stop by to see these imaginative designers in action between 11am and 3pm at Quay 6 in the Volvo Ocean Race Village, from Monday, 27 November to Friday, 1 December.


V&A Ocean Life Festival Beach Cleanup

Date:           Saturday, 2 December

Time:          10h00 to 12h00

Venue:       Sea Point Beach

Cost:            Free

Contact:     V&A Info Centre on [email protected] or 021 408 7600

Put on your takkies and head down to the Sea Point Beach on Saturday, 2 December to partake in the first V&A Ocean Life Festival Beach Cleanup! Organised in association with the Two Oceans Aquarium and open to the public, plastic warriors can meet at the Sea Point Beach at 10am to receive their cleanup bags and do their bit to help clean up our coastline.


Plastic pollution is one of the biggest problems facing the ocean today, and more than 8 million tons of plastic land up in the ocean every year. In fact, it is estimated that there will be more plastic than fish, by weight by 2050!


Note: Please bring sunscreen, a hat and water in a reusable water bottle.


Volvo Ocean Race Cape Town – Pro-Am Race

Date:           Thursday, 7 December

Time:          16h45 – 17h25

Venue:       Sailors Terrace, Jetty 2, V&A Waterfront

Contact:     V&A Info Centre on [email protected] or 021 408 7600


Volvo Ocean Race Cape Town – In-port Race

Date:           Friday, 8 December

Time:          11h20

Venue:       Sailors Terrace, Jetty 2, V&A Waterfront

Contact:     V&A Info Centre on [email protected] or 021 408 7600


Volvo Ocean Race Cape Town – Race Restart / Closing Ceremony

Date:           Sunday, 10 December

Time:          11h20

Venue:       Sailors Terrace, Jetty 2, V&A Waterfront

Contact:     V&A Info Centre on [email protected] or 021 408 7600

Photography Volvo Ocean Race

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