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Undoubtedly when you imagine what a trip to South Africa looks like stunning Cape Town probably makes up part of a majority of your mental image. It is easy to see why, the stunning formations of earth and the majestic oceans and bays create memorable scenes.
There are many man made creations in Cape Town which make it superb too. The city itself is cosmopolitan and expansive. The center of cultural charm however is the harbor area known as Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. While we spent much of our time exploring the nature and small towns outside of Cape Town, this was the one city attraction we just had to see and it was well worth it, especially at sunset into early evening.
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is the perfect place to shop, dine, be entertained and simply stroll and watch. Table Mountain makes up part of the backdrop in the distance and many of the warehouses and harbor buildings are integrated right into the modern shops and restaurants. There is ample parking just 2-5 minutes away with garages and more affordable open lots. In the evening some of the lots are unattended and so are complimentary. The brick paved streets, bridges, and beautiful architecture gives the place a coastal, small town feel.
There are several groupings of shops as well as freestanding ones: Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre, (main conglomeration of big and international brands) The Alfred Mall and Clock Tower Shopping Centre (art, jewellery and specialty) Don’t forget Watershed, an area featuring African crafts and designs.
The area has over 80 restaurants. Many are cozy places with fresh fish, fireplaces, beautiful indoor and outdoor settings. You can get your own ingredients too at the V&A Food Market. Not far outside the waterfront is The Test Kitchen, ranked among the top 30 restaurants in the world.
There is an outdoor Amphitheatre which hosts a range of shows for all ages during the year. The Wharf Shopping center has movie theaters, Fans of Rugby can be entertained at the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum, There is a Maritime and a Battery Museums for those into naval or historic snapshots, The Cape Wheel is a centerpiece attraction offering great views.
Overall, we found the area to be pedestrian exclusive, delightfully touristy but not overly so, full of many sights, smells and sounds which portray the local culture while being inviting and intriguing all at once. This should be on the top of your Cape Town experience list.