What’s the Number One tourist destination in Africa? We were on a walking tour in Cape Town when our guide posed this question. “Table Mountain?” someone suggested. No, that was Number 2. “The Pyramids of Egypt?” That was Number 3. The correct answer, he told us, was Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront. That’s right – according to our guide this shopping and entertainment complex at the tip of Africa is the most visited place on the whole continent!
Admittedly, it is a very smart complex. It is based around the old V&A Docks (named after Victoria and Alfred, Alfred being Queen Victoria’s second son, who opened the first dock on this site). The docks had fallen into disuse but the area was extensively renovated in the 1980s. Today it is full of upmarket shops and restaurants, museums and other tourist attractions. You can look at the ships in the harbour, at the colony of fur seals and at the Table Mountain looming up in the distance.
But for me one of the main attractions of the area was Nobel Square, with its statues of South Africa’s four Nobel Peace Prize winners: Albert Luthuli, Desmond Tutu, F W de Klerk and Nelson Mandela. The sculptures were created by Claudette Schreuders and commemorate four men who helped South Africa on the path to democracy.