Reinventing the Tavern of the Seas
Narrator: If you’re at Origin Coffee Bar, listening to the hiss of milk steamers, you’re in the right place.
Stay here for a moment, and look across the small road beside the coffee bar. Can you see a double-story building with thick stone walls? It’s easily more than one hundred years old, and it used to be a warehouse – but in 1989, it became Ferryman’s Tavern, the first tenant of a new development called the V&A Waterfront, and this makes it the perfect place to start our story.
You see, when Cape Town began, it was its port. The ships and sailors that stopped here called it the Tavern of the Seas, and when they picked up supplies, they offloaded people too – adding a pinch of Asia and a splash of Europe to an African recipe that simmered slowly for hundreds of years.
Then the 1900s arrived with enough new technology to break the link between the city and its port. We’ll explore exactly how this happened later. For now, it’s enough to say that by the 1970s, Cape Town was one place and the Port of Cape Town another.
But sailors and landlubbers both love a pub, and when Ferryman’s opened its doors, the work of the V&A Waterfront began. Gradually, by taking one strategic step at a time, it has reunited Cape Town with its iconic harbour, as well as its roots.
There’s still a lot do be done. I’ll leave it to you to decide how much when we get to the end of our walk.
For now, let’s get going.
To your right, can you see a row of palm trees up ahead, beside a paved walkway? Go in that direction.
VoiceMap uses GPS to play audio automatically, at the right time and place, so you can put your device away now and focus on your surroundings. You’ll hear from me again by the time you reach the third palm up ahead.
Occasional periods of silence along the way are normal, and if you do wander off course, we’ll let you know. But you can always take a quick look at the map on your screen.
I’m Lorna Kalimashe by the way. I’m the Social Media Manager here at the V&A Waterfront.