V&A Waterfront, Cape Town’s swanky village

The term ‘must-see place’ is, to many, overused. Few, however, will disagree that it is applicable to Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront. The reason is simple: this is one of the city’s few locations, if not the only one, where you will have so many options at your disposal rather than having to travel around to find various activities.

Situated at the shores of this breathtaking city, the V&A Waterfront is one of the most tourist-probing places in Cape Town and boasts state-of-the-art facilities that include shops, restaurants and a gorgeous harbour. With the 19th edition of the FIFA World Cup™ approaching, the Final Draw on 4 December, which will determine the eight groups for South Africa 2010, has presented Cape Town with an ideal opportunity to showcase its beauty.

When in Cape Town, one is spoilt with choice on places to visit and this is hardly surprising for a city insulated in beauty and calmness. While the majestic and internationally-renowned Table Mountain, which provides a great view of the city, and the acclaimed Robben Island are among the most well-known destinations, the V&A Waterfront is certainly catching up as it is being transformed into a mega football village for next year’s world finals.

There are several hotel, shops, restaurants and cinemas. The shops are divided between several locations and include specific areas set aside for crafts, art and small-business development. They are generally open until 9pm daily. There are also plenty of leisure activities available at the Waterfront, such as air and sea charters. Pen spaces throughout the precinct are to be used as hospitality and match-viewing areas, while the main shopping arena is expected to buzz with activities.

The Tow Oceans Aquarium on the V&A Waterfront is ideally positioned to showcase the incredible diversity of marine life found in these two oceans. The Aquarium is one of the top tourist attractions in Cape Town and over 3,000 living sea animals - including sharks, fish, turtles and penguins - can be seen in this spectacular underwater nature reserve.

The Maritime Museum is one of the popular places here as it focuses on the history of shipping from prehistoric times to the present day. Boat trips around the harbour and along the coast are always some of the main attractions. At the heart of the Waterfront is the V&A Waterfront Marina, a residential development of prestigious apartments and penthouses, the quintessence of the Waterfront lifestyle.

Some of the places to visit there include the Robben Island Embarkation Building, which was used to temporarily keep prisoners who were en route to the then notorious Robben Island. Other places include the Clock Tower and Heritage route.