To See & Do

V&A Waterfront Historical Walking Tours

Take a step back in time to a bygone era; to a time of sailors, seafarers and intrepid adventurers.  Follow in the footsteps of South Africa’s founders when the majesty of the V&A Waterfront was a brave little jetty built by Jan van Riebeeck in 1654.  Relive the frenzy of the shouts of the sailors and stevedores as we sidestep and expertly navigate the hustle and bustle of this iconic trading port’s vibrant history.  

Stand proud as we salute HRH Prince Alfred, Queen Victoria’s second son, for inaugurating the V&A Waterfront’s construction as a 16-year-old midshipman in the Royal Navy in 1860.  Let us stand even prouder as we salute his return 10 years later for the official opening of the completed works in July1870.

Just as the pioneering Power Station bought the first light to Cape Town, so our registered tour guide will illuminate the history of the V&A Waterfront, regaling you with facts and anecdotes of South Africa’s most popular cultural destination.

Booking is essential. Visit the V&A Waterfront Information Centre or In-mall Kiosk for bookings and further information.

Tour Information and Route

South Africa’s oldest working harbour is home to 22 landmarks. Our journey begins at Chavonnes Battery Museum, the harbour’s oldest relic.  The tour then winds its way from Clock Tower Square and will include, but is not limited to the following points of interest:
•   Clock Tower
•   Swing Bridge
•   Bertie’s Landing
•   African Trading Port
•   Alfred Basin
•   Robinson Dry Dock - one of the oldest of its kind in the world still in daily use
•   SAS Somerset – the only boom defence vessel remaining in the world
•   Old Power Station - Cape Town’s first power station
•   Pump House
•   Breakwater Prison –markings left by recalcitrant prisoners are still visible today
•   Portswood Ridge
•   Time Ball Tower
•   Portswood Tunnel
•   Rocket Shed
•   Union Castle Building
•   Victoria Basin
•   Tour ends: Quay 5 / Amphitheatre

Duration: 2 hours.


The V&A Waterfront Historical Walking Tours depart daily from Chavonnes Battery Museum at 11am and 2pm.*
*The frequency of tours are dependent on demand

Booking Process

Bookings can be made at the V&A Waterfront Information Centre or In-mall Kiosk.
An 11% deposit is required to secure a booking.
The balance is payable at Chavonnes Battery Museum on commencement of the tour.
A booking confirmation receipt from the Information Centre or In-mall Kiosk must be presented to Chavonnes Battery Museum on the day of the tour.
Daily scheduled tours depart @ 11h00am.
Tours are subject to availability.

Minimum and maximum per tour
• Min = 4 people*
• Max = 10 people
*For groups of less than 4 people, a minimum fee of R200.00 applies.

Category      Adults             Children          Schools 
Fee                 R150pp          R20pp             cost available on request* 
* 10-18 years of age (below 10 years of age: free of charge)

V&A Waterfront Historical Walking Tours in partnership with Chavonnes Battery Museum.

Free Self-Guided Historical Walking Tour   

The V&A Waterfront is steeped in history, and to honour this legacy, it now extends its cultural and heritage offering to visitors with a Self-Guided Historical Walking tour.
The free Self-Guided Walking tour provides interesting facts, anecdotes and archive images of a bygone era, taking visitors on a journey through time that promises to bring history to life. It paints a picture of life in Cape Town from as early as 1652 right through to the bustling trade of the V&A Waterfront today.

The starting point of the tour is at the V&A Waterfront Information Centre, where visitors may collect their free maps. This building in itself has an interesting story to tell. It is the original rocket lifesaving shed. It housed a lifesaving device which aided stricken ships by firing projectiles carrying lifelines out to sea. The shed was built in the 1870’s. From here visitors will follow a series of 32 boards in numbered sequence, placed at significant historical points of interest and at heritage landmarks.

The self-guided historical walk is an additional cultural experience now on offer for those who prefer to discover the rich historical background of Cape Town at their own leisure. Walking at a consistent pace, the self-guided tour will take approximately an hour to complete.