Escape and breathe the air of new places.
We leave our hotel late afternoon, and I don’t want to miss the day. I just have the weekend in Cape Town. According to my to-see list, there is a ton of places I got to visit before I am nearly done. We rush to call our Uber and are off to our starting point – V&A Waterfront.
Surprisingly, in my detailed things to see, V&A Waterfront is nowhere on that list. Maybe because it’s merely the starting point to go to more popular destination spots in Cape Town. But once we get down, all we do is keep walking on and on exploring this spectacular location.
What is V&A Waterfront?
It is the oldest working harbour in the southern hemisphere, with the iconic Table Mountain as its backdrop and extensive views of the ocean, city bowl and mountain peaks.
Rarely you come across places where every direction has something unique to offer. While on one side there is the gorgeous harbour front of V&A Waterfront, turn around and you see the hustle-bustle of the city through the endless malls and restaurants. If that’s not enough, take a spin in the majestic Cape Wheel with stunning views of the city.
My personal favourite has got to be the guided historical walking tours. After all, it’s not every day that you come across a city where the cultures of many origins meet and flourish.
In this part of the world, the Dutch, Flemish and British colonists blended with those of the Malay slaves and sailors from every corner of the globe to form the cosmopolitan city life that makes up modern-day Cape Town.
The place won’t speak to you unless and until you know a little bit about its history, so here goes:
History of V&A Waterfront:
The V&A Waterfront started off with a small jetty, built by Jan van Riebeeck in 1654 as part of his task to establish a refreshment station at the foot of Africa for the Dutch East India Company. The Cape had become a stopover for Dutch ships sailing to Eastern Africa, India and the Far East on their quest for exotic goods.
In June 1858 serious winter storms wrecked over 30 vessels. As a consequence, Lloyd’s of London refused to cover ships wintering in Table Bay.
On a sunny September 17, 1860 Midshipman HRH Prince Alfred, Queen Victoria’s second son, tipped the first load of stone to start construction of the breakwater for Cape Town’s first harbour.
Work started in 1938 and was completed in 1945, after being delayed by the Second World War. A 230ha tract of Foreshore land was created in the process of city expansion.
My recommendation for V&A Waterfront:
Visit this place during sunset and sunrise. The beautiful colours of the horizon with the Table Mountain on the backdrop is precious and not to be missed.
Take a stroll end to end of the V&A Waterfront and if you’re lucky you might just get to see some impromptu street performances. The place is the best way to relax and unwind after a long day of sightseeing.