The V&A Waterfront (Victoria and Alfred Waterfront) has a rich history of more than five centuries and is one of the most visited locations in Cape Town. It overlooks the Robben Islands to the west where the Nobel Laureate and former South African President Nelson Mandela spent more than 18 years of his imprisoned life as a political prisoner for his anti-apartheid revolution. Named after Prince Alfred, son of Queen Victoria who laid the foundation stone of first harbor in Cape Town, the harbor is a historic blend of the erstwhile Dutch, African and British culture evolved over centuries.
Exploring the V&A Waterfront
There is rhythm in the air as you enter the Waterfront area. The restaurants and cafe’s filled up with travelers and the vibrant music played by the bands, a local group playing the folk tunes on the xylophones and drums, the sea-gulls flying into the harbor from everywhere and the giant Cape Wheel at the heart of the harbor.
The Victoria Wharf Mall in front glitters its light in the evenings, as it reflects over the sea waters. Take a slight detour and walk to the other side of the Victoria Wharf Mall, and you will find yourself over a jogging track along the Breakwater Boulevard. Just grab the bench and enjoy the splash of the waves as they break the silence through the air.
On the Harbor Cruise
Get aboard on a spectacular journey to experience the area around the V&A Waterfront with the harbor cruise that starts from the jetty in front. The harbor cruise takes you on a short glimpse of the V&A Waterfront and everything around it. You get a picturesque view of the Table Top Mountains at the backdrop with the waterfront views in front. The iconic Gothic styled clock tower, built in 1882 was the Port Captain’s office and is the focal point of attraction on the harbor.
You can enjoy almost any kind of cruises here; sailboat cruises to yachts. There are regular ferries to take you for water sport activities such as shark dive adventures, kite surfing, wind surfing,
As you move further ahead on the cruise, you can witness amid the mist, the glimpses of the Robben Islands. The prison which speaks aloud the story of the legends that turned the tide for the people of Africa.
Interestingly, as I was flying back from South Africa, on the Ethiopian Airlines Flight, I saw a movie Loving, a true story about the marriage of an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving. Their only crime was that they entered an interracial marriage agreement, which was considered a crime in the year 1970s. Although, the plot is based in a completely different continent, but it gives a clear picture of the racial discrimination against the black people around the world, and one can clearly relate to them. The couple is put through terrible hardships, imprisonment, mental agony, yet, they continue to stay together despite all legal idiosyncrasies, until the United States Supreme Court views the case with a different set of spectacles.
Escape to the Two Oceans Aquarium
The Two Oceans Aquarium reminded me of my trip to Sentosa Islands, Singapore. Although, it is not as much bigger than the latter, it is worth the visit and is an ideal escape for adults and kids alike. The aquarium is home to some interesting marine species such as the ragged-tooth sharks, sting rays, guitar fish, and a giant-sized loggerhead turtle. The I&J Ocean Exhibit, inaugurated in May 2016, is a major extension of the Aquarium, holding more than 1.6 Million liters of sea-water.
The aquarium not only organizes educational programs for all ages, but also plays a pivotal role in marine life and environment conservation through volunteering, conservation work, sustainable practices and green footprint initiatives.