Two Oceans Aquarium at V&A Waterfront
Undoubtedly, the aptly-named Two Oceans Aquarium is a major attraction at the V& Waterfront which appeals to adults and children alike. This hotspot is a favourite with both locals and visitors. Get immersed in the blue world as you pay a visit to South Africa's marine creatures! Time seems to move at a slower pace as one steps in this different universe. The humming of aquarium pumps and the searching eyes of curious crabs, jellyfish and clown fish create a surreal atmosphere that is greatly soothing.
Called the Two Oceans Aquarium since the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean meet almost here, this attraction, which opened its doors in 1995, has over 3000 living sea animals, including sharks, turtles and penguins to the delight of those fascinated by marine life. This makes it one of the finest aquariums in the world and a heaven-like place for the aquatic life lovers.
The Two Oceans Aquarium offers a myriad of spectacular exhibits. The aquarium features different exhibition, each of which showcases a fascinating aspect of the ocean. The 6 exhibits of marine life namely: I&J Predator Exhibit, Ocean Basket Kelp Forest Exhibit, Penguin Exhibit, Indian Ocean gallery, Atlantic Ocean gallery and Touch Pool and Microscope.
I&J Predator Exhibit
I&J Predator Exhibit has a vast acrylic panel of 11 m wide by 4 m high. Here, in more than 2 million litres of seawater, large ragged-tooth sharks make rounds of the tank as supple and agile rays, loggerhead turtles and shoals of giant yellow-tail flash by along with garrick, giant kob and black musselcracker.
There are several breathtaking viewing points such as the semi-tunnel, which hugs the perimeter of the exhibit. This allows the visitors close encounters with the sharks, rays, a loggerhead turtle, a green sea turtle and fish. Diving is allowed in this exhibit under the supervision of one of the on-site aquarists.
The Two Oceans Aquarium is very strict about conditions under which these dives take place and have their own list of terms and conditions that divers must subscribe to. These include that all divers must be qualified and able to present their dive card, logbook or certificate on arrival. In line with recognised diving practice, dives may not occur if divers are to fly less than 12 hours after the dive time.
The animals in the I&J Predator Exhibit are fed at 15h00 everyday and sharks are fed at 15h00 only on Sundays. Visitors can join the staff for a feed.
Ocean Basket Kelp Forest Exhibit
Apart from the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California in the United States, the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town is the only other aquarium in the world where living kelp forests are currently being displayed. The Ocean Basket Kelp Forest Exhibit is an underwater forest where kelp plants grow like tall trees. Fish can be seen swimming through the fronds and abalones, sea urchins and rock lobsters feed and take refuge in the root-like hold-fasts.
Three species of giant kelp provide shelter for the different varieties of local fish, which move amongst the kelp fronds. This exhibit is open to the sky so that the kelp plants can receive sunlight. Moreover, strong lights have been added over the exhibit to increase the amount of light on overcast days and during winter.
In the exhibit, the temperature of the water should be between 12 and 15 degree Celsius. Large chillers have been installed to keep the water temperature within a suitable range, especially in summer when the area experiences heat waves.
Visitors to the Ocean Basket Kelp Forest Exhibit remain amazed by the seductive sways of the kelp plants and the play of light on the fronds and colourful fish. This enchanting exhibit remains a major draw-card of the Two Oceans Aquarium. The Ocean Basket Kelp Forest Exhibit runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 12:00.
The Penguin Exhibit
This exhibit traces the journey of a meandering pristine river (Sappi Meander River), right from its source high in the mountain to its mouth, where it communes seamlessly with the ocean. Over the years, this exhibit grown to be one of the most exhilarating exhibits and now prides itself in a ten-year old milk-wood forest, a breeding colony of African penguins, rock-hopper penguins, African black oyster-catchers and an array of freshwater fish, both indigenous and alien to the rivers of the Western Cape.
Overlooking the rookery of the rock-hopper penguins, a bird hide offers the visitors a place to sit and relax in this serene atmosphere. To the delight of the visitors, Two Ocean Aquariums also arranges for interactive penguin encounters! However, not more than 2 persons at a time are allowed to join for an informative, fun-packed and thrilling encounter with the penguins.
The Penguin encounter is suitable for everyone although children below 8 not recommended not to take part in this activity. A penguin encounter usually lasts for 30 minutes. But at times, the whole process from welcoming to parting away might take 90 minutes! Encounters happen from Tuesdays to Sundays at 11h00 in the AfriSam Penguin Pool at the Two Oceans Aquarium.
The Indian Ocean gallery and The Atlantic Ocean gallery
The Two Oceans Aquarium is ideally positioned to showcase the incredible diversity of marine life found in the Atlantic and Indian oceans.
The Indian Ocean gallery offers a very vivid insight and dazzling colours of the marine life of the warmer waters. Watch out for the famous Nemo and his buddies, honeycomb eels and many more colourful fish! This gallery also has a coral exhibit.
The Atlantic Ocean gallery allows a slice of life from the aquatic world of the Atlantic Ocean. Meet the jellyfish and the seahorse! Visitors also get the chance to see the giant spider crabs.
The Touch Pool and Microscope Exhibits
Two Oceans Aquarium does not only offer entertainment but it is highly educative as well. The aquarium does not only showcase diverse aspects of marine life but it also shoulders the responsibility to educate the visitors about aquatic life and diversity. The visitors are given information by the experience aquarists and they are also invited to get first-hand information in the Touch Pool and Microscope Exhibits.
Fancy touching and feeling those marvellous creatures? Part-time volunteers and full-time employees of the Aquarium assures some hands-on interaction with kelp, starfish, anemones and even Hermit crabs!
Observe the inhabitants of the Atlantic Ocean and see their intricate features at the Microscope Exhibit! Many of the animals at the Cold Water Mosaic Exhibit in the Atlantic Ocean Gallery can be seen magnified. This exhibit allows the visitors to explore a new world of delicate tentacles, tube feet, suckers and nippers.
Look out for some amazing activities! You can watch as goose barnacles, cushion stars and sea cucumbers as they feed, breathe and even give birth! Such as a tempting experience appeals to adults and kids alike!
Entertainment at V&A Waterfront
There is no dearth of entertainment in V & A Waterfront! Be it the 2 cinemas or the amphitheatre, there is always full-on entertainment guaranteed at V & A Waterfront! Know more about the history of the place by visiting the 2 museums in the waterfront namely the Maritime and Chavonnes Museum or book a historical walk in South Africa's oldest harbour!
The amphitheatre hosts music, dance and theatre throughout the year. For those seeking something more thrilling, there are regular boat trips available. Also, there is a ferry that shuttles to Robben Island from the Clock Tower Square. Lastly, but not the least one can tour Cape Town aboard a helicopter and get an aerial view of the whole of the beautiful area.
Discover the beauty and charm of Cape Town aboard a helicopter! From a marvellous height in a helicopter, you can explore the scenic wonders of the Cape peninsula and feast your eyes with an unforgettable experience of seeing Cape Town from a bird's eye-view.
Aboard a helicopter, one can discover the colourful cultures of the Cape, see the jagged headland of Cape Point at the southern-most tip of the peninsula, treat yourself with views of the rugged majesty of Table Mountain and witness the beauty of the blue oceans.
V & A Waterfront is one of the places in Cape Town which has a helipad and hence is the departure and landing point for helicopter trips. A perfect thrilling experience to be enjoyed with your dear and nears!
The V&A Waterfront oozes with tales at almost every corner. Each of the numerous landmarks has a story of its own and is reminiscent of one thing or the other on the history of what now constitutes this waterfront in all its grandeur.
Tread down the miles back to a by-gone era with a historical walk in this stupendous place. Relive the time of sailors, seafarers and bold adventure seekers.