Cape Town  - V & A Waterfront

V and A Waterfront
Cape Town - South Africa

Waterfront and harbour from Signal Hill

Waterfront and harbour taken from Signal Hill

Today was a beautiful day, there was no wind, it was warm, about 25 degrees celsius. A day to die for in Cape Town. At this time of the year we do not often get days like this so I took the opportunity to visit Signal Hill and then the Waterfront.

Signal Hill lies to the north of Table Mountain and has some fantastic views over Table Bay, Cape Town and the Waterfront. The entrance to Signal Hill is lined with proteas at the moment, a really beautiful sight.

Once on Signal Hill the view out over the bay was absolutely beautiful, with Robben island in the middle of the bay which was a lovely turquoise blue colour today.

Scattered around the bay were thirteen ships waiting to enter the harbour. Most of them most probably diverted around the Cape because of the Iraqi war. While I was watching them one of them started up its engines and sent a huge pall of smoke into the air. The smoke hung above the ship like a balloon, not moving or even dispersing.

It was so quiet up on the hill that you could hear the sounds of the city below.

After watching the activities in the harbour and the antics of the the two ugly sisters ( two large tugs in the harbour) I decided to go down to the harbour to get a closer view of the ships entering the harbour. When I got there the container ship that had put up the pall of smoke was just entering the harbour accompanied by the ugly sisters.

It is fascinating to watch how they operate. One attaches a line to the bow of the ship and the other does the same at the stern. The tug at the stern reverses into the harbour while the one at the bow goes in forwards. Its amazing how maneuvarable the tugs are.

Business was brisk and the many ferry boats in the harbour were doing a roaring trade taking people on water tours of the harbour and out into the bay. At the south end of the V and A Waterfront complex there is an old clock tower that has been there for many years. It has recently been refurbished and now has pride of place at the new Nelson Mandela gateway to Robben Island.

When I arrived it was swarming with police and security officials all armed to the hilt, so being inquisitive I asked what was going on. There was apparently a contingent of foreign cabinet ministers that were being taken out to Robben Island. As I sat and watched about a 100 dignatories climbed onto the ferry accompanied by police and escorted by a police coastal patrol boat all the way to the island.

Between the clock tower and the main waterfront area is a canal used by shipping. A moveable pedestrian bridge which works like the boom of cranes used for construction of large buildings has been built over the canal to allow access to both sides of the waterfront and the shopping malls.

The bridge was moved aside on a number of occasions to allow shipping to use the canal while I sat and watched.

There were plenty of tourists about, some lying down on the benches enjoying the sun and others enjoying meals and drinks at some of the many restaurants and pubs that are found in the harbour.

There were many buskers about as well. One guy was doing a fire dance and maneuvering himself under a bar that was on fire. Another guy was playing his guitar while sitting on his portable battery operated amplifier. He was not very good but he was playing some nice tunes which added to the atmosphere.

There is plenty to do in the Waterfront, with some very large shopping malls to spend your money in. If you are not into shopping a visit to the aquarium is well worth the effort. There are a number of movie theatres and in the waterfront for those who feel like taking in a movie.

For those who want to wake up with the sound of the sea in their ears there are a number of hotels in the Waterfront complex. These hotels are built where there once was sea as the whole of the Victoria and Alfred basin is built on land reclaimed from the sea.

For those who are not aware of the fact, the sea in the days of van Riebeeck (1650's) used to lap at the edges of the Castle of the Cape of Good Hope where Strand Street is today. This is about two kilometres inland from where the sea is today.

For those who love beauty, Cape Town is the place to visit.

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Cape Town - V & A Waterfront
Page updated 17.6.2015

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