Cape Town audio tour: Reinventing the Tavern of the Seas

Reinventing the Tavern of the Seas

Walking Tour

45 mins

About the Tour

The V&A Waterfront is one of Africa’s most popular destinations, and more than 24 million people visit it every year. But just a few decades ago, South Africa’s oldest working harbour was an uninviting, industrial port. The place that sailors once called the Tavern of the Seas found itself cut off from Cape Town and its people.

How were the strong bonds between the city and its port broken? And how has the V&A Waterfront worked to rebuild them, creating new ways for everyone to rediscover Cape Town’s connection with the sea?

On this audio walking tour, you’ll find answers to these questions in unusual objects like shipping containers and unfinished highways. You'll learn about the humble beginnings of the V&A Waterfront, starting in 1989 with Ferryman's Tavern, and meet some of the characters who’ve helped shape its evolution.

Together, we'll navigate currents of history and culture into the present, and whether this is your first time at the V&A Waterfront, or your hundred and first, this walking tour will open your eyes to hidden traces of the past, the complex dance of daily operations, and the exciting opportunities of the future.

Tour Producer


V&A Waterfront

Looking onto Table Mountain & wrapped around an historical harbour, the V&A Waterfront offers shopping, dining, leisure, residential and commercial options.

Major Landmarks

  • Waterfront Nobel Square

  • The Watershed at the Waterfront

  • Two Oceans Aquarium

  • The Nelson Mandela Gateway To Robben Island

  • Zeitz MOCAA

Directions to Starting Point

This tour starts at next in front of Ferryman's Tavern, just next to Dock Road.

Show Directions
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Places to stop along the way

There are restaurants and retailers at points all through the walk. If you want to grab some coffee or a drink – or if you spot something you want to buy – you can either pause or stop the tour and then resume it later.

Best time of day

The tour goes through the Watershed, which is open from 10:00 to 18:00. We recommend doing it between these times, but it is possible to do the tour at other times.


There is no shelter for large parts of this walk. Wear sunscreen and a hat if you have one.


Reinventing the Tavern of the Seas