Quick Facts: Waterfront
- Working Harbour
- Shopping centre
- Entertainment centre
- Hotels, Restaurants, Cinemas, Pubs & Bars, Fast Food outlets
- Activities: Helicopter flights, harbour cruises, Robben Island boat trips
- Museums, Clock Tower
- Two Oceans Aquarium
- Red Shed Art and Craft Market
- Table Bay Hotel, five stars (V&A Waterfront)
- V&A Hotel, four-star (V&A Waterfront)
- Cape Grace Hotel, five stars (V&A Waterfront)
- The Commodore Hotel, four-star (V&A Waterfront)
- The Portswood Hotel, four-star (V&A Waterfront)
- Breakwater Lodge, three-star (V&A Waterfront)
- City Lodge Waterfront, four-star (V&A Waterfront)
Distance to Airport: 22 km
Distance to City: 1.5 km
The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa, is named after Queen Victoria and her son Prince Alfred. The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront was originally built in 1860 and has gone through many changes since then. Due to its favourable geographical position, Cape Town is one of the most important seaports in the world. By the end of the 19th century, the existing harbour was simply not big enough so an extension was started. Over the years the harbour complex has been continuously expanded and modernised. During this construction, much of the former harbour bay was landfilled to create space for new buildings for the city centre of today. The land gained from the sea is called the Foreshore.
The Cape Town Waterfront became a very busy port as it played its role as the stopover port for the trade routes to the East. It transformed the city into a hive of seafront activity. The discovery of gold and diamonds in South Africa meant that the first section of the harbour, the Alfred Basin, had to be added and the Victoria Basin was built. The construction of the two harbour basins took place between 1860 and 1920, and the area is notable for its outstanding heritage buildings. It retains the charm of Victorian industrial architecture and the scale of a harbour built for sail and the early days of steam travel.
Over the past 140 years, the harbour in Cape Town has undergone numerous changes, which continue even today with the redevelopment of land and buildings surrounding the original Victoria & Alfred Basins. The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront project is the culmination of nearly three decades of planning and development proposals. Today the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa, has become one of the most visited tourist attractions in Africa as acts as the gateway to Southern Africa.
The Waterfront serves as an entertainment, shopping and restaurant hub for the city centre of Cape Town. The long summer nights combined with open-air entertainment in the Amphitheater, cocktail bars and seafood restaurants make for a heavenly and unforgettable experience.
The oldest part of the Cape Town harbour complex was thoroughly restored in 1990 and transformed into a recreational resort with exclusive shopping centres. Hundreds of restaurants, coffee shops and bistros, live music bars and pubs make a stroll through the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront by day and by night a memorable experience.
Take a ferry around the harbour, go on a sailing trip to Table Bay or let a fast catamaran take you to Robben Island. Also part of the Waterfront is two museums, a cinema complex, a theatre and the very impressive Two Oceans Aquarium. What makes the Waterfront unique, is the fresh harbour atmosphere with its historical buildings, the cosmopolitan flair and the presence of the iconic Table Mountain in the background.