WRITTEN BY HELEN PALMER
As one of South Africa's most popular and well-known cities, Cape Town is blessed with many attractions for the millions of visitors that grace the “Mother City” each year. One of the most popular is the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.
Today's Waterfront has grown out of the original working docks, where ships would enter Table Bay to shelter from the winter storms that raged around the “Cape”, before carrying the gold and diamonds mined in the country to the wider world.
Beautiful Victorian buildings sprang up to facilitate the loading and unloading of boats, process the fresh fish being landed and receive provisions from overseas, but by the middle of the 20th century, the docks had become rundown and neglected.
Renovations began in the late 1980s to develop the Waterfront into the glittering fusion of historic and modern, sophistication and fun that it has become today.
The fishing boats still land their catch round in Duncan Docks, but the Victoria Basin itself is home to a plethora of restaurants, bars, craft markets, shops large and small catering for visitors and locals alike.
The crowning glories to this Mecca are the number of luxury hotels and apartments tastefully developed around the Waterfront to take advantage of the captivating views of Table Mountain, the Waterfront itself and the vista across this famous bay.
Perfectly situated to enable guests to immerse themselves in the atmosphere, to wander along the pathways window shopping or watching the street entertainments, staying in the Waterfront offers the best of both worlds – the latest hi-tech, hi-energy vibe of the city coupled with the peace and relaxation of a resort destination.
The most glorious of these hotels is the One & Only Cape Town where an unprecedented level of luxury provides an unforgettable venue for hi-end business meetings and events such as weddings, gala dinners, charity balls or creative themed evenings.
The subtle blending of a working dock, with boats and yachts of all sizes zipping in and around; sea lions dozing in the sun on the huge tyres at the end of the piers; the chatter of people relaxing under stripy umbrellas sipping their chilled South African white wine whilst the sun blazes in a brilliant blue sky all combine to ensure your vacation memories remain as bright and enchanting as the Waterfront itself.
From theatres to museums, wildlife to wine, the Waterfront offers it all, packaged beautifully to ensure you enjoy every minute of your time in this lovely part of the Western Cape.
Helen Palmer writes for ComeToCapeTown.com which specialises in helping organise visits to and around the South African city of Cape Town.