There’s more to this landmark than shopping…
It’s no secret that the V&A Waterfront is home to the most visited mall in the Cape, thanks to a smattering of world-class restaurants, top-drawer clothing and speciality shops, and a handful of high-end hotels.
But with Covid-19 in the air, people are choosing to be outdoors rather than inside, which is obviously safer (from a social-distancing point of view), and also a great way of dosing up on vitamin D and relieving stress!
So, join us, as we explore the Waterfront in a new light and take advantage of all its non-shopping-related activities on offer. (That is not to say we don’t love a spot of retail therapy every now and again.)
What are your favourite things to do at the V&A Waterfront? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Dose up on design
Home to the biggest and best art museum in Africa, The Silo District at the V&A Waterfront is a design destination that will impress even the most seasoned aficionados. Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) is obviously the main attraction, with its 6 000 square metres of exhibition space and galleries on each of its eight floors. A former grain silo, the massive space was given a state-of-the-art overhaul by esteemed British architects Heatherwick Studio turning it into South Africa’s very own Tate Modern. There’s even a rooftop terrace with a view-drenched restaurant and bar for the swanky cocktail crew.
The district is home to local boutiques aplenty, such as Kirsten Goss (hand-finished jewellery) and Kat van Duinen (clothing and leather accessories), as well as Guild gallery, a showcase of the best South African design!
Feel like a bite? Try The Yard for Indian-Mediterranean meals, Granary Café for spectacular views and contemporary comfort dishes or SushiBox for, um, sushi.
Cost Free (under 18s)
R210 (adults, day entry)
R290 (annual membership)
Opening times Thursday – Sunday, 10am – 6pm
Contact 087 350 4777, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Silo District, S Arm Road, V&A Waterfront
Visit the Aquarium
With live ocean exhibits of seahorses, octopuses, rays, turtles and fish of all shapes and sizes, this one-stop destination of all things aquatic is, unsurprisingly, one of Cape Town’s premier tourist destinations. There are over 350 species on display, with the Save our Seas Shark Exhibit, the African penguin colony, and the underwater tunnel at the I&J Ocean Exhibit among the standouts.
Cost R200 (adults)
R150 (SA pensioners, SA students, children 14 – 17 years)
R95 (children 4 – 13 years)
Free (under 0 – 4 years)
Opening times Monday – Friday, 9.30am – 6pm
Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 6pm
Contact 021 418 3823, email@example.com
Where to find it Two Oceans Aquarium, Dock Road, V&A Waterfront
Enjoy a relatively short yet memorable sail along the Atlantic Ocean aboard a traditional 58-foot gaff-rigged schooner. The hour-long cruise will give you ample opportunity to capture the perfect photograph of the Mother City under Table Mountain.
Good to know Boarding begins 15 minutes prior to departure, and the red-sailed beauty accommodates a maximum of 45 passengers.
Cost R230 per person
Where to find it Shop 7, Quay 5, V&A Waterfront
Ride the Cape Wheel
An exhilarating experience for kids, and a source of sweet nostalgia for adults, the Cape Wheel delivers all that, plus spectacular views of Cape Town’s most popular tourist location.
Good to know Sign up on the Cape Wheel website a week or two before your birthday and you’ll receive a voucher on the day of your birthday, redeemable up to a month afterwards.
Cost R155 (adults)
R75 (children 4 – 17 years)
R60 (South African pensioners, Tuesday & Wednesday, 10am – 6pm)
Free (children 0 – 4 years)
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 10am – 9pm
Contact 021 418 2502, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Market Square 1, Dock Road, V&A Waterfront
High tea at One&Only
Lofty proportions, grand decor and a magnificent view of Table Mountain greet you as you enter this resort hotel at the V&A Waterfront where a wondrous arrangement of tea-time treats beckons. Served on generous O&O tea stands, the afternoon tea features freshly baked scones served with chantilly cream and local preserves, an assortment of brightly coloured, elegant pastries, delectable savoury bites and, of course, a free-flowing wide selection of luxury, full-leaf teas.
Cost R395 per person
R200 (children 4 – 12 years)
Free (children 0 – 4 years)
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 2pm – 5pm
Contact 021 431 5888, email@example.com
Where to find it One&Only, Dock Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Discover gems at Scratch Patch
The Scratch Patch is an exciting and evocative experience for kids of all ages. Among the most popular (and beautiful) semi-precious stones that can be found here are the brown-layered tiger’s eye; the love stone, rose quartz; healing gem amethyst; the striped water stone, agate; the patterned, sacred and mystical jasper; and the all-powerful clear quartz crystal. In addition to finding wonderful gems, there is also an 18-hole indoor mini-golf course.
Cost R25 – R130 per bag (depending on size)
R30 (round of golf per player and refundable deposit of R20 required)
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 9am – 4.30pm
Contact 021 419 9429, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it 1 Dock Road, V&A Waterfront
Run the 5km running route
With Table Mountain on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, this running route is a scenic way to get your daily dose of cardio. The 5km run starts at Ferrymans Tavern and finishes at the iconic Table Bay Hotel.
Shop for local art, fashion and design at The Watershed
This light and airy street-style retail space is host to around 150 unique, artisanal and proudly local small and medium businesses – selling art, ceramics, craft, fashion and accessories, furniture and furnishings, gifts, jewellery, curios and textiles.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Contact 021 408 7600, email@example.com
Where to find it 17 Dock Road, V&A Waterfront
Test your balance with Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP) through the V&A Waterfront’s majestic canals, during a three-kilometre loop. All equipment is provided, along with the services of an experienced guide, and you’ll receive a brief introduction to SUPing before you set off.
Cost R220 per person
Opening times Monday – Friday, 10am – 3pm; Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 2pm (April – September)
Monday – Sunday, 8am – 6pm (October – March)
Please note Children younger than nine years should be assisted by an instructor (additional charge of R90) or a parent.
Where to find it Battery Park, V&A Waterfront (parking access from Alfred Road, just behind City Lodge), Cape Town
Seafood by the sea
Being a harbour and all, it would be a travesty not to enjoy a deliciously fresh seafood feast on the water’s edge. Den Anker, one of our favourites, has been serving consistently excellent food in a professional, upscale atmosphere for over 24 years. Order a bowl of moules marinières, and a Belgian beer or two, while you watch the seagulls swoop from your quayside perch.
Another stalwart is Portuguese-inspired Baia, which serves everything from fresh oysters, sushi and sashimi, linefish, peri-peri prawns and langoustines, and Norwegian salmon – with a side of magnificent ocean views.
Opening times Den Anker: Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 10pm
Baia: Monday – Thursday, 6pm – 9.30pm
Friday – Sunday, 12pm – 3.30pm; 6pm – 9.30pm
Contact Den Anker: 021 419 0249, firstname.lastname@example.org
Baia: 021 421 0935, email@example.com
Where to find it Den Anker: Pierhead, V&A Waterfront
Baia: Shop 6262, V&A Waterfront
Skate at Battery Park
This urban park at the V&A Waterfront is a gateway to and from Cape Town’s CBD. With a scooter path, skatepark, multi-court (for netball, basketball and soccer), stand-up paddleboarding and canoeing in the canal, kids and adults will be occupied for hours. Bring a picnic basket and make a day of it.
Cost Free (but you’ll need to pay for parking, which is free on weekends)
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 7am – 7pm
Contact 021 408 7600, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Battery Park, Between Cape Town CBD and The V&A Waterfront
Rent a bike
Explore one of the most beautiful cities in the world on two wheels. Cape Town’s first drop-and-go bicycle rental company, Up Cycles, is located in the Silo District. Their Dutch-style, single-speed, backpedal city bikes are unisex and suitable for all sizes. Simply rent a bike and return it after your ride to any of the Up Cycles stations (Camps Bay, Sea Point and V&A Waterfront).
Cost From R80 per bike
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 8.30am – 7pm
Contact 074 100 9161 or 076 135 2223, email@example.com
Where to find it Silo 5, Silo District, V&A Waterfront
Eat at the V&A Food Market
In addition to a slew of crowd-pleasing restaurants, the Waterfront is also home to the V&A Food Market, known for its lip-smacking street-food, craft beer and live music. There is sure to be something to satisfy your cravings – plus you’ll be supporting local businesses when they need it most.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 10am – 6pm
Contact 021 418 1605
Where to find it Old Power Station, Building 19, Dock Road, Pierhead, V&A Waterfront
Historical walking tours
Ever wondered about Cape Town’s unfinished highway, colourful shipping containers and underground tunnels? Have all your questions answered during these free audio walking tours of South Africa’s oldest working harbour, whose rich and colourful history and humble beginnings will be revealed. Tours kick off outside Ferrymans.
Times The tour goes through The Watershed, open between 10am and 6pm, but it is possible to do the tour at other times.
Duration 1 hour
Where to find it V&A Waterfront Information Centre
Stock up on artisanal food delights
The latest food offering to emerge at the V&A Waterfront is Maker’s Landing: a community hub that celebrates the diversity of South African cultures through our colourful cuisines. Intended as a space for shopping, browsing, eating and, most importantly, meeting the makers, this creative hotspot is home to well-established brands, such as Sweet Lionheart and Pitso’s Kitchen, as well as up-and-coming gems, such as SideWing and Coffee By Moses.
Opening times Friday, 10am – 5pm
Saturday – Sunday, 8am – 5pm
Contact 021 408 7600, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it The Cruise Terminal, V&A Waterfront
Witnessing a city as topographically beautiful as Cape Town from way up high will give you a new appreciation for our mountain- and beach-strewn peninsula. NAC Helicopters offers tours of the Atlantic Seaboard, Cape Point and Robben Island, all of which depart from the V&A Waterfront.
Cost From R1 475 (sharing flights)
From R4 430 (private flights, 1 – 3 passengers)
From R17 700 (destination flights, 1 – 3 passengers)
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 8am – 6pm (depending on the flight)
Sharing flights: 10am; 4pm
Where to find it E Pier Road, V&A Waterfront
Drop the kids at Playdate Superpark
This indoor playground at The Watershed offers a world of adventure for children, with a 3D maze, obstacle course, zipline and more. There’s also a café serving coffee and food for kids (and parents) to refuel.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Cost R95 (children 2 – 12 years, first hour)
R75 (children 2 – 12 years, second hour)
R35 (children 1 – 2 years, first hour)
Free (children 0 – 1 years, first hour)
Contact 061 091 8244, email@example.com
Where to find it Jubilee Hall, Watershed, 17 Dock Road, V&A Waterfront
Cruise around the harbour
Watch the Waterfront’s denizens going about their business on this quick harbourside cruise: seals soaking up the sun; seagulls swooping overhead; and tourists and locals shopping, eating and playing. The well-informed guides will share their knowledge of the Mother City as you bob around the harbour.
Cost R115 per person
Duration Around 30 minutes
Where to find it Shop 7, Quay 5, V&A Waterfront
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