Tag Archives: v&a waterfront

Sharks and Skates at The Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town (2018-11-17) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 05 SEP 2019

I was fifteen years old when the Two Oceans Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town first opened its doors to the public in November 1995. A world class aquarium showcasing the incredible diversity of marine life found in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans through awe-inspiring exhibits and interactive touch-points, with a vision and mission to encourage love and respect for our ocean, and in so doing, train up a generation of young people to understand the need for using marine and other natural resources in a much more sustainable manner.

It also just so happens to be a wonderfully entertaining activity for parents with young kids.

After all, there is quite a lot to see and take in! From the big I&J Ocean Exhibit, the eerily quiet Predator Exhibit, the serene Kelp Forest Exhibit (unfortunately closed for reforestation during this particular visit), the always cute (if a little smelly) Penguin Exhibit, the interesting Touch Pool & Microscope section, the educational Smart Living Challenge Zone (lots of interactive/digital games to play around with!), and the Diversity Gallery, there is more than enough to keep you busy for a decent amount of time!

Then there are the various feeding times (the penguins are always a treat, not to mention the diver entering the big tank with all the sharks and rays), and if you are feeling particularly brave and have a few extra bucks burning a hole in your pocket, you can head over for a diving experience that lets you scuba down into either the Predator, I&J Ocean or Kelp Forest exhibit!

Jellyfish, sharks, rays, crayfish, eels and sea horses, the girls were kept absolutely enthralled with everything they saw – even if they weren’t really all that sure about actually touching anything in the touch pools!

As always, a wonderful educational experience that I’m thrilled to have been able to share with my kids. Makes me wish all that much more that Cape Town still had a proper zoo to enjoy with them as well. Anyway, as expected, a lot of photos were taken on the day:

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A Gallery of Art and Concrete at the Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town (2019-01-09) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 10 AUG 2019

Simply put, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, more commonly known as the Zeitz MOCAA, is a magnificent addition to the V&A Waterfront and Cape Town offering. Chantelle and I had for a long time been eager to visit the art museum since their grand opening back in September 2017, and come early January this year, we finally got around to walking through their impressive doors.

The Zeitz MOCAA lives in the wonderfully re-imagined historic Grain Silo (built in 1921 and decommissioned in 2001), with its space artfully carved out of the 42 densely-packed concrete cylinders that made up the original silo structure. The end result is a magnificent endless array of concrete curves and walls rising and falling around you, with a look guaranteed to leave a striking impression on any visitor that enters through its doors.

With the Silo Hotel and its stunning glass windows sitting high above you, the museum is scattered across a number of levels, requiring the use of either the spacious lifts or ornate metal staircase to access everything on show. (It’s well worth it though, because the higher you go, the better the views get!)

Interestingly enough, the Zeitz MOCAA is actually a not-for-profit public museum, commissioned through a public/private partnership between the V&A Waterfront and German businessman (and ex-CEO of Puma) Jochen Zeitz, with Zeitz’s extensive African art collection being available to the museum for the duration of his lifetime. In addition to these pieces, the chief curator also sources work from across Africa, resulting in an ever-changing collection of vibrant colours and cultural ideas.

Truthfully though, modern art isn’t really our thing (both Chantelle and I prefer the technical skill of classical art to the focus on idea that comes with contemporary art), but nevertheless there is more than enough to see, discuss, and make you think, that one can easily keep wandering through the museum’s many rooms for countless hours if you so wish.

It’s an incredible addition to the city, and injects a huge amount of life, feet and business into what used to be a pretty underutilized district. For art lovers it is a must see, and even for those of us that aren’t, it is well, well worth the visit – even if just to experience the amazing building itself!

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Shopping at the Lindt Chocolate Studio in Cape Town (2019-01-09) Photo Gallery | Shopping 12 FEB 2019

Did you know that the Lindt chocolate classes hosted in Cape Town and Johannesburg were a first for Lindt worldwide? It is something that Chantelle has always been keen to do at some point in time, and now that we’ve actually stumbled upon the Lindt Chocolate Studio in the reinvigorated Silo District of the V&A Waterfront, I reckon that the ‘maybe’ has now moved much more firmly into the realm of ‘definitely’.

We were in fact wandering about that area thanks to our first ever visit to the gorgeous Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) gallery, and of course once we spied the gleaming gold logo of Lindt, Chantelle was reeled in and immediately bought a handful of exotic flavours for us to try and compare.

Secretly, this made me super happy.

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A Lion Cake at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town (2018-06-02) Events | Photo Gallery 01 FEB 2019

Last year the animal welfare organisation Four Paws teamed up with South African Wildlife Project’s Elda Thomas and big name baker Dot Klerck to ignite the launch for their latest SA lions canned hunting awareness campaign #RiseUpAndRoar. The result? A giant lion cake which popped up in the V&A Waterfront for a couple of days in June.

Naturally, as the baker behind the best cakes in the Helderberg, Chantelle had to make a trip to see this baked marvel.

As for the girls and myself, we just wanted an excuse to go and sight-see at the Waterfront! :)

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Admittedly, it was a pretty cool cake.

Related Link: Four Paws | V&A Waterfront | Cape Town

Scratch Patch Gemstone Delight in the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town (2018-05-05) Family Attractions | Photo Gallery 05 OCT 2018

Honestly, taking your kids to go semi-precious stone hunting at the Scratch Patch is pretty much a Cape Town institution now. The original Scratch Patch in Simon’s Town was started in 1970, but of course it was the opening of the V&A Waterfront branch back in the late 90’s that really saw the experience take off as a fun little distraction for parents with small kids.

Anyway back in May this year, the girls and I got to head out to Pinelands for a friend’s birthday party at the hugely fun be.UP Park in Pinelands, a huge indoor trampoline and clamber activities haven that is guaranteed to put a grin on pretty much any kid’s face. (It was a first time visit for us, so the girls were HUGELY excited).

Successful party concluded (with remarkably few injuries to boot), I next decided that a long overdue visit to the V&A Waterfront was in order, more specifically a stroll over to the Scratch Patch – only fair considering that the last time we had treated the girls with a visit there was three whole years ago!

We don’t visit the Waterfront all that often, meaning that I almost always actually enjoy a trip there, primarily because there is always something to see and grab a nice photo of. Of course, this then means that I like to wander about, inflicting a massive amount of frustration upon two small girls impatiently champing at the bit to find out what the surprise for the day is going to be.

Pleasingly (they literally had NO clue as to our final destination), as we finally snaked our way over to the big unpolished stones serving as an advertising marker at the foot of the Scratch Patch building, they twigged where they were and literally ran around in circles yelling with excitement. Mission success I reckon.

From there it was through the door and straight into admiring the jewelry on display (they are girls after all), grabbing a container, and gleefully scratching about for brightly coloured stones until their cups literally runneth over – with daddy put on strict quality control duties of course.

Sadly, Emily is still a little too young for putt putt (mini golf) so we skipped out on a round of Cave Golf for this particular visit, but I reckon that it will be on like a scone the next time we pay a visit to this tiny little kid friendly wonderland.

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Oh, and in case you didn’t know about it, in addition to the classic Simon’s Town and V&A Waterfront locations, these days Scratch Patch/Mineral World also has an outpost at the tourist friendly Cape Town Ostrich Farm. All the more reason to head out ostrich feather hunting again I guess…

Related Link: Mineral World Scratch Patch | V&A Waterfront | Cape Town

Girls at Play on the Mouille Point Adventure Playground in Cape Town (2017-11-18) Kid Activities | Photo Gallery 05 JUN 2018

The whole Sea Point, Mouille Point, Green Point stretch of Cape Town is always fantastic for family outings, with walks along the promenade, wave dodging through the railings, play on the various jungle gyms along the way, putt putt, a mini maze, the Blue Train Park, the Mouille Point Adventure Playground, and the Green Point Urban Park all on the cards for the little ones.

Talking about the Mouille Point Adventure Playground, I only just discovered how beautifully this kids playground has been upgraded during an outing with my girls to the Blue Train Park back in November last year. Open to all, it is the perfect mixing spot for all the kids of Cape Town to run around and play with one another.

So, while the Blue Train Park and its little blue train was definitely a hit, the fun ship themed jungle gym, inviting green sea monster and giant wooden jungle gym of the next door Mouille Point playground turned out to easily be the biggest highlight for my two munchkins on the day!

Seeing as we were in the area on a Saturday morning, we next dropped in by the bustling Oranjezicht City Farm Market, but given how busy they were (locals tell me the trick is to arrive super early), the girls and I instead shuffled off to a place of their choosing for lunch – and given that they are 7 and 4, naturally we ended up at Santa Ana Spur in the V&A Waterfront.

Sigh, at least the beer is nice and cold.

Not that I minded all that much I suppose – people watching at the Waterfront almost never gets old…  (Also, we did end up visiting Lagoon Beach in Milnerton for ice cream afterwards. So I can’t really complain.)

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In summary, a lovely little playground that is perfect for rewarding the kids with some play time after first forcing them to walk along the promenade with you.

Related Link: Mouille Point | Cape Town

A Gourmet Burger and Oscar the Seal at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town (2017-05-11) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 27 APR 2018

Table Mountain Aerial Cableway gives you a free cable car ride for you birthday, and my work gives us the day off on our birthday, meaning that I’m forever trying to go up Table Mountain on my birthday. Sometimes I get this right, but most of the time, thanks to my birthday falling in the middle of bad weather May, the route is closed and I need to come up with something else.

That is precisely what happened last year, and after spending some time walking around Signal Hill, Camps Bay and Sea Point, I headed towards the V&A Waterfront, a place that we visit surprisingly little come to think of it.

As any Cape Town tourist will tell you, the Waterfront does offer a lot of fun things to photograph, and on this particular day I found myself for some or other reason focusing on the hard to miss, gleaming bronze seal statue standing proudly in front of the magnificent Sun International Table Bay Hotel.

Standing adjacent to Jetty 2 and in front of the hotel’s main entrance, “Oscar”, the 2.7 meter high bronze seal statue sculpted and delivered (1997) by South African sculptor Danie De Jager, was commissioned by the hotel group in memory of Oscar the Cape Fur seal (and his fisherman friend – whom Oscar had inherited his name from), the beloved furry figure that called the Table Bay jetty home and whom the opening team had “adopted” during the construction phase of the hotel itself.

For many years Oscar the Seal delighted both Waterfront tourists and locals alike, before sadly dying due to injuries sustained in a boating accident around 2003. However, seeking out a place to bask in the sun, Oscar’s pups continue his legacy of visiting the Table Bay jetty on a daily basis, basically becoming much sought after photographic fodder in the process!

Anyway, Cape Fur seals aside, after a nice photographic stroll around the quieter than what I’m used to area, I decided to stop for a bite to eat, treating myself to one of the delicious gourmet hamburger creations that Gibson’s has become so famous for.

Craft beer in hand, I eagerly tucked into my food, fed the seagulls, watched people zip about, and took in all the sights. Not the worst way to spend lunch hour by one’s self I guess!

(In case you are all wondering where Chantelle was on the day, well she was back home busy frantically baking a cake in front of the camera, appearing as one of the challengers on Via’s – an Afrikaans channel on DSTV – Bak of Brou television show. Apparently this was quite the stressful event!)

One of the reasons I suppose that we don’t as a family visit the V&A Waterfront very often is because it is always so jam packed with people all the time, meaning that I found myself rather enjoying this rare mid-week visit for a change!

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Lunch done, photos taken, next up for my birthday walkabout – a visit to the Springbok Experience rugby museum!

Related Link: V&A Waterfront | Cape Town | Gibson’s

The Springbok Experience Rugby Museum in Cape Town (2017-05-11) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 01 APR 2018

As a treat to myself for my birthday, I paid a solo visit to the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum down in the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town last year May. It was my first time visiting the rugby museum, and honestly, if you are a long time South African rugby fan then this place will blow you socks off.

First things first – this is a museum experience unlike any other that I’ve experienced before.

The concept is that of an interactive, audio-visual driven experience, with the museum building being split into essentially 3 major sections – the Springbok memorabilia/rugby shop, the skill games section (perfect for you and your kids to have some rugby themed fun), and the the main and most important bit – the actual self-guided museum walk, which forces you along a path that talks, lights up and seeks to inform you with every step of the way.

You start at the very beginning, learning about how the game reached our shores, how it grew into a club level activity, and from there how it progressed from amateur to professional, from local to world class along the way.

Pleasingly, the museum does not shy away from difficult topics like the black smudge of Apartheid and race relations in general, and in fact, forces you as  visitor to understand exactly just how ridiculous and hurtful this dark mark on our shared history really was.

Visually the museum is stunning, running its bold yellow and green motif throughout the displays, with important figures and moments highlighted with stunning monochromatic mannequin displays.

Trophies, uniforms, pamphlets and photos, the museum has a treasure trove of South African rugby memorabilia that stretches throughout South Africa’s rugby playing history on display.

Larger than life inspirational quotes aside, just about every information panel you encounter comes with either a voice over effect, button to press, screen to watch, or tactile experience to digest – meaning that if you really want to, you can easily make a walk through this museum last longer than what your wife would spend in a well-stocked Woolworths store on one of its 50% off everything sale days.

(Technically, my wife doesn’t do this, but from what I understand you could be sitting on a bench that entire day if she has her good credit card in hand).

The experience itself ends off with a video screening in a small, darkened amphitheater, the result of which is you exiting through the final door beaming with pride at being a South African rugby fan. (Or at least that is exactly how I felt after making my way through the experience).

Hats off to SARU and the team that set this experience up then – if you are a Springboks fan, and have yet to visit this remarkable ode to SA rugby, then this should definitely be on your list of things to do in Cape Town!

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P.S. Handy Tip: That amphitheater is super dark, so beware the step up to the viewing bench. Otherwise you’ll repeat the swift tuck and roll maneuver that I performed once the final film credit had rolled…

Related Link: The Springbok Experience Rugby Museum | Cape Town

Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town (2015-08-29) Photo Gallery 18 SEP 2015

A couple of weekends ago, Chantelle and I decided to treat the girls to an outing to the Two Oceans Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town (a treat because its a pretty expensive family outing thanks to the high priced tickets).

IMG_20150829_140642 entrance at the waterfront two oceans aquarium

For a change, the weather was good and following the girls and my stop at a few markets in the morning, we returned home to scoop up an awaiting Chantelle and hit the N2 to Cape Town!

IMG_20150829_145223 penguin area at the waterfront two oceans aquarium

Little has obviously changed at the Two Oceans Aquarium over the years, so there isn’t really anything new for us as adults to take in (in fact, a couple of the exhibits are actually closed to the public at the moment, making those pricey tickets a tad more painful in the process), but for Jess it proved to be a surefire hit – her being finally old enough (our last visit was two years ago when she was three) to really enjoy the various exhibits.

She would excitedly listen to everything we told her (which mostly we read off the information boards above the displays), and then rattle it off to the nearest person that she could, skipping around from display to display!

(Amazingly, Finding Nemo still holds strong for the kids, as she very firmly proclaimed that her favourite fishes were without a doubt the clown fishes.)

IMG_20150829_141907 jessica and the clown fish at the waterfront two oceans aquarium

As always then, the Aquarium was a solid outing, with both girls seemingly enjoying the experience.

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Following our walkabout looking at all the fishes, we opted to tuck into some fishies and stopped for a late lunch at the adjacent Shoreline Cafe. Again, the restaurant experience proved nothing to really write home about, but the girls did particularly enjoy running round in the awesome kids play area.

IMG_20150829_163258 jessica lotter covered in ice cream at the waterfront in cape town

With lunch done and the girls particularly sticky from the ice cream all over their faces, we took a stroll back towards the parking garage to catch The Scratch Patch before it closed, pausing to admire the small navy vessel moored next to the aquarium and chuckle at the big seal taking a break on the very clever seal decks that Waterfront now plays host to.

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Luckily, we made the gemstone world with about a half an hour to go before closing time, enough time for the girls to excitedly scratch around and collect a host of colourful and beautiful gemstones that then needless to say, lay scattered across every walking surface in my house for the next couple of weeks! :)

IMG_20150829_170545 jessica lotter at the scratch patch in the waterfront in cape town

IMG_20150829_170607 emily lotter at the scratch patch in the waterfront in cape town

(These little stones are a mission back at one’s own house I tell you!)

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Related Link: Two Oceans Aquarium | Scratch Patch