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Author: rosemarynj

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

May 07, 2013

We are leaving for the GC South Africa trip on May 23rd.  I had asked our guide Colleen in an email about arranging  going to Robben Island as I was told this was a highlight of the trip.  She told me that we can do it the afternoon of the Capetown Township tour. We have to book the tour ourselves online.  We had hoped to be able to do both but maybe there is no other time to go to Robben Island.  Any suggestions as to what we should do as many have also stated that the Capetown Township tour was also excellent?

Such a difficult decision.

Thanks for any help 

Author: pegheeter1

Joined: 6/28/2010
Posts: 22
Traveler Since: 2001

May 07, 2013

 Thanks for posting your concerns.  We've been tempted to take the South Africa trip and may still do so, but the fact that Robben Island is NOT part of the tour has thus far been a deciding factor for us.  I know one can do it "on your own" but most companies include it - at least as an optional tour.  One of the reasons we travel with GCT/OAT is so we don't have to bother with doing so much on our own.

I'll follow this thread and see what responses you get - 

 

 

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

May 07, 2013

I would not miss the Robben Island experience. We were in CapeTown as the post-trip to the Ultimate Africa trip in 2009, and RI was not included, but we went to the ticketing place by the ferry that takes you to RI, and reserved our tickets for the next day. You could do that. I don't know if we got "lucky" and it wasn't full or what. It is simple and worth doing it whether GC arranges it or not. Online reservations would be a piece of cake, I would think.

Author: rosemarynj

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

May 07, 2013

I agree with you. pegheeter1, I can't imagine why Robben Island is not part of the tour or at least an optional tour and time is not made to go there. We really do not want to miss the Capetown Township tour, so I think we will miss the free winery on the last day in Capetown and go to Robben Island.  Any one have any opinions on this, wine tour or Capetown Township decision? 

We can book online but it would have been more convenient if guide would have an optional tour to Robben Island that we could pay for with American dollars.

Looking for help here.  We enjoy wine, but have been to many wineries in the US in California.  Capetown Township or Winery???

Author: jl.anderson

Joined: 3/17/2010
Posts: 64
Countries Visited:

OAT/GCT: China, Peru, Ecuador, Ukraine, Russia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda; 35+ more countries

Traveler Since: 2007

May 07, 2013

What time do you return from Stellenbosch on Day 19?  Is there time then?

On Day 20 what time does your flight leave?  If it's late afternoon could you go first thing in the morning?

Author: rosemarynj

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

May 08, 2013

Thanks for suggestions, JL, but  I asked about the winery tour and it gets back too late (3pm) to go to Robben Island.  Our flight back to Johannesburg on last day is at 6:15AM so no time there.  What we are thinking about  is skipping the winery on our last day and going to Robben Island on that morning so we will be back for Farewell Dinner.  Then we can do the Capetown Township on the Saturday afternoon.  Did you go to Robben Island?  I was wondering when others have gone as it seems like you have to miss something in order to go to Robben Island.  I still think it is strange that they don't include it either as an extra excursion or part of tour.

What do you think Winery or Robben Island?  We think we feel Robben Island is a bigger priority.

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

May 08, 2013

We went to 2-3 wineries and had lunch at one of them, and even though that was all wonderful, we do have wineries back home but we do not have Robben Island. My opinion is that if you have to choose, I would choose Robben Island. It's a very moving and interesting experience to hear about it from your guide (ours was quite knowledgeable & interesting), and once inside part of the prison, a former prisoner talked to us. Very moving. We saw the prison cell (small) where Nelson Mandela lived for those many years. When I saw the movie Invictus, the character that Matt Damon played went to visit the prison and looked at the cell and marveled at what Mandela had gone through (and others), and it was extra neat to be able to relate to that, having seen it. The poem, Invictus, quoted in the movie, is very moving also.

Author: jl.anderson

Joined: 3/17/2010
Posts: 64
Countries Visited:

OAT/GCT: China, Peru, Ecuador, Ukraine, Russia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda; 35+ more countries

Traveler Since: 2007

May 08, 2013

I have yet to go to South Africa.  I'll go to OAT's Ultimate Africa with Cape Town extension in July.  Even OAT's extension does not offer Robben Island as an activity on that extension.  We do have free time however and I'll use that free time to travel on my own to Robben Island, booking the excursion in advance online.

My guess, and it's only a guess, for OAT and GCT to not include Robben Island as an activity is that the trip leader would not have any guiding or control of this activity as the guides on Robben Island do all the guiding, etc.  One cannot tour the island on your own and my understanding is it's quite controlled and timed.  When it's over you get back on the ferry and there's no lingering.  So it is something one can do easily without GCT/OAT.  Too bad you don't have a free morning or afternoon in Cape Town on GCT's trip if you want to do the optionals also.

Go with your gut - I think it's telling you to go to Robben Island. 

Judy

Author: tomnat

Joined: 6/4/2010
Posts: 71
Traveler Since: 2004

July 27, 2013

We did the great, memorable Robben Island optional in 2009, as part of GCT's late, but fantastic Cape to Cairo trip. We stongly recommend doing it on your own, substituting it for winery tours, etc. that you can do at home, etc. Note the president & first lady just took their daughters there. Having a former prisoner guide you where he, Mandela, etc. were imprisoned for decades should not be missed.

Our PD in 2009 asked our opinion of Robben Island, and said that GCT was thinking of dropping this optional, which apparently it has done. As we have mentioned in other posts, GCT (not OAT) seems to be deleting world class, not to be missed "Discoveries", e.g. Robben Island, Pompeii/Naples Archaelogical Museum, Pyrogovo Ukraine Folk Villages, etc. These deleted great discoveries were optionals, that, if you were not interested, you did not have to take or be charged for as part of the base trip/extension.

Please keep giving GCT feedback that you want their "Discoveries" to continue. We take these trips to continue in-person learning!!

Author: ddalexa

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

August 07, 2013

We loved both the Cape Town and the Robbin Island tours.  Our tour guide called ahead for 3 of us, using our 2 different credit cards (one couple, one single) and booked the tour by phone.  The lunch on the winery tour was nice but overall I would not hesitate to choose the other two tours over the winery tour.  This was on the prior tour that ran in April 2010. 

Our tour guide said that Robbin Island used to be part of the tour, but too often the boat couldn't embarck because of rough waves so they quite doing it.  It was part of my daughter's 'People to People' tour and I feel it should be included as part of  any trip to Cape Town.

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