The Victoria

By: Kadence Buchanan

The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, fondly referred to as V &A Waterfront, is one of the premier areas around Cape Town. The area comprises not only a working harbour but also numerous gathering places and historical sites as well. Visitors and locales alike enjoy everything from live music, theatre, arts and crafts markets and shopping malls within this vibrant community.

The history of the waterfront reaches all the way back to 1860. It was during this time that the second son of Queen Victoria, Prince Alfred, visited the area and played a role in lifting the first rock that serve as construction for the breakwater on Cape Town. More than one hundred years later, the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront Company developed basins in the harbour in an effort to combine both commerce and tourism in the area. Today, visitors and locales can access the V&A Waterfront through a variety of means from the Atlantic Seaboard as well as the city centre. A bus and a shuttle operate along the Waterfront; running from town and the airport.

If you are new to the area, be sure to stop by the Visitors Centre, which is located on Market Square, adjacent to Vaughan Johnson's Wine Shop. Here, you can find information on Cape Town, the Waterfront and the Western Cape. In addition, you can obtain info about local tours, accommodation and local tourist guides. The Waterfront area is quite safe as 24-hour surveillance is in operation, assuring that visitors are able to move about the Waterfront and enjoy all that is offered with no concerns.

When it comes to shopping, Alfred Mall is considered to be one of the most popular shopping venues, offering boutiques as well as specialty shops. When you are ready for a break, there are numerous coffee shops where you can sit and relax as well as a restaurant to enjoy. The Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre also offers dining options, including fast food outlets, as well as almost two hundred major retail outlets and specialty shops.

The Waterfront Craft Market offers one of the biggest craft markets in South Africa, offering a variety of quality handcrafts such as leather work, pottery, clothing, furniture and glass art.

The entire family will be able to enjoy a variety of entertainment venues ranging from street entertainers to buskers. In addition, there are also a number of festivals that take place throughout the year. Eleven cinemas offer numerous cinematic options.

Along with the many shopping and entertainment venues, there are also numerous historic buildings to view along the Waterfront. Visitors can also enjoy a number of different activities and tours, such as seaplane rides, helicopter flips, harbour cruises and boat trips. In addition, the Two Oceans Aquarium offers the opportunity to see some of the interesting sea life that makes their home in the oceans that surround the Coast. The aquarium is the largest in the country. The V&A is also conveniently located within just a few minutes of art galleries, museums and the Castle of Good Hope.

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