Victoria and Albert Waterfront
05.04.2013 - 06.04.2013
The V & A Waterfront is a South African success story. The number one tourist attraction in the country was once an isolated and derelict wasteland, used only for fishing and small ship repairs. Until Alderman Sol Kreiner had a vision. In 1984, the Mayor started lobbying for the redevelopment of the historic docklands area as a mixed use site where the working Harbour would co-exist with tourist, retail and residential concerns. By 1990, his vision had become a reality when the timber wharves and jetties were refurbished in Phase 1 of the V & A Waterfront Project. This was a huge gamble at the time as the country was ruled by a minority government, was in a recession and was politically and economically isolated from the rest of the world.
The commercial success of the venture would depend on domestic support. This came in the form of Transnet Ltd and Transnet Pension Fund. Between 1990 and 2007 they invested 3 billion ZAR (South African Rand) into the site. The result is a sympathetic blend of old and new, an environment where tourists and residents like to hang out, whether to shop, eat, drink or take in the sights. The history and character of the waterfront has been carefully retained and you can see the foundations of Chavonnes Battery built by the Dutch in 1726, the holding point where prisoners were kept before their ferry transfer to Robben Island, and the Victorian warehouses. It is also accessible to Cape Town's other top attractions Table Mountain, which is visible from the Waterfront, and Robben Island.