The inside story of the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

The Waterfront Story print edition

15 reviews

By Carl Momberg

The inside story of Cape Town’s Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, and how it became the best waterfront development in the world.

176 pages. Over 500 images. Most stories have never been told before.

  • The retail selling price of the book is R369.



The book covers:

  • The history of Table Bay and the events that led to the need for a harbour, and the development of the Victoria & Alfred Basins.
  • The development of Duncan Dock which moved the shoreline 1.6km out to sea and the reclamation of the Foreshore, effectively ending the old CBD’s intimate relationship with the Bay.
  • The catalysts for the redevelopment of the old harbour into a public amenity and the events leading to the establishment of the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront company.
  • The steps the new company took to ensure public participation and achieve an agreement with the municipality to allow development to take place quickly.  The release of the Development Framework Plan and the Urban Design Plan.
  • The development of the Pier Head Precinct and Victoria Wharf, followed by Cape Grace Hotel, Table Bay Hotel and the conversion of the Old Jail into UCT’s Graduate School of Business.
  • The planning and development of the first residential area — the Waterfront Marina and the canal into the city.  See inside the penthouses and apartments today with QR codes to what is for sale now.
  • The changes in corporate ownership from Transnet to its Pension Fund and, ultimately, the sale to foreign owners in 2006 for R7 billion.  The One&Only Hotel opens.
  • The bleak period during ownership by Dubai World and London & Regional Properties which saw little development and maintenance and focused on international tourists.
  • The appointment of David Green as CEO and his vision for the Waterfront, which returns the focus to catering for locals and South Africans.
  • The purchase of the Waterfront by the Public Investment Corporation (representing the Government Employees Pension Fund) and Growthpoint Properties for R9.7 billion in 2011.  The Waterfront is now part-owned by more than 1.2 million South Africans and development resumes rapidly.
  • The Blue Shed gets a major upgrade and becomes the Watershed, giving a sign of things to come.  PicknPay relocates into the parking garage with a much larger store.  It is now a store that caters for the region.
  •   Allan Gray’s award-winning green office HQ opens in the Silo District followed the iconic redevelopment of the old grain silos into the Zeitz MOCAA Gallery and Silo Hotel. This unlocks the development of the rest of the Silo District with hotels, residential accommodation and offices.
  • The Gateway District alongside the canal to the Convention Centre improves the integration of the Waterfront to the CBD, while Battery Park introduces a unique urban amenity on the edge of the Waterfront area.

The book is full of QR codes which you can scan with your mobile device and which links online to:

  • Examples of lessons learnt elsewhere
  • Old publications & reports providing more information
  • Planning & design documents and the Agreement with the Municipality
  • Current Waterfront reports and documents
This is the inside story of Cape Town's Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, and how it became the best waterfront development in the world. 176 pages. Over 500 images. Paperback. Most stories have never been told before.
Available at the following bookstores - R440.00: – Exclusive Books, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town – Exclusive Books, Canal Walk, Cape Town – Exclusive Books, Cavendish, Cape Town – Exclusive Books, Constantia Village, Cape Town
The print version is also available online for R369.

Additional information

Weight 0,780 kg
Dimensions 28 × 22 × 1,2 cm

15 reviews for The Waterfront Story print edition

  1. Brian Kantor

    It is a most impressive and interesting publication. Congratulations on the design and the content. I have learned much about the Waterfront both before and after my time as Chairman. I was especially pleased to see the recognition of so many who contributed to the Waterfront who have passed on. I remember well the walkabout with Mandela. I recall how many of the workers cheered him. It was in the morning with few shoppers about. and I am not at all sure that whites were over-represented.
    As you are probably aware we never paid for attendance at Board meetings. The huge number of subsequent meetings is no doubt explained by the attendance fees earned.
    I recall very vividly how I informed the President that the violence at the Waterfront was directed at the nation – and was much bigger than anything the Waterfront could hope deal with, as he seemed to think. He took the point and arranged for us to meet vice president Mbeki the following Saturday. The successful infiltration of Pagad soon followed.

  2. Tommy Brummer

    This book is by far the best piece of work on the Waterfront ever produced. The amount of detail is astonishing and the layout of the book is such that it is easy to absorb all the most valuable information swiftly. I have recommended this book to all my friends.

  3. Piet van Zyl

    The Waterfront Story is the definitive chronology of the origins and development of Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront. It has been written by someone with an absolute passion for the V&A. This is reflected in the storyline that often tells the ‘story behind the story’. It also shares the stories and the successes of the pioneers that have over the past nearly 35 years developed and managed the V&A Waterfront into the world’s most successful waterfront project. The style of the book is comprised of a collection of short chapters that are richly illustrated with great photographs – whilst you could read sections at a time, the whole book makes for very compelling reading from cover to cover. The clever use of QR codes takes you to archival documents that enhance your reading of the book even more. This book is without any doubt the ‘go-to’ reference source for the history and background on the V&A Waterfront project. It will be a great read for development and built environment professionals, as well as locals and visitors that love Cape Town. Its retailing price is also an absolute bargain. Get hold of your copy today and enjoy a wonderful reading experience!

  4. Kevin Hughes

    I have a book collection about South Africa with an emphasis on Cape Town and the Western Cape. The Waterfront Story is my third book about the V&A Waterfront. The layout of the book is superb with lots of illustrations along with the text. The book is high quality and is a bargain price, even more so as it comes with a digital ebook. I would recommend it to anyone who plans to visit South Africa and the most visited attraction in Africa.

  5. Marie van Rensburg

    Absolutely full of very interesting facts. The photos are amazing, and the content enlightening. Well done on a fantastic book which will be perused often!

  6. Ashleigh Muller

    Very detailed, interactive layout and incredible records of timelines.

  7. Richard

    This is one of the most fascinating, informative books I’ve read in a long time. Absolutely electric story. Loved it!

  8. Kevin Hughes

    Best book published about the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. [After order for 2nd book]

  9. Hayley

    The book is extremely interesting and informative.

  10. Murray Douglas

    My wife and I have many fond memories of the Waterfront from when we stayed in Plumstead. Visits to the Aquarium with grandchildren; Citroen Club outing to the Table Bay hotel in our Citroen Light Fifteen with visiting overseas Citroenites; Scottish country dancing displays in the amphitheatre, especially one in 2001 when the death of the Queen Mother was announced and we joined the Cape Town highlanders pipe band, who were nearby, in their commemorations; visits to thee Maritime Museum when the steam tug and the boom defence vessel were still docked there. Many visits to eating places including Ferrymans pub, Quay 4, Harbour Cafe. With my historical connections (Cape Town Historical Society chairman for ten years) enjoyed visits to the old silos, the dry dock, the Chavonnes Battery underground museum, the Clock tower, etc. The Waterfront is overflowing with historical buildings, all now beautifully restored and often sensitively redeveloped to still be of use.

    I saw the present book on Heritage Portal and decided to buy it to bring myself up to date since we left for Sedgefield in 1988. It is a most impressive, beautifully produced book with many superb illustrations, aerial views, maps, all in great detail, etc. It covers the history of the area from the original San to the early explorers, the VOC, the development of Cape Town, the building of the breakwater and docks, and finally the origins of the redevelopment of the then historic docklands into the present Waterfront and its subsequent development since 1989. This is all brilliantly presented in a very compact manner and is very informative all in 175 pages and at a very reasonable price.
    I would strongly recommend it for anyone with an interest in Cape Town.

  11. Ronnie Glass

    I have been a fan of the Waterfront redevelopment since it started in the 90s. I recall sitting at Ferrymans with the railway line still functioning in front. What the book has done for me is to rekindle memories of its development, tell me of facts I was unaware of and so bring me up to date, plus provide a look at the future plans. Carl is an insider having worked many years for the Waterfront Company and thus has much to share. His book thus contains so much information, wonderful pics and is so comprehensive. You will not be sorry with a purchase of the book. It accordingly is not just another book about the harbour and the ships that have visited the Port of Cape Town.

  12. Bertie Roos

    Thank you for an excellent publication. It has been done in so much detail and all the different facts read like multiple stories within the main Waterfront story. The pictures also tell their story, not only of the environment, but also the people. It reads like a novel. I am going to look with different eyes to each building in future, because now I know the story behind the structure. Congratulations on a wonderful book!

  13. James Mudimu


  14. Penny Randall-Bentley

    The book is an interesting collection of some of the untold stories of the V&A Waterfront. It is well compiled and factual and would strongly recommend it for any visitors to the Waterfront. Congratulations

  15. Theuns Vivian

    Already recommended to business colleagues and friends. A concise and informative book portraying the facts in an enjoyable reading style.

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