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Report 2042: Early Summer in the Western Cape, South Africa

By Panda from UK, Summer 2012

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Page 3 of 12: V & A Waterfront

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Table Mountain obscured by cloud (again)

The ‘tablecloth’ of frilly little clouds surrounded the edge of Table Mountain again, meaning there was obscured visibility from the top, so we set off for the V & A Waterfront.

I had assumed that V & A meant (as in the London museum ) Victoria and Albert, but the A stands for Alfred – the Queen’s third son Prince Alfred, who had laid the first stone of the ‘new’ port area in 1860 . This industrial area was given new life in the 1990s when it was developed into a marina, with hotels and a large shopping mall. We made the wrong decision to walk (it didn’t look far on the map) spending far too long trying to cross at busy junctions and entering the V & A through a building site. It is hyped up as one of the best sights of Cape Town, but it seemed a busy tourist hub with overpriced souvenir shops, with an average shopping mall attached. Embarkation for the Robben Island boat trip takes place from a dedicated pier and we saw a long queue waiting to board. Several good hotels are based here, together with some waterfront restaurants, but it isn’t a location I would recommend. After a stroll around the downtown area, we retreated gratefully to the peace of the hotel swimming terrace.

In the afternoon I spent time checking out the latest local news about industrial unrest in the Cape Winelands area, where we were due to go after the weekend. It had all turned rather nasty, with a fatal shooting and road blocks, with the disturbances spreading in an arc around where we were due to travel after the weekend . I started to sketch out some Plan B itineraries in case the situation did not improve in terms of safety or viability.

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