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Author: rosemarynj

Joined: 3/10/2010
Posts: 34
Traveler Since: 2010

January 17, 2013

 We are going on the South Africa Trip on May 22nd.  We want to make sure we get to Robben Island out of Capetown and know it is not included in the trip.  Can anyone tell me if the GCT guide arranged this for them or shoud we arrnge it on our own ahead of time?  Also, if you did  arrange it on your own did you use a website that you can share and also we were wondering on which day of the itinerary should we schedule it for?  

Thanks for any help you can give me.

Author: ddalexa

Joined: 12/12/2012
Posts: 15
Traveler Since: 2003

January 17, 2013

Spring 2010: Our guide arranged the tour for 3 of us as we boarded the plane from Durbin to Cape Town.  She called ahead on her cell phone and had our credit cards in hand.  When we arrived at the ticket office a couple days later,  my husband and I were fine, but the Robbins Island staff had totally goofed and given the other lady a ticket for the wrong day.  None of us noticed the date, since the time was correct, until we were at the lower level scanners.  Your bags are scanned before being allowed on the boat dock.   The staff ran her back upstairs and it eventually got fixed - but it was lucky that we could vouch that her reservation was made when ours was and for the same day and time.  It was also good that we were near the front of the very long line because everyone behind us had their carry on bags scanned before she and the staff member returned.

Our OAT guide said that almost everytime she or another guide tried to make arrangements for someone that the ticket office messed up, and she wouldn't do it anymore.  On the other hand, the tour itself was really interesting, and I thought it should have been an OAT optional tour.  My daughter was in Durbin and "Cape Town as part of a People to People education group a few months later, and Robbins Island tour was included as part of their schedule.  I think that we were told you have to arrange for your tour at least 2 days ahead of time and if the seas are too rough the boat won't sail.

Author: nancyf

Joined: 4/26/2010
Posts: 155
Countries Visited:

43 of the 50 United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, England , France , Italy , Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Africa (Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe. South Africa), Israel, Canada, the Carribbean, Peru, going to Egypt & Jordan in February 2011 ( canceled due to the unrest there, but I will take this trip later!), China, Russia, Kenya, Turkey, Greece, Malta, Sicily.

Traveler Since: 2007

January 19, 2013

We were in Cape Town in August 2009 as the post-trip to the Ultimate Africa trip, and Robben Island was not an included part either; however, we reserved or bought tickets at the ticket office/ferry loading building a couple of days before we wanted to go. I would recommend going to that office when you first get to Cape Town to see about tickets, because I think we had to take our third choice of days. It is very busy. The trip to Robben Island was worth it. The ferry ride over was nice, and we had a wonderful tour guide on our bus once we were there. Very informative, but amusing and not dry. Inside the prison we had a talk by a former political prisoner there, which was also quite interesting and sobering. Saw Nelson Mandela's cell (very small). Anyway, try to make the trip/tour happen!

Author: rosemarynj

Joined: 3/10/2010
Posts: 34
Traveler Since: 2010

March 02, 2013

Still working on the Robben Island trip from Cape Town during our GCT trip in May.  I was wondering what day you booked it on as we have to prebook some of the optional excursions.  I am seeing the Township Tour in Cape Town which must be prebooked, is that the tour we should skip and make our way to Robben Island on our own?

Thanks, Rosemary

Author: nancyf

Joined: 4/26/2010
Posts: 155
Countries Visited:

43 of the 50 United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, England , France , Italy , Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Africa (Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe. South Africa), Israel, Canada, the Carribbean, Peru, going to Egypt & Jordan in February 2011 ( canceled due to the unrest there, but I will take this trip later!), China, Russia, Kenya, Turkey, Greece, Malta, Sicily.

Traveler Since: 2007

March 02, 2013

We did not do the Township tour, so I could not compare. We did the optional Stellenbosch Winery tour. Good. I don't remember what day we did the Robben Island, but we had a day or more of "free time", so it was during that time that we did it.....now, I have gone to the itinerary for your trip and see that CapeTown is part of your main trip (where it was the post-trip for us), so you don't have much free time to choose from. I would recommend going to the reviews for this trip, and see what others have said about the Township tours, and then make your decision from that.

Author: ddalexa

Joined: 12/12/2012
Posts: 15
Traveler Since: 2003

March 03, 2013

Robben Island definitely worth visiting, we even saw little penguin in addition to the historical sites.  The sunset on return boat trip, shining over table mountain and onto the water, was spectacular. 

Also the Township tour.  The van's we had were driven by a local township husband and wife team - pleasant and informative.  We visited a local house and a couple of the very small rooms. One of a single man, one of a family with 2 children.  We also walked extensively in the township streets and compared the renovated flats side by side with the unrenovated ones.

I though the Stellenbosh tour was a waste of money, but then, I went more for the scenery than the wines.  The country wasn't as spectacular as I was expected, more pretty rolling hills that I could see at home.   We did have a marvelous lunch in a very interested building.  Then about 4 wine tastings in different vinyards - they were interesting.  All red wines were chosen by out guide,, none of which I liked (but the 'red' wine lovers did - I prefer whites).  Our tour guide talked softly and was very hard to hear. We wandered around town awhile.  To be fair, the others enjoyed the trip more than I did.

Author: musicmajor

Joined: 7/13/2012
Posts: 17
Traveler Since: 2005

March 03, 2013

 We were actually in Capetown as a post trip from our OAT tour.  However, the information about Robben Island shouldn't be too different.  If you know you want to get there (and I think that it is a "must do"), and you're not sure that you can get to the waterfront to buy tickets in advance, the best thing to do is to buy your tickets, on line, before you leave on your tour.  This is what we did, and it was easy and worked perfectly.  There is a web site, www.robben-island.org.za where you can purchase your tickets and print them.  

 

We also did the Stellenbosch wine tour as an "optional", and also felt that it wasn't worth the money.  The scenery was much like winery areas here in the US, and there was a long break for lunch on our own.  The Townships tour was very interesting, and gave us a peek into a life that has been very important in South Africa.  Given a choice between Robben Island and the wine tour, I'd choose Robben Island without hesitation.

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