CAPE TOWN HARBOUR – A QUICK LOOK AT THE FACTS
With the travel bans easing along with the pandemic, we are excited to visit some of our local destinations and explore our own country a little more. We’ve already had a look at some of the fabulous maritime attractions that can be found at Cape Town Harbour, so we’d like to share 10 interesting facts about this Harbor with you. There really is so much history here!
- In 1860, construction work began on a harbour in the Cape, where before this only three wooden jetties were being used for cargo and passengers. The harbour was designed with a breakwater to protect it from swells, and this breakwater was constructed using the dug-out rock from the creation of the harbor. Whilst the harbour was being built, a severe storm in Table Bay caused 16 ships to wash ashore in just one night!
- While Cape Town Harbour was being constructed, two important events took place. A diamond discovery was made in 1867 in the interior, which then led to what is known as the ‘diamond rush’ that brought people from around the world to our shores, which meant lots of ships, passengers, and imported mining equipment. It also led to the town of Kimberly being established in what we know today as the Northern Cape.
- The second event was the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, which caused most transit ships to leave the Cape route in favour of the new route via the Suez Canal.
- In February 1990, when President F.W. de Klerk announced the abolition of apartheid and the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, a wave of investment was brought to South Africa which caused the start of a shipping boom. This boom gathered further momentum when the first democratic election was held in 1994, bringing more ships to the harbour.
- The harbour’s great location on one of the world’s busiest trade routes will ensure it retains its economic and strategic importance.
- Cape Town Harbour is the second busiest container port in South Africa, after Durban. The harbour handles the largest amount of fresh fruit in South Africa.
- The Victoria and Alfred Basins, which originally made up the harbour, now house the world-renowned Cape Town Waterfront and remain in use for commercial purposes which include fishing vessels and pleasure boats.
- According to Britannica, the Port of Cape Town handles around 5-milllion tons of cargo each year. The port will also not admit any ships of more than 40-foot draft when the tide is low.
- Cape Town is a popular destination for tourists on cruises, and in 2018 the second phase of the Cape Town Cruise Terminal was completed, and a new urban park forming the gateway to the V&A Waterfront was opened to the public.
- The Waterfront continues with upgrades and more and more people visit Cape Town Harbour. In 2019 the swing bridge that allows people to go between the Pierhead Precinct and the Clock Tower Precinct was upgraded, and the first phase of the R180-million extension to the Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre was completed and unveiled.We can’t wait to get back to Cape Town to enjoy this wonderful maritime destination.
If you need underwater ship maintenance for your vessels in Cape Town, feel free to give us a call to discuss!