Discover The Cape

September Newsletter

Cape Town Accommodation, Tours & Travel

Get on the Boat

Greetings fellow discoverers, and welcome to another report from your trusty and much loved Caped Discoverer. Thank you for all the fan mail and marriage proposals received this week, they are always appreciated. This month I thought I'd focus on another well known and much visited Cape Town landmark, Robben Island.

The island is situated about 12km off Cape Town, and you can actually see it from the V & A Waterfront. From this vantage point you then have two options. You can either take long distance photographs using a powerful lens, or you can actually take a boat trip there and walk around the island. There are a number of tour operators who will gladly take you. This excursion would appeal greatly to the discerning tourist looking for some historical stimulation. In case you've been in a coma for many years, this is the island where former president Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years. You can take a tour around the museum, check out the jail cells, listen to guides talking about life on the island, and try to recover from the ordeal of the boat trip.

Yes, there is a boat trip involved, in notoriously choppy waters as well, so motion sickness tablets is a prerequisite. If not, prepare to develop a decidedly green tinge to your complexion for much of the journey. I sent one of my trusty minions to review the Robben Island experience for me, and although finding the tour itself informative, he found the boat journey there quite an ordeal. "The boat journey there is quite an ordeal," he murmured as his eyes glazed over, and he made me promise never to make him get on a boat again.

Don't let that deter you though, it isn't very long (the boat trip, not the tour), about 30 minutes to be exact, so just knuckle down and get through it. Once you're on the island you can gawk at the lovely plant life, and the assortment of animals which live there. The northern part of the island was declared a bird sanctuary so be very wary of flying projectiles as you walk around outside, as those damn birds have no respect. There are also ostriches, rabbits and bucks living there but tragically, no lions or leopards (that would make the tour even more interesting)

So if you're at a loss one day and don't know what to do with yourself, take a trip on the boat. It's one of those "you have to do this if you're in Cape Town" activities and it's reasonably priced. During Winter they slashed their prices to R60 per person. Seeing as it's the first month of Spring though, ergo warmer and clearer weather, they have reverted to normal tariffs. This means R150 per person which includes the tour itself (3 - 4 hours depending on the mood of the guide, I guess) and the boat trip there and back. (Unless you're planning on smuggling yourself over there and living as a hermit)

Your children (4-17 years) get to go there for half the price and if you hate your kids there's always the opportunity of leaving them there, or at least threatening to do so.

In summary then, what you'll need for this journey:

Money (unless you're a celebrity looking for a free perk)
Motion sickness tablets (you won't need it if you're tough like me though)
Camera (it's a world heritage site after all)
A cap or hat (the sea air and wind will spoil your hairdo)

Have fun. Listen intently and feel humbled by the haunting images and stories you hear. Or stay on the Waterfront docks and take long distance pics, whatever yanks your chain. Till next month then.

Signing off.
The Caped Discoverer


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Robben Island

Robben Island


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