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CAPE TOWN: Our insider’s guide to V&A Waterfront

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The Waterfront Marina is not cheap, but it has to be one of the most fabulous places to live in Cape Town, with everything in walking distance and spectacular views

With apartment prices in the millions, the V&A Waterfront Marina attracts high-net-worth buyers to this top residential development in what has to be one of the most desirable locations in Cape Town.

Table Mountain on one side, the Atlantic Seaboard on the other, this is one of the best addresses in the Mother City and is regarded as a successful mixed-use development and a blueprint for others of its kind. It seems as if every time one visits the Waterfront there is another building going up, like Waterway House (commercial and retail) in the canal district at the south entrance to the Waterfront.

The Marina, with its secure controlled access to give residents peace of mind, comprises a number of complexes either on the Canal or on the Front Yacht Basin. The latter are generally regarded as the most exclusive from a price point of view, although Canal apartments have sold better and seen better price growth over the past few years, say Seeff Mouille Point/Waterfront agents Lynn Pinn and Finella Botes.

The complexes are named in alphabetical order, after ships that have sunk off the Cape coast: Altmore, Bannockburn, Carradale, Dovenby, Ellesmere, Faulconier, Gulmarn, Helenslee, Juliette, Kylemore, Lawhill and so on; Front Yacht Basin complexes all begin with a “P” – including Parergon, Pembroke, Parama and Palgrace.

Residents enjoy access to the marina and private docks for yachts and jet boats, as well as two swimming pools, gyms, concierge services and 24-hour security. Apartment options range from one to three and four bedrooms as well as penthouses, some with private pools.

The V&A Waterfront Marina ranks among the top residential developments in the country.
– Lynn Pinn and Finella Botes, Seeff Mouille Point and Waterfront agents
Picture: Seeff

“The Waterfront has seen some of the highest prices paid for an apartment in the country, including two One&Only penthouses sold by Seeff for R113million and R55m respectively, and the entire Lawhill building sold by Seeff for R245m to a single investor,” says Pinn.

“Earlier we saw predominantly foreign buyers but now buyers are mostly South Africans, especially Capetonian residential buyers, setting up home here,” says Botes.

There has also been an increase in buying for own use rather than investment, say the agents.

According to the latest data from Lightstone, the average selling price is about R9.8m. Canal apartments sell for R85000 to R95000/m² and Front Yacht Basin apartments for R100000 to R120000/m².

The Zeitz MOCAA museum at the V&A Waterfront. Picture: Cindy Waxa/African News Agency (ANA)

“One-bedroom apartments on the Canal range from R7.8m, two-beds from R13.9m and three-beds from R19m,” says Pinn. “A two-bedroom unit on the Front Yacht Basin ranges from around R15.5m.”

Rental agent Barbra-Ann Briner says the area is popular for this market, although rates are down by about 20% from their peak, given the slow-down in the market.

“They begin at about R20000 a month for a one-bedroom unit up to more than R100000 for a penthouse.”

Places of interest and things to do

Living in a working harbour means the blast of the ship’s horn, tugs guiding the big rigs, and
well-fed seals lounging around ignoring the pesky seagulls trying to scavenge their catch.
Reflections of the Clock Tower at the swing bridge create winter sunsets like crazy Miami
cocktails, with views of distant shores and mountain ranges, Robben Island, the Duncan
Dock and Table Mountain. It’s a two-minute walk from excellent coffee, provocative art,
necessities like books and groceries, and dancing at an al fresco tango milonga.
– Resident Betty Cooper
Picture: Supplied

1 Eat

There are dozens of restaurants in the immediate vicinity, ranging from top-end dining at places like Nobu at One&Only Cape Town and Belthazar in Victoria Wharf, to quick, light and easy options like Col’Cacchio (now completely halaal), Mugg & Bean, Willoughby’s and our new favourite, Lupa Osteria in the Clock Tower precinct. Telephone 021 408 7600.

2 Drink

Grab a pint at Mitchell’s Scottish Ale House or keep it casual at Ferryman’s next door. Cocktail and champagne sundowners can be enjoyed at any number of places dotted around the water’s edge, and for one of the biggest whisky selections in the southern hemisphere head to Bascule Bar at the Cape Grace Hotel. Telephone 021 408 7600.

The Two Oceans Aquarium is open 365 days of the year. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA)

3 Family

Walk, run or cycle along the marked routes around the Waterfront, take a spin on the Cape Wheel for a bird’s eye view of the area, or visit one of the museums. These include the Chavonnes Battery, Maritime Museum, Springbok Experience rugby museum, and the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. Telephone 021 408 7600. 

4 Aquarium

Immerse yourself in an underwater world, meet the penguins and turtles, dive with the graceful rays, and learn more about environmental issues. The Two Oceans Aquarium is open 365 days a year. Telephone 021 418 3823.

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