18 Things to Do at the Cape Town Waterfront in 2024

Cape Town Waterfront

The V&A Waterfront, also known as the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, sits on the oldest harbor in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s an iconic Cape Town landmark and a must-see that’s less than a half-hour drive from Green Point.

This mixed-use destination spans 123 hectares with Table Mountain as its backdrop and 22 heritage sites across it. So, it’s no surprise that there is a mixed bag of fun and exciting things to do at the Cape Town Waterfront.

And, who better to steer you in the right direction than us — local Capetonians! If you want to open this treasure trove of fun, find the best Cape Town tours, or catch a bite to eat, read on to find our best picks.

Top Things to Do at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town

Anyone visiting Cape Town should know that a lot of the excitement happens at the VnA. These are the top indoor activities to make the most of during your visit.

Go Shopping at Victoria Wharf

What is a stop at a shopping mall without a little retail therapy? The VnA is home to 450 retail outlets. That’s a whole lot of shopping to be done!

Find your typical favorites like H&M, Louis Vuitton, and Woolworths, but use the opportunity for some boutique shopping and beloved local brands, too. Find outdoor gear at Cape Union Mart (possibly the biggest one in CPT), cosmetic products at Skoon, and kids’ clothing at Naartjie.

With so many options, shoppers could easily spend a whole day exploring the Victoria Wharf shopping center and finding unique items to bring home.

Victoria Wharf

Two Oceans Aquarium

Found where the Indian and Atlantic ocean meets (hence the name), the Two Oceans Aquarium is a great way to spend a few hours with the family. The aquarium holds hundreds of species of fish, eels, jellyfish, and sharks — we could spend the whole day here.

It is open daily from 9.30 am to 6 pm, during which you can delight in a few activities. Some of the most exciting are a 90-minute up-close penguin experience for R840 ($50), shark diving for R1120 ($61), and a Behind-the-Scenes Tour for R700 ($40).

If you get there at the right times of the day, you can even catch the sting-ray or penguin feedings.

Tip: You can get discounted tickets if you buy them after 3 pm from the on-site ticketing counter. Tickets are usually R235 ($12.80), but with the price cut, they’re R175 ($9.50) for adults.

Two Oceans Aquarium

Admire Art at the Zeitz (MOCAA)

Built in the old Grain Silo, the Museum of Modern Contemporary Art Africa (MOCCA) is a beautiful exhibition both inside and out. Exhibitions are swapped out quite often, but you can take a free audio tour to explain the exhibitions and architecture.

Tip: You earn free entry on your birthday month or Wednesdays (between 10 am to 1 pm) if you’re an African citizen. Simply show your South African ID or passport to claim it.

 Zeitz (MOCAA)

Shop for Souvenirs at the Watershed Market

The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town is the best place to pick up a few keepsakes since it’s the space most visitors tend to gather. The Watershed Market has over 150 stalls selling unique artworks, clothes, jewelry, and trinkets from local artists and producers.

A few uniquely South African favorites include ceremonial Zulu spoons, Rooibos tea, decorated ostrich eggs, and beaded jewelry.

Watershed Market

Pick up Some Gems at the Scratch Patch

Just across the road from the Watershed Market, you’ll find Scratch Patch — a treasure trove of gems, minerals, and fossils. Here, you can “mine” in a cave for your own selection of stones to take home with you for as little as R30 ($1.60).

We often combine this visit with a game of 18-hole mini-golf at the on-site Cave Golf, which is inside (you guessed it) a cave.

Note: Both places are open between 9 am to 5 pm.

Scratch Patch

Outdoor Things to Do at the Cape Town Waterfront

Take advantage of the spectacular Cape Town weather with these outdoor activities at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.

Go Seal Watching from a Boat

These web-footed mammals sunbathe all over the waterfront and are a crowd favorite. We recommend you take a boat ride on the wharf to combine two fun activities in one!

V&A Waterfront boat cruise prices range from R90 ($4.80) to R500 ($27), depending on how fancy you want your trip to be. But if you’re hoping to just see some seals, take this seal and harbor tour for R93 ($5).

Take to the Skies on a Helicopter Tour

While you could head to the top of Table Mountain for unforgettable views, why not take it one step further? Departing from the V&A Waterfront, you can absorb views of Cape Town from a whole new perspective.

These tours generally last between 12 minutes and half an hour, with prices ranging drastically. That said, this scenic helicopter tour offers one of the best prices on the market, at R2,388 ($125).

From Clifton and Camps Bay to Lions Head and Table Bay, you’ll be able to see all the iconic Cape Town attractions from above.

Tip: Keep an eye on the weather forecast and book your flight for a day with minimal cloud cover.

helicopter flight over cape town

Get a Panoramic View on the Cape Wheel

The Cape Wheel is a longtime staple of the V&A. The Ferris wheel holds about 30 cabins and allows you 360° views of the city. These sweeping views include peeks of famous Cape Town landmarks like Table Mountain, Robben Island, Signal Hill, and Cape Town Stadium.

There is an option for ‘Sky Dining’ where you can pack a picnic basket and sit at a table inside the cabin for a unique experience in the sky.

Tip: Grab your Cape Wheel ticket online to avoid the queues.

Cape Wheel

Take a Boat Ride to Robben Island

Robben Island is probably one of the most important Cape Town sightseeing places in terms of South African history. It is steeped in 500 years of history, with many prominent figures, like Nelson Mandela, having served here.

So, a boat ride to the island from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the Waterfront is a must. A 3.5-hour museum tour on Robben Island is R400 ($22) for South African citizens and R600 ($32.50) for tourists. This includes the ferry ride to and from the island.

cape town waterfront robben island

Take a Free Audio Tour

Want to know even more about this historical landmark and its story? May we suggest you plan some time to take the free Voicemap tour of the Tavern of the Seas?

The Cape Town V&A Waterfront is over 150 years old. So, you can bet that you’ll hear many fisherman’s tales, how it came to be, and its long history since conception. This tour is also a great way to learn the area’s layout as a first-time visitor.

cape town waterfront dock

Enjoy Local Talent

The V&A Amphitheatre, just outside the shopping mall, is where you’ll find us on a sunny day. This area often has free live performances on show at all times of the day.

There are also a few buskers spread around the area that will often play their instruments to a crowd, too. But, one of the biggest attractions is the group of dancers and singers, often singing and dancing to traditional African music. You can find them just a few meters away from the Clock Tower and the harbor.

cape town waterfront musician

Get Active at Battery Park

Battery Park is an ideal place for outdoor lovers and active tourists. Here, you can enjoy activities like skateboarding, rollerblading, and kayaking.

A crowd favorite (and one we suggest to all of our visitors) is stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) on the canals. All equipment is included in your fee of R250 ($14). All you need to bring is your swimwear and an eagerness for fun.

cape town waterfront SUP

Join a Kayaking Tour and Admire the Sealife

Have an exhilarating start to your day when you kayak along the Cape Towns Atlantic coast with dolphins, seals, whales, and other marine life. Starting at the calm waters along the V&A Waterfront, these tours generally last two hours.

Few things can match admiring the eclectic views of Lions Head and Table Mountain as you watch dolphins glide through the water beside you. The best kayaking tour you can book is with Atlantic Outlook, as they include all equipment, a safety talk, and your guide at around R600 ($31.50) per person.

waterfront views on a kayak tour

Soak Up the Views on a Sunset Tour

Why not end your day in style with a sunset cruise offering glorious vistas of the Mother City? Most of these cruises depart from the waterfront and include a celebratory glass of champagne.

Watching a tapestry of color light up Cape Town from the coast with a glass of bubbly in hand is a surefire way to make a memory. This is especially true when you experience it with all the new friends you made while at Cape Coliving.

There are quite a few options available, but we found this sunset cruise to offer the best value for money, with tickets starting at around R560 ($29) per person.

Tip: If two glasses of champagne aren’t enough, you can always purchase more at the on-deck bar.

views of cape town on a sunset cruise

Restaurants in V&A Waterfront

Are you looking for refreshments throughout the day? These are the best places to eat and drink on the Waterfront.

Wine and Dine at the Time Out Market

The Time Out Market is a fantastic place to enjoy the best of both worlds, delicious food, and quality entertainment. With 17 bespoke restaurants and bars to pick from, you’ll find a spot that’s sure to fulfill any craving.

After you’ve filled that grumbling stomach, you can enjoy one of the many live events that take place throughout the week. From a groovy jazz night to a laughter-filled comedy evening, you’ll be able to enjoy the splendors of Time Out Market after dark.

Have High Tea at One&Only

One&Only Cape Town is a well-known luxury 5-star hotel a short walk from the Two Oceans Aquarium. We love that you don’t need to stay at the highly-sought hotel to enjoy an opulent experience fit for Queen Victoria herself.

The high tea takes place in the Vista Bar and Lounge overlooking the city, the Waterfront canals, and Table Mountain. You’ll be served signature teas, coffees, elegant pastries, and sweet treats. But if you book the Cap Classique high tea, you can expect savory treats and unlimited bubbly.

cape town waterfront high tea

Have a Unique Cocktail at Cause & Effect

You can find Cause & Effect on Dock Road, just a short distance from the V&A Waterfront Amphitheater. It is a cozy spot that serves showstopping cocktails, totally worth a spot on your Instagram feed, in our opinion.

We advise visitors to book the 3-course cocktail tasting for a wonderful food and pairing that will dazzle your palate and eyes.

Note: Bookings are essential for the cocktail tastings. The maximum is six guests per party.

cape town waterfront cause and effect

Eat Fresh Seafood

You can’t go wrong with Den Anker, Quay Four Restaurant, and Life Grand Cafe Waterfront. These are the best restaurants at V&A Waterfront for some of the best seafood at the seaside.

Each restaurant is unique in its own offerings but always has top service to match its top-tier dishes. They also have a stylish deck or patio that overlooks the harbor and boats to relax nearby as you eat.

cape town waterfront den anker restaurant

FAQs About the V&A Waterfront

Time for us to answer all the most common questions about the V&A Waterfront.

How Far Away Is the V&A Waterfront From Cape Coliving?

Due to Cape Coliving’s perfect placement in Green Point, the V&A Waterfront is just under a mile (1.5 km) away. That makes it a quick five-minute drive or a 20-minute walk from the coliving space to the Waterfront.

How Many Shops Are There in the V&A Waterfront?

Across the 123-hectare neighborhood, you’ll find over 450 shops and 101 businesses specializing in entertainment and fun activities.

Is It Safe to Walk Around the V&A Waterfront?

Yes, it is fairly safe to walk around the Waterfront. Fortunately, the V&A Waterfront is a super touristy area of Cape Town, so it’s a part of the city that takes security to a whole new level. There’s an extensive camera system and private security detail in the neighborhood to ensure your safety. 

Is the V&A Waterfront Safe at Night?

While the V&A Waterfront itself is fairly safe to walk around at night due to its security, it’s the areas in and around the neighborhood you should be wary of. That said, walking in a group is safer, which will most likely be the case when you stay at Cape Coliving.

Is Uber Safe in Cape Town?

Uber is probably one of the safest and most efficient ways to get around the city. It’s also fairly affordable in Cape Town. So, an Uber is a great alternative if you don’t want to risk walking through Cape Town to and from the Waterfront.

What Are You Planning To Do on Your Trip to the Cape Town Waterfront?

We’d be willing to proudly state that the Cape Town Waterfront is the beating heart of the Mother City. There’s something here for those who prefer the outdoors, the shoppers, the families, and the honeymooning couples. It’s why even the locals visit again and again.

So, what waterfront attractions are you visiting first?

Next Read: Best Things to Do in Green Point

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