Table Bay Harbor, Cape Town
Table Bay Harbor is South Africa's fourth busiest port (after Richard's Bay, Saldanha and Durban) and includes a very big commercial harbor and two yachts clubs. Fishermen land their catches in the Victoria and Alfred Basins, while deep sea trawlers and cruise ships use the Duncan and Ben Schoeman Docks.Cruise-ships frequently dock here; including the QE2 which visits twice a year. The Cape Town cruise business is burgeoning and cruise-ship facilities may soon be upgraded.The Royal Cape Yacht Club is based in the harbor, which because of the excellent wind conditions here is the starting-point of the Cape to Rio race. Ashore is the Victoria and Albert Waterfront packed with bars, restaurants, interesting museums and one of the world's best aquariums.
Victoria & Albert Waterfront
The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is an entertainment quarter with something of the atmosphere of Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco and London's Soho. It extends round two inner harbor basins, constructed in 1860, and named after Queen Victoria and her second son Alfred (later Duke of Edinburgh). Only a few years ago this was a rather squalid and rundown fishing harbor: it is now one of Cape Town's leading attractions, lively and bustling all day and much of the night. It now draws more than 13 million visitors per year, attracted by its numerous shops, jazz spots, restaurants and hotels, its two theaters (including the Dock Road Theatre, housed in a former power station), a drama school, cinemas and museums.Wherever possible old buildings have been preserved and restored: a three-story warehouse has become a luxury hotel, a pumping-station and a former prison is now the Business School of Cape Town University. New construction is kept in the style of the surrounding buildings.
Two Oceans Aquarium
In November 1995 the Two Oceans Aquarium, which experts believe to be one of the best in the world, opened. It straight away became one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. In over thirty pools 300 species of fish from the Indian and Atlantic Oceans can be found, in particular from the area around the Cape of Good Hope. The two-million liter/520,000 gal Open Ocean Tank is one of the main attractions, in which can be seen shark, yellowtails, rays from the open sea. In the Living Kelp Forest the animals of the coast are featured. Children can get close to starfish and the comical seals by diving to watch them. A beach with penguins simulates the ebb and flow of the tide at the Cape.
South African Maritime Museum
The South African Maritime Museum, on the Alfred Basin, has sections devoted to the history of the port and plans for future development, the fishing industry, shipping lines and shipwrecks. The collection includes many ship models.Also part of the museum are a number of old ships, moored in various parts of the harbor, which are open to visitors. In front of the comfortable Victoria and Alfred Hotel is the "Alwyn Vincent", a steam tug launched in Venice in 1859. The SAS "Somerset" is the only surviving submarine guardship in the world.
Harbour Tours (Penny Ferry)
The road from the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront to the city center, 1km/.6mi southeast, is not an attractive route for pedestrians, but there is a shuttle bus service, departing from the Victoria and Alfred Hotel. This area between the harbor and Strand Street, now traversed by freeways, is known as the Foreshore. It was created between 1937 and 1945 on land reclaimed from the sea, using sand dredged from the sea-bottom during the construction of the Duncan Dock. The site was built up in the late fifties. One of the oldest buildings is the 26-story Sanlam Building, which at the time of its construction was the tallest building in Africa. It now no longer stands out among the many other high-rise buildings housing oil companies, municipal offices, Safmarine (the largest South African shipping line).
Van Riebeeck Statues
Heerengracht, which runs towards the town center, leads to two bronze statues (by John Week and Dirk Wolbers) of Jan van Riebeeck and his wife Maria. They stand near the spot where van Riebeeck is believed to have landed on April 7th 1652.
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