Twilight view of the famous Victoria Wharf in Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront – Photo Courtesy of vandeje – Stock

From Peaks to Piers: Discovering the Pulse of Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront and experiencing an immersion into the rich history and vibrant culture of Cape Town and the coastal hamlets along South Africa’s majestic shoreline. Explore scenic views and historic sites, from the stunning backdrop of Table Mountain to the tip of the Cape of Good Hope and a few penguins along the way.

Upon arrival in Cape Town, we planned to stay in the heart of the V&A Waterfront for the next two days and explore the best places and most popular attractions around this extraordinary city. Cape Town is often called the Mother City because it was the site of the first European settlement in South Africa. This basin is the oldest working harbour in the Southern Hemisphere, with Table Mountain towering as a backdrop. The V&A Waterfront was named after Queen Victoria and Prince Alfred.

Arrival In Cape Town

The plane descended gracefully, revealing the sprawling beauty of Cape Town beneath us. As we touched down at Cape Town International Airport, we were filled with anticipation, eager for the new adventures awaiting us. As we stepped off the plane, we were greeted by the warm African sun and a gentle breeze, signaling the beginning of our journey. We had just spent two amazing and memorable weeks in Kenya on a Safari with Safari Herd Holidays. This wonderful tour company also facilitated making all of our arrangements for our Cape Town visit, coordinated with a knowledgeable local guide from East Cape Tours to give us the ultimate experience.

Collecting our luggage, we made our way to the busy arrival halls, where our friendly driver waited outside, ready to whisk us away to our first destination: the Victoria and Alfred Hotel, an expression of luxury nestled along the vibrant V&A Waterfront.

The drive to the hotel was a feast for the senses, with the iconic Table Mountain dominating the skyline and the busy harbor alive with activity. Upon arrival, we were greeted by the attentive Victoria and Albert Hotel staff and shown to our lovely spacious room. We were immediately in awe of the vast panoramic windows offering stunning views overlooking the vibrant harbor below and majestic Table Mountain beyond.

Table Mountain and the Harbour by the V&A Waterfront

After settling in, we wasted no time exploring the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront area. The promenade was alive with energy as locals and tourists alike meandered along the water’s edge, taking in the sights and sounds of this vibrant district.

Victoria and Alfred Hotel

The Victoria and Alfred Hotel – This stunning 68-room, 4-star hotel is in a perfect location in the heart of the V&A Waterfront. It recently underwent an extensive renovation of its reception and lobby area. In addition, the mountain, harbor, and piazza-view rooms have been exquisitely renovated. They retained their spacious layout and vast double-glazed picture windows, offering breathtaking views surrounding this majestic hotel.

Victoria and Alfred Hotel Entrance – Photo Courtesy of the V&A Hotel

The Harbour and Table Mountain View from our Room at the Victoria & Alfred Hotel

Victoria and Albert Hotel’s suite-like rooms have been beautifully appointed and completely refurbished in light neutral tones. They feature modern furnishings, top-of-the-line beds and bedding, and all the designer accessories you can expect from a high-end hotel establishment. The hotel’s lobby opens directly to the revamped Alfred Mall and is home to luxury boutique stores, including South African clothing brands, art galleries, high-end curio stores, and patisseries. The Victoria and Albert Hotel is part of the Newmark Hotel Group.

V&A Hotel Newly Remodeled Guest Room

The Victoria & Alfred Hotel’s Inviting Lobby

Exploring the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

“Victoria & Albert Waterfront” is a popular tourist destination located in Cape Town, South Africa

After checking in to one of Cape Town’s 4-star hotels that afternoon, our first stop was a long walk around the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, one of Cape Town’s biggest tourist attractions near the historic clock tower. The village was alive with energy and excitement as the pubs and eating establishments hosted enthusiastic revelers taking in the Rugby Championship game. It was clear the South African national rugby union team, the Springboks, were happily in the lead as the fans’ cheers of joy rang through the streets.

On our walking exploration, we came across The Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre, a sprawling waterfront village with an array of boutiques, galleries, craft markets, precious stones, specialty shops, and boat trips available for charter. From African crafts to designer labels, the shopping center offers something for everyone, and we happily whiled away the afternoon browsing the various eclectic offerings.

Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

Another fun thing to do is take an evening spin on the Cape Wheel – the Ferris Wheel on Breakwater Boulevard at the V&A Waterfront, where you will capture views of Granger Bay, Robben Island, Table Mountain, and a panorama of the city sights from high above.

The Cape Wheel (The Cape Town Ferris Wheel) at the V&A Waterfront

As evening approached, we went to the Victoria and Alfred Hotel’s Ginja Restaurant on the water’s edge to taste contemporary South African cuisine, focusing on local ingredients. Set against the backdrop of the thriving harbor, the restaurant presents a casual elegance in a relaxed setting. We each savored one of their delectable offerings from the menu; my favorite was the locally caught seafood platter, which we paired with a bottle of local wine from the Wine Lands region.

Ginja Restaurant Terrace at the Victoria & Alfred Hotel

Amidst the spectacular views of the waterfront, and if you happen to be there on a Sunday, take in their Sunday Brunch, which is very popular with the locals and offers an impressive spread of regional flavors, live music, and complimentary bubbles or wine. Their Friday evenings are pretty lively, along with the Burgers, Beers, and Bubbles specials and a live DJ.

Coastal Exploration and Gastronomic Delights

The morning dawned bright and clear, promising another day of adventure in the Mother City of Cape Town. After a leisurely breakfast on the Victoria and Alfred Hotel waterfront terrace on this pristine morning, we set off to explore the Atlantic Seaboard, a stretch of coastline renowned for its natural beauty and scenic vistas.

The Drive along the Coastline from Cape Town

Our first stop was Sea Point, a charming suburb known for its seaside promenade and lively atmosphere. We strolled along the palm-lined boulevard, taking in the panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the distant horizon, before continuing to Clifton, home to some of Cape Town’s most exclusive real estate. I came across a local artist selling his creations, and of course, I had to peruse the collection. I purchased a lovely abstract painting of an elephant to add to my elephant collection.


Nestled between towering cliffs and pristine beaches, the swanky coastal gem of Clifton exudes an air of sophistication and luxury and is a haven for international jet-setters. We spent the morning driving through this charming village and admiring the glistening soft sands and the waves rolling into shore. Clifton is a series of four beaches, each separated by a stretch of granite boulders.

The Shoreline by the Town of Clifton

While some beaches are relatively quiet, with few beachgoers roaming the expansive sandy shores, the Fourth Beach really swings for stealing the scene, adorned with savvy beachgoers in Prada Sunglasses and Armani bikinis.

Camps Bay, Chapmans Peak & Hout Bay

Camps Bay was a hive of activity, with its buzzing beachfront cafes and trendy boutiques drawing visitors from near and far. We stopped for a pre-lunch beverage at one of the beachfront taverns as we relaxed and watched the world go by. Camps Bay is an affluent suburb of Cape Town where you will find posh seafood restaurants, mellow cafés, and bars overlooking the trendy promenade.

Luxurious Homes in the Hills in Camps Bay

After Camps Bay, we continued our coastal journey, winding our way along the scenic coastal road towards Hout Bay, meaning “Wood Bay.” The drive offered breathtaking views of the rugged coastline and the shimmering waters of the Atlantic Ocean, with the majestic peaks of the Twelve Apostles towering overhead.

Aerial View Looking Down at Camps Bay

Our next destination was Chapman’s Peak, a renowned winding mountain pass carved into the cliffs high above the ocean. Weeks before we journeyed over the Chapman Peak Drive, this infamous toll road had been closed temporarily due to storms over the past few weeks. We lucked out, as it had just reopened the day before, and we were rewarded with a journey along one of the world’s most scenic drives.

The Scenic Chapmans Peak Drive

This iconic road hugs the coastline, offering panoramic views at every turn, and we couldn’t resist pulling over to snap photos of the awe-inspiring scenery. This drive is on the Atlantic Coast between Hout Bay and Noordhoek in the Cape Peninsula. Chapman’s Peak Drive is known as “Chappies” and is a must for anyone passionate about the majestic scenery surrounding Cape Town.

Photo Op Along Our Chapman Peak Drive – “Chappies”

As we descended into Hout Bay, we were greeted by the sight of colorful fishing boats bobbing in the harbor, their nets laden with the day’s catch. We spent some time exploring the harbor area, admiring the colorful freshly caught seafood showcased along the roadside local market stalls, before continuing our journey to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve.

Hout Bay is just twenty kilometers south of Cape Town’s business district, and many commute from this magical seaside suburb to the thriving city.

Hout Bay Harbour

Cape of Good Hope

Our next stop was the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, a wilderness paradise home to diverse flora and fauna, including ostriches, baboons, and antelope. We prepared for our short hike along the rugged coastline, following winding trails to secluded coves and breathtaking ocean views.

Aerial View of the Cape of Good Hope

Our journey culminated at the Cape of Good Hope Lighthouse, a historic landmark and a most visited destination in South Africa. This rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula is touted to be the southwesternmost point of the African continent. We stood atop the rocky promontory, gazing out at the endless expanse of ocean stretching to the horizon, feeling humbled by nature’s raw power and beauty.

Cape Of Good Hope sign, South Africa

The common misconception about the Cape of Good Hope being the southernmost tip of Africa is based on the misbelief that the Cape was the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In fact, the southernmost tip of Africa is actually Cape Agulhas, which is 150km (90 Miles) to the east-southeast.

The Lighthouse at the Cape of Good Hope

After driving through the preserve and taking in the sights, we took the funicular (Cable Car) up to the historic lighthouse at Cape Point. There, we marveled at the panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, the rugged terrain of the cliffs, and the splashing waves deep below before descending back to sea level, where our knowledgeable guide, Mervyn, was happily waiting for us.

Looking Down at the Crashing Waves from the Lighthouse at the Cape of Good Hope

Boulders Beach In Simon’s Town

Our next stop was Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town, one of the region’s most popular attractions, home to a colony of thousands of adorable African penguins welcoming you to their environment. We spent an hour or so observing these charming creatures as they waddled and frolicked on the sandy shores, with their antics bringing us smiles and laughter.

It is a sheltered beach of quiet inlets, making it the perfect home for these tuxedoed black and white aquatic, flightless birds. During our walk to and from Boulder’s Beach, we strolled through the quaint storybook neighborhoods along the narrow frontage street, where several local vendors offered regional crafts.

Enjoying the Company of the 1000’s of Resident Penguins at Boulder Beach

Lunch in Kalk Bay at Harbour House

After all of the morning’s exploring, we had worked up quite an appetite. It was well past lunchtime, and we were anxious to sample fresh local delights from the sea. We then went to Kalk Bay for a seafood feast at the Harbor House Restaurant. We indulged in a delicious leisurely lunch at this popular seafood restaurant, where we were captivated by the charm of this quaint fishing village. It was a perfect place for an afternoon seafood feast with the backdrop of the magnificent sea.

Oysters with a Sea View at Harbour House Restaurant

We were seated at a picture-window table overlooking the sea, with coastline views for miles. Perched on the water’s edge, Harbour House offers panoramic views of the harbour, the sea, and the surrounding mountains, providing the perfect backdrop for a memorable meal. We dined on fresh oysters, grilled fish, and succulent prawns accompanied by chilled glasses of South African wine, savoring each mouthful as we delighted in the fresh ocean breezes. Harbour House also has a sister restaurant at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.

Fresh Grilled Prawns at Harbour House Restaurant

Winetasting at Beau Constantia

After lunch, we embarked on the journey back to Cape Town, stopping at Beau Constantia, a boutique winery nestled in the lush Constantia Valley. It was a perfect time to stop, and our guide, Mervyn, said it offered their renowned “Loo with a View!” The estate was a picture of tranquility, with rolling vineyards stretching to the horizon and majestic mountains towering in the distance.

Wine Tasting at Beau Constantia

We were welcomed upon arrival and escorted to the deck adjacent to the tasting room under the afternoon sun, which offered brilliant views of the valley and this wine-growing region. We were treated to a selection of the estate’s finest wines. We started with a glass of their sparkling wine, Pas De Nom MCC, and then their Pas De Nom White and the Stella – a red blend of Syrah and Viognier. Each wine was a testament to the wines of this region, expertly crafted to showcase the unique flavors and characteristics of the vineyard. And, of course, in our tradition, we bought a few bottles to take with us, which we shared later that evening.


One of the Many Wines we Tasted at Beau Constantia outside of Cape Town

As we sipped and savored, our knowledgeable host regaled us with tales of winemaking and the history of the estate, offering insights into the intricacies of each varietal. It was a truly immersive experience, and we left feeling enlightened and inspired by the beauty and complexity of South African wine.

There is also a notable restaurant at the Beau Constantia called Chefs Warehouse. We wished we had the time to partake in their culinary creations. Next time, it is a must!

This was our first wine-tasting experience of South African wines, and we found it a first blush on our journey of discovery of this renowned wine-growing region’s wines. We were excited to embark on our adventures the next day to Winelands to celebrate more of the rich tapestry of flavors and aromas that define South African wine.

Champagne Sunset Cruise

Once back at the Victoria and Alfred Hotel, we took a moment to relax and refresh before heading out to the waterfront to embark on a Champagne Sunset Cruise with Explore Cruises. The boat launch was conveniently located just outside along the pier by the hotel. While being briefed on the evening’s cruise, we sipped on delightful glasses of bubbles as we set sail from the harbour into the backdrop of the magnificent sea.

Under the setting sun, the boat glided gracefully through the tranquil waters of the seas along the shoreline of Cape Town. The panorama of the painted skies reflecting on the glistening rolling waves offered shades of pink, gold, and deep blue sparkles as we toasted to another day of adventure under this majestic South African Sunset.

Dining at Den Anker

Upon our return, we made our way just a short distance from the docks to Den Anker for dinner, drawn by its reputation for Belgian beers and seafood dishes. Nestled along the waterfront, the restaurant exuded a cozy charm, with flickering candlelight and the gentle lapping of waves outside providing the perfect ambiance for a romantic evening.

The Popular Den Anker Restaurant at the V&A Waterfront

We dined on platters of fresh seafood, from succulent mussels to tender calamari, complemented with frosty glasses of Belgian beer. Each dish was a myriad of flavors, expertly prepared and presented with flair, leaving us satiated and content as we lingered over dessert.

When we retired to our room at the Victoria and Alfred Hotel, we couldn’t help but reflect on the incredible experiences of the past two days. From the coastline’s natural beauty to the city’s culinary delights, Cape Town has captured our hearts in every way imaginable.

We gazed out of the expansive picture window of our beautifully appointed room at the Victoria and Albert Hotel and reflected on the moments of our two days there. We knew that this was a journey we would cherish forever, a testament to the enduring allure of the Mother City.

A Stunning Evening at Twilight at the Victoria & Alfred Hotel


Robben Island

Another must stop in Cape Town is Robben Island, established as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991- It is located in Table Bay. Robben Island has been used as a prison and a place where people were isolated, banished, and exiled for nearly 400 years. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because the buildings on the island are a reminder of its sad history and because the same buildings also show the power of the human spirit, freedom, and the victory of democracy over oppression.

Nelson Mandela was imprisoned at Robben Island for 18 years.

*About the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

The V & A Waterfront’s rich history is a central part of the very beginning of the settlement of the City of Cape Town. In 1858, severe storms wreaked havoc on Cape Town’s Coastline. Lloyds of London refused to ensure the ships wintering in Table Bay after more than 30 vessels were destroyed. Coming to the rescue, in 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 harbor to make it a safe haven year-round for passing ships. With the discovery of gold and diamonds in South Africa, they found the Alfred Basin needed to be more significant to accommodate the increasing number of ships, and the Victoria Basin was built, giving it two harbor basins.

In November 1988, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront Ltd. was established to redevelop the historic docklands as a mixed-use area focusing on retail, tourism, and residential development, with a working harbor as its center. In 1991 – 1992, the  Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre opened and was completed in 1996. It is a thriving commercial district popular with residents and tourists alike.

V&A Waterfront at Night

Victoria and Alfred Hotel

1990, the North Quay Warehouse by the historic harbour was converted into the Victoria and Alfred Hotel. This was the same year that Nelson Mandela was released from prison, and apartheid started to crumble. This movement sparked a wave of investment in  South Africa and a shipping boom. The Victoria and Alfred Hotel was the first hotel to open at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

The Stunning Victoria and Alfred Hotel in the Heart of the V&A Waterfront is a Magnificent Sight to Behold


The Nelson Mandela Gateway

Many thanks to our wonderful Tour Guide Company, Safari Herd Holidays coordinating the arrangements for our two days of touring with East Cape Tours around Cape Town.