We booked tickets online some months in advance as we felt this was one place you "had" to visit whilst in Cape Town; and did this as part of a whole day spent at the V&A Waterfront.
We went on the 1pm catamaran sailing, which was a comfortable 30min crossing each way, watching variosu relevant documentaries on the catamaran to/from Robben Island.
With hindsight, because it was a hot day and the busses they ferry you around on are not air-conditioned, we wished we had either gone earlier or later in the day.
The tour of the island, once we got there was a bit of a mixed bag, in that we had a lady guide on the 45 min bus section of the trip who was a little too political in her "aggressive" story-telling (you almost felt you she was holding you responsible for any persecutions she had experienced in life). Yet, the former inmate who guided us round the internal part of the prison visit, was charming, charismatic and fascinating to listen to, whilst he told his life story and shared his experiences of prison life at Robben Island.
Those 45 mins with him made it all worthwhile! He even continues to live voluntarily on the island with his family, with his day job being a tour guide on the prison visits....
Inside the prison itself, you can access more than a dozen cells, each containing the heart-wrenching stories of the political prisoners who were incarcerated within these cells - well worth reading.
This is no short trip, as you need to allow at least 4hrs, and to be honest some parts of it were spoiled by the patronising way in which the lady bus guide presented herself, but there is so much history in this place, that we felt it was a worthwhile trip to see where history was created, and to meet and talk to people like the ex political prisoner that we had the pleasure of meeting.
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