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Robben Island Private Tour

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My husband and I are off to South Africa next month and will be sending 4.5 days in Cape Town. We are very interested in the history of the region and are excited by the prospect of visiting Robben Island. I have been reading some not so great reviews of the tours there and am wondering if a private tour might be a better option for us. Has anyone done a private tour and if so would you recommend it?


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    Howzit M and Happy New Year.

    While a couple of V&A Waterfront-based boat operators promote "Robben Island charters", these boat trips only sail around the island. The only way to actually visit Robben Island is by joining the official tour, which includes the return ferry ride from the Clocktower at the V&A Waterfront. You can't just take the ferry ride and then explore the island/prison independently. Although the R.I. Museum has tried to make the visit a better experience by training the guides (there is usually one guide for the bus tour of the island, and another guide/former inmate for the prison tour), alas the visit is still very dependent on your guide's skill and enthusiasm (often lacking) and to a lesser degree, the number of visitors that are on the island. I always suggest to my guests who are particularly enthused on visiting the island, to make sure they remain near the guide and to ask questions/interact with him/her. Otherwise you may end up simply plodding along in a line full of fellow travelers, merely taking photos without absorbing much.
    Happy travels in the Rainbow Nation.

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