Situated on the foreshore of Cape Town, just a short walk from the CBD, the Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront, or just the Waterfront as it known to locals, is so much more than a shopping centre, and has become a tourist destination in its own right. In addition to shopping and hospitality, amongst other activities, there is boat cruises, helicopter trips, gyms, pirate ships, cave golf, a big wheel, museums, an aquarium and the largest modern art museum in Africa - the Zeitz MOCAA. Still a working harbour, the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront extends over a large area making it perfect for an afternoon of serendipitous wandering and browsing both inside the centre and outside through it is many annexes and attractions. Shopping wise it caters for most budgets, with over 450 outlets from the local finds like Master Wires-and Beadcraft’s African Curios and Imani Jewel’s African gemstones in the Watershed Design Shed to the high end super luxury offerings situated in the exclusive ‘Platinum Mile’ shopping area of the centre. It has a staggering 80 restaurants and cafes. From coffee shops to cocktails at sunsets to fine-dining experiences, the V&A has hospitality covered and then some. With an array of attractions for kids, by day it is the perfect place to bring the family for a safe and fun day out. After dark the Waterfront comes alive with a different kind of buzz with its multiple bars and venues offering live music and entertainment till late in the evening.
Canal Walk is the serious shopping Mecca of Cape Town. Cape Town’s biggest mall, its grand Venetian inspired design transcends a staggering 141,000-square-metres. Just a short drive from Cape Town, it has over 400 stores, ranging from high end fashion to jewellery and from high tech to home and decor. It really is the centre that covers all the bases for the most demanding of shopaholics. It is where you will find big name international brands like Diesel, Guess, H&M and Levis next to the local stalwarts like Edgars, Mr Price and Markhams as well as quirky specialised shops. Coin dealers, bridal boutiques, bespoke tailors, golf outlets and movie memorabilia are just some of the retail gems dotted around the centre. It has 18 restaurants and cafes that cater for all palates from health food to pub grub and from pizza to sushi. If you like to mix your shopping with some pampering, Canal Walk has you covered with an array of spas, hairdressers, masseuses, nail bars and foot spas. Entertainment wise it has many cinema screens, including one Extreme screen which is three-storeys high with 360-degree sound for the ultimate immersive experience. Though it is in the leisure stakes that makes Canal Walk unique through its proximity to the Intaka Island nature reserve which is linked to the centre by canals. What better way to relax after a busy morning of shopping than a relaxing boat ride through nature?
In real estate there is a three word mantra that is beloved by realtors across the board. Location, Location, Location. Eden on the Bay ticks that box and then some. It is situated directly adjacent to a beautiful beach and has one of the best views of one of the world’s most magnificent sights on the planet. The view of Table Mountain from the West Coast beaches of Cape Town is one of the most instagrammed globally. This boutique mall has a wide and varied offering from a supermarket, for those beach provisions, to fashion and jewellery through to quirky outlets like the Big Bay Sea Shells Co, with makes amazing things with shells. It has spas, hairdressers and pilates amongst its service offering, though it is how it makes use of the view that it really stands out. It has 12 restaurants and cafes, nearly all of which have outstanding sea and mountain views. As it is home to beautiful lawns as well as the beach, you could opt for a quick take away or even pack your own picnic. Big Bay is one of the word’s best kite surfing and surfing spots, so in addition to sun, sea and sand, you will often be treated to the sight of colourful kite surfers in full flight. If you’re feeling adventurous there is also the opportunity of learning to surf, kite surf and stand up paddle board at the centre. Making excellent use of its location, Eden on the Bay is the ideal destination centre where you come to shop and then stay to eat and either chill or play on the beach until sunset and beyond.
Shopping is better than sex. If you're not satisfied after shopping you can make an exchange for something you really like.
One thing that unites all cultures is the love of shopping, whether it’s bargain hunting, present buying or treating yourself to that special something, we all need to shop. Africa and South Africa has always had a long tradition of markets where people would travel from far and wide not only to stock up on provisions, but to spoil themselves with luxury items for themselves and their family. You will still find an array of informal markets across Cape Town which we will cover in future blogs, but sometimes you just crave the comfort, choice, convenience and elegant pacing of a mall. Of course in the shopping centres of the 21st century, retail is only part of the offering. Recreation, entertainment, eating and drinking and services as varied as massage therapy and kids’ craft classes are all part of the offering that centres use to entice customers. Centres have become destinations in themselves, where people visit to leisurely explore and enjoy. As a visitor to Cape Town you would expect centres to have an offering that recognises the local landscape in their shopping and services. This week we have chosen three centres that do exactly that, offer international class retail and services with a distinctively local flavour.