The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in the historic heart of Cape Town's working harbour is South Africa's most-visited destination, having the highest rate of foreign tourists of any attraction in the country. Situated between Robben Island and Table Mountain and set against a backdrop of sea and mountain views, it offers a variety of shopping and entertainment options to visitors, intermingled with office locations, the Somerset Hospital, hotels (such as the historical Breakwater Lodge - once a 19th-century prison) and luxury apartments in the residential marina.
It houses the Nelson Mandela Gateway which offers boat trips to Robben Island, as well as the Two Oceans Aquarium and Chavonnes Battery museum. The SAS Somerset is used as a museum and moored within the inner basin.
Prince Alfred, second son of Queen Victoria, began construction of the harbour in 1860. The first basin was named after himself, the second after his mother, hence the name.
The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront development is a renewal project that incorporates much of the historic harbour infrastructure. The whole complex is managed by a private company owned by Transnet. An international consortium of Dubai World and London & Regional Properties acquired the development in 2006 at a record value in South African terms of 7.4 billion rand. They sold the completed attraction to South African owners Growthpoint, the country's largest property company, and the Public Investment Corporation in 2011.