Friday, 9 January 2009

Visit to Robben Island


In 2008, while on business in Cape Town, I took the opportunity to visit Robben Island via the Nelson Mandela Gateway. The Nelson Mandela Gateway is essentially the Robben Island Museum and is situated at the mainland Jetty from which the ferry departs, making it the first stage of what is a three to four hour tour.

The fee is R180, 00 per head and commences from the museum where you begin by viewing a photographic depiction of the islands history, supported by written commentary that puts it into perspective. It’s followed by the ferry ride over which takes about 45 minutes, and upon arrival, a guided bus tour is what awaits you. From the windows of the vehicle you get see many places of historical significance, as well as animal life which include buck and snake.

The final leg before returning to the boat is a guided walk through of the islands infamous penal complex, an occasion that evokes emotion in people, especially when standing inside what was for many years, Madiba’s prison cell. The operators of the Nelson Mandela Gateway To Robben Island have in the past for various reasons, come under some serious criticism. I can only comment on my personal experience with them which I have to say was absolutely fantastic, and exceptionally good value for money.

For those with an adventurous spirit, this is a site seeing opportunity that may well prove to be a memorable adventure experience. All you need to do is make sure you choose a day when the sea’s a bit rough, and keep in mind, the bus I referred to earlier, I’m guessing has been on that Island a long long time, its definitely not a luxury coach. :)

If you have never been before, I do highly recommend it and from a tourist perspective, an added bonus is that you get see the most spectacular views of Table Mountain. Going out to sea on a clear blue day watching it getting smaller in the distance, is nothing short of breath-taking.

Photo: Robben Island Bus, by autopsee,www.flickr.com

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