V&A Waterfront

Coordinates: 33°54′11″S 18°25′22″E / 33.90306°S 18.42278°E / -33.90306; 18.42278
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V&A Waterfront
Physical features
DivisionsRoggebaai Canal, Alfred Basin, Victoria Basin, Duncan Dock, Granger Bay
Coordinates: 33°54′11″S 18°25′22″E / 33.90306°S 18.42278°E / -33.90306; 18.42278
CountrySouth Africa
CityCape Town
LocationTable Bay Harbour
 • Total123 ha (304 acres)

The V&A Waterfront is a mixed-use destination located in the oldest working harbour in the Southern Hemisphere.[1] With Table Mountain as its backdrop,[2] the 123-hectare neighbourhood is located within the Cape Town, South Africa, where millions of people visit each year.[3] It contains art, entrepreneurs, and sustainable design.[4][5]


The V&A Waterfront (Victoria and Alfred Waterfront) is named after Prince Alfred and Queen Victoria, members of the Royal Family of Britain when Cape Town was part of the Cape Colony. Alfred, while serving in the British Royal Navy, visited Cape Town and ordered construction of a new harbour for the colony.


Victoria & Alfred Waterfront Swing Bridge

The V&A Waterfront is a mixed-use property [6] that contains:

  • 180 business tenants[7]
  • 450+ shops[8]
  • 101 entertainment activities[9]
  • 80+ eateries[10]
  • 13 hotels[11]
  • Seven museums[12]
  • 22 historical landmarks
  • 15 conference venues[13]


Two Oceans Aquarium
Cape Town waterfront harbour
Victoria & Alfred Hotel at Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
A boat near the Waterway House
Zeitz Mocaa and Radisson Red Hotel

The V&A Waterfront is a central part of the very beginning of the settlement of the city of Cape Town.[14] In 1654, two years after his arrival in this relatively safe bay at the foot of Table Mountain, Jan van Riebeeck built a small jetty as part of his task to establish a refreshment station at the Cape.[14] Fresh water and fresh produce were provided to the ships of the Dutch East India Company on their arduous and lengthy journey to their outposts in Java and Batavia. The sea and the harbour lie at the heart of Cape Town's history.[14]

In June 1858, serious winter storms, which were a common occurrence, wrecked over 30 vessels. As a consequence, Lloyds of London refused to cover ships spending the winter in Table Bay.[14] On a sunny day in 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 to make it a safe haven all year round for passing ships.[14]

In 1984, Sol Kreiner, Mayor of Cape Town, advanced what would become the V&A Waterfront by forming a steering committee to consider a waterfront scheme: "As Johannesburg has gold, we have a beautiful city as a tourist attraction and we must all work together for a better Cape Town. We have a large cross-section of people who are prepared to sit down and discuss a scheme which will bring back the old city where one can freely walk around, visit the harbour, go for tug rides and learn more about our heritage."[15] Kreiner later became the council-nominated director on the board of the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront Company.[16]

Harbour expansion and reclamation[edit]

The discovery of gold and diamonds in South Africa meant that the first section of harbour, the Alfred Basin, was not large enough to accommodate the increased number of ships, and the Victoria Basin was built.[17] The construction of these two harbour basins took place between 1860 and 1920, and this area of the harbour still has an array of outstanding heritage buildings from this era.

In 1938 work was started to reclaim land between the city centre and the harbour, most notably the new Duncan Dock. The Foreshore (230 hectares) made city expansion possible. In the early 20th century South Africa depended mainly on imports for many basic articles in daily use, which explains the importance of the harbour to the people who lived here.[18]

The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront today[edit]

In November 1988, Victoria and Alfred Waterfront (Pty) Ltd was established as a wholly-owned subsidiary by Transnet Ltd.[19] Its aim was to redevelop the historic docklands around the Victoria and Alfred Basins as a mixed-use area with a focus on retail, tourism and residential development with a working harbour at its centre.

Today it is a mixed-use development that spans 23 hectares, with 24 million visitors a year. Over 23 000 people work and live within its neighbourhood.


The Cape Wheel in 2022

The V&A Waterfront has several distinct districts.[20]

Canal District[edit]

This urban district connects the V&A waterfront to the City of Cape Town.[21] The area contains Battery Park, and a spa and showroom at Waterway House.[22]

Clocktower District[edit]

Contains a clock tower built in 1882,[23] a retail mall, and the Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island ferry terminal.[24]

Granger Bay District[edit]

Contains The Lookout events space, The Grand Beach Cafe, the Breakwater residential development, the Oranjezicht City Farm Market, and boardwalks with ocean views.[25]

Portswood Ridge District[edit]

This district connects the V&A waterfront and the Atlantic Seaboard,[26] and includes the UCT Graduate School of Business, a golf course, the corporate offices and Deloitte HQ, and an urban garden.[27]

Silo District[edit]

This district includes the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, the Southern Guild design gallery, restaurants, bars, hotels and office space.[28] It sits next to the Cape Town Cruise Terminal, which also houses Makers Landing, a home for budding food entrepreneurs showcasing a mix of South African cuisine.[29]

South Arm District[edit]

This district contains industrial space, and a harbour where fishing industries operate.[30] Commercial vessels also berth at this harbour.


The V&A Waterfront has seen development in the Silo district, which currently houses the headquarters of Allan Gray Investment Management at Silo 1 and apartments at Silo 2. The project was completed in 2017 with a Virgin Active gym, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, and the adjoining ultra-luxury Silo Hotel.[31][32]

Notable attractions at the V&A Waterfront[edit]


  1. ^ "A local's guide to Cape Town's V&A Waterfront". Time Out Cape Town. 20 June 2023. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  2. ^ "Table Mountain calls for your vote for Africa's leading tourist attraction". www.capetownetc.com. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  3. ^ Isaacs, Lauren. "City of Cape Town urging SAns to vote for Mother City in World Travel Awards". ewn.co.za. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  4. ^ "V&A Waterfront offers opportunities for culinary innovators and other entrepreneurs". Business. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  5. ^ Pierotti, Mikenna (12 February 2018). "V&A Waterfront Takes Sustainable Development Seriously - gb&d". gb&d magazine. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  6. ^ "V&A Waterfront's 6-star Green Star Design awarded the Ridge opens – Property Wheel". propertywheel.co.za. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  7. ^ "V&A Waterfront's Radisson RED wins another sustainability accolade". www.capetownetc.com. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  8. ^ "Pleasures and plans at the V&A Waterfront". BusinessLIVE. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  9. ^ "How to Explore the V&A Waterfront in One Day". www.citysightseeing.co.za. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  10. ^ "20 popular restaurants at the V&A Waterfront | Cape Town ETC". www.capetownetc.com. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  11. ^ Schoeman, Aldi. "Art invades the V&A". City Press. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  12. ^ "Fresh crop of retail talent joins V&A Watershed's Design Lab". Bizcommunity. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  13. ^ Releases, APO Press (20 July 2021). "V&A Waterfront Endorses African Energy Week 2021, Contributes to Tourism Recovery". The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  14. ^ a b c d e "Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town".
  15. ^ Unwrapping History at the Cape Town Waterfront University of Cape Town. 18 July 1992
  16. ^ Kreiner - 'you have to make it happen' Retrieved on 26 December 2023
  17. ^ "The new life-sized ring at the Silo is the first of its kind in world".
  18. ^ "V&A Waterfront ready to welcome return of iconic Ocean Race to Cape Town". 7 February 2023.
  19. ^ Reporter, Creamer Media. "V&A to spend R179m to develop Cape Town cruise terminal". Engineering News. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  20. ^ Singh, Chris (20 January 2020). "Everything you should do at Cape Town's bustling V&A Waterfront". The AU Review. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  21. ^ https://businesstech.co.za/news/wealth/273779/a-look-at-the-va-waterfronts-incredible-new-r1-1-billion-canal-district/
  22. ^ https://www.iol.co.za/capeargus/news/r11-billion-expansion-for-v-and-a-waterfront-canal-district-17230379
  23. ^ "V&A Waterfront Clocktower, the sentry at the docks". www.capetownetc.com. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  24. ^ "Robben Island gets R122m makeover to retain its World Heritage status". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  25. ^ https://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/western-cape/v-and-as-grand-plans-for-granger-bay-1549915
  26. ^ "V&A Waterfront's the Ridge installs long-awaited facade – Property Wheel". propertywheel.co.za. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  27. ^ https://businesstech.co.za/news/business/370992/a-look-at-deloittes-new-cape-town-offices-which-will-include-pause-areas-for-employees/
  28. ^ "Hotel Review: The Silo Hotel, Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town in South Africa | Luxury Lifestyle Magazine". 30 May 2023. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  29. ^ Uys, Jean-Marie (14 December 2022). "MATTERS OF THE ART: Turning an important gaze inward – 'When We See Us' at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  30. ^ "New Cape Town cruise terminal to focus on enhancing passenger experience". News24. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  31. ^ Greve, Natalie. "V&A Waterfront commits further R1.5bn to Silo district development". Retrieved 30 August 2015.

External links[edit]