The V&A Waterfront is one of those places thatI kind of hate to love. Normally I dislike anything that resembles a shopping mall but the V&A Waterfront is different. The area somehow blends shopping mall, with active harbor, with historical / cultural center almost seamlessly. It is one of those places where there is truly something for everyone. Here are my top 10 for the V&A Waterfront:
Top 10: V&A Waterfront
Explore Two Oceans Aquarium
This aquarium is one of my favorite places to visit in Cape Town (I may have gone two or three times during my time in South Africa). It highlights the fish and sea life of both of the oceans surrounding South Africa (Indian and Atlantic) and has a lot of interactive sections for all ages. You can read more about my trip to Two Oceans here.
Picture with Table Mountain
There is a lovely little giant picture frame sitting in the middle of the harbor where tourists can sit and frame themselves with Table Mountain in the background. Whenever we visited the V&A Waterfront the line was too long so I sadly missed out on this opportunity. Next time, right?
Wheel of Excellence
Although a ride on the Wheel of Excellence is a bit pricy (R100, about $10USD), I think that the views (Table Mountain! Robben Island! 2010 FIFA Soccer Stadium!) during the 15 minute ride were well worth it! Bonus: all the cars are enclosed and provide air conditioning.
Eat All The Foods
There are too many excellent restaurants at the V&A Waterfront to list. But make sure stop by Willoughby & Co (for excellent sushi), Meloncino (for sundowners, Italian yummies, and an incredible view of the surrounding area), and my personal favorite, Sevruga (specializing in sushi, seafood, and Asian fusion)
Shop the Shops
I'll be honest – the V&A Waterfront is an absolute tourist trap and most things will cost you your first born child. Regardless, there are a ton of great shops around the harbor that sell some interesting (although over priced) crafts from some of the local townships.
Take A Sunset Cruise
I don't care if it is a complete tourist trap, I loved taking one of the champagne and sunset cruises around Table Bay. For about R200 (roughly $20USD), you ride around the bay for about 90 minutes in a sailboat while sipping on champagne. You can read more about the sunset cruises here.
Visit the Iziko Maritime Museum
The Iziko Maritime Museum, built by local prisons back in the late 1800's, documents the shipping history of Table Bay. The museum is a great place to visit if you love history and/or maritime affairs.
Visit Robben Island
The V&A Waterfront is the gateway to Robben Island. There is a small museum-like center at the harbor, which is also where the boats take off for the historic prison. The prison is where Nelson Mandela spent most of his time in prison (18 of the 27 years). One of the most amazing aspects of the prison is that the tour is led by former political prisoners.
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Take in A Show
There is a lovely little stage area in the middle of the waterfront area right next to the Wheel of Excellence and there seems to always have some something going on. From dance and musical performances to religious services, there is almost always a small crowd sitting on the steps of the amphitheater.