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Unread 17 Feb 19, 04:37 PM  
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BONZO
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Cape Town Capers - Day 3 Robben Island

Day 3 - Saturday 12th January 2019

Cape Town Capers
January 2019


Cast (its the usual one!)
Me: Shaun, 50s, loves travelling, eating and drinking (not necessarily in that order!)
Alison: 50s, ditto to the above!


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We both slept quite well and were up, showered and having a coffee by around 8.30 or so. The weather looked a lot clearer today so we had a better view of Table Mountain from our bedroom.



Breakfast was included in the room rate and was a very pleasant buffet, all very civilised. Interesting mix of African, European and Asian food options including a made to order omelette station.





Because of the time we left the hotel we decided to get an Uber down to the V & A instead of the shuttle bus as times didnt suit. We chatted away to a lovely lady from Zimbabwe who was our driver this morning.

We walked around the seafront and took some pictures then wandered back over the road and through the shopping centre. On the way we picked up some bottled water for the day. Alison mentioned that she wasnt sure if shed locked the safe in our room. I thought it was highly unlikely as shes pretty good at that sort of thing unlike me but it played on her mind a bit for a while, before she decided that she was pretty sure she had! Doh!

We walked past a number of shops and outlets that we hadnt seen previously before entering the Robben Island tour building. Wed pre-booked this a number of weeks earlier. We sat down and watched the introductory video before moving into the holding area to pick up our ferry service. A guy came in and said that one of the boats had gone tech and that about 40 of us would have to miss the trip today. People could get a full refund or be re-scheduled onto another trip.

We shuffled forward and sharpened our elbows just to make sure that no one jumped the queue (it was pretty much first come first served) but we made this particular slot and all was fine. The odd thing about this boat was that all seating was confined to inside, no outdoor space. We watched a poorly made safety video and then were told about the food and drink delights available on board but no booze, not that it was an issue to us.

Boat fully loaded we made our way out to Robben Island and boy was the sea rough, so rough in fact that the crew were doing a brisk trade in handing out sick bags and toilet tissue to all and sundry.

Green faced people rushed off the boat onto Terra Firma only to be greeted by an overwhelming stench of Guano from all the birdlife around the dock area, a bit of a double whammy for some really. We walked away from the dockside and into a holding area to pick up a bus to take us on a brief tour of the island.



We hung around for a while before being told that due to the earlier boat break down there was an issue with the buses being backed up on the tours. Ah well not to worry, it was a beautiful day and we didnt have anything else to do other than enjoy the island. So we relaxed and waited.




Eventually a bus arrived and we piled on; then we were given a guided tour of the main parts of the island and their significance to the history of the place, famous prisoners and the different prisons etc.





Once off the bus we were greeted by our tour guide, an ex-political prisoner from the 70s who was fascinating. He gave us a real insight to conditions and daily life on the island back in the day and how people were treated. You can read all the history books you like but first hand testimony is unbeatable.

We were shown inside various prison buildings and cells, including Nelson Mandelas last cell which was smaller than the kennels used for the guard dogs!



Anyway, the displays and information contained was superb and our guide said its only about 5% of the total archive available.








We chatted a while to our guide about his time in prison and what he was imprisoned for, nice to see these guys employed in this way.






Anyway, typical exit via the gift shop before getting back on the boat and the crew doing another brisk trade in sick bags for the return crossing to the V&A area.

We had a lovely view of Table Mountain from the dock area on Robben




The V & A was heaving today as (a) it was a Saturday and (b) it was the last weekend of the school holidays for the locals. We grabbed a hot dog each and shared a cold drink just to keep us going for a while before settling down to wait for the hotel shuttle bus to take us back to the hotel.



We had a good chat with the driver who mentioned a few places to visit and eat and also talked about the hotels chauffeur service. We hadnt heard anything about that when we checked in although I did vaguely remember noticing something in the lobby but didnt take too much notice of it.

Once back in our roof Alison checked the safe and as expected all was locked up phew!

We had a couple of hot drinks and looked over our plans for the week and tourist maps before deciding to go to Camps Bay. Now armed with the chauffeur knowledge we phoned down to the front desk and enquired about the car. They said they had one and it could be pre-arranged for any journey up to a 10 Kilometre journey and Camps bay fell within that distance. We arrived at reception and was escorted outside to the waiting car a brand new Jaguar F-Pace!

Our driver settled us in and pointed out the cold towels and iced water next to the back seats for our use. He charmed us as we drove through to Camps Bay, taking in the local sights along the way. The town looked very similar to an English seaside town apart from the sun and expanse of sandy beach. We walked on the sand for a while as the huge Atlantic rollers came crashing in, all very dramatic. The noticeable thing was that there was no one swimming, I guess because of the huge waves and the frighteningly cold sea temperature.















We took a couple of selfies and people watched for a while and walked up and down the strip looking for somewhere suitable for eat and drink. After a while we settled on a small but perfectly formed Hard Rock Caf and made our way upstairs so that we had a good view of the sea.




I had a Newlands spring beer, brewed locally and delicious. Alison tucked into a couple of cocktails and later the manager came over for a quick chat to make sure everything was ok which was a nice touch.









We watched the sun slowly set over the sea and drank it all in before moving on for somewhere local to eat. Oh well, thats another Hard Rock Caf ticked off the list, one day I must get the full list and tick them off as we go. Ive since looked and I think theres about 260 of them - Im up for a challenge!

Keeping with holiday tradition we found a local Thai Restaurant called the Phuket Restaurant in the centre, theres a joke there somewhere Im sure! Tiny little place that seemed to comprise of the owner / chef and a waiter but thats never put us off. Service and food was good and hit the spot for us. We shared a starter platter, then I had a curry and Alison had her usual Pad Thai. Together with a large water, and couple of beers and ciders it came to around 20.







Alison phoned the hotel but no transport back was available so we just got an Uber back to the hotel and settled down for a coffee and scotch in the room before calling it a night.

Last photo - we both caught a bit too much sun today!


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Edited at 07:46 PM.
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Unread 17 Feb 19, 05:19 PM  
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Loved reading that. My in-laws moved to Kommetjie many years ago and we did visit then but haven't been back for 10 years. Planning a trip in September with friends and will be going to Robben Island as we have never been. Hope we don't encounter the tech issue!
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Unread 17 Feb 19, 07:06 PM  
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anji
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Loving this report! I was lucky enough to achieve/win a trip with an old job to Cape Town. Just loved it. We stayed on for a couple of nights after the end of the official trip and stayed at Camps Bay then.

We went to Robben Island. What a terrible place. I went to Alcatraz later that same year, which was like the Hilton compared to Robben Island.


Looking forward to reading the rest of your stay. Hope you got to Boulders Beach to see the penguins and down to the Cape - ostriches on the beach!
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Unread 17 Feb 19, 07:45 PM  
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BONZO
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Originally Posted by anji View Post
Loving this report! I was lucky enough to achieve/win a trip with an old job to Cape Town. Just loved it. We stayed on for a couple of nights after the end of the official trip and stayed at Camps Bay then.

We went to Robben Island. What a terrible place. I went to Alcatraz later that same year, which was like the Hilton compared to Robben Island.


Looking forward to reading the rest of your stay. Hope you got to Boulders Beach to see the penguins and down to the Cape - ostriches on the beach!
Thanks - Alcatraz already booked for next month - Pre-trip to be done shortly so will compare the two like you.

Boulders Beach and down to the Cape coming up later
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1988 ~ Contemporary ~ Honeymoon
1989 ~ Off site
1994 ~ EuroDisney ~ Santa Fe
1999 ~ Off site
2001 ~ CBR (Aruba) ~ Poly (Tahiti)
2003 ~ WL & HRH
2004 ~ Pop Century, RPH, CSR, PBH, Contemporary
2006 ~ DLP ~ Newport Bay
2007 ~ POR ~ HRH ~ GF
2008 ~ All star sports, BCV, RPH, Vero Beach, VWL
2010 ~ OKW ~ BCV ~ HRH ~POP Century ~ Vero Beach ~ VWL
2013 ~ AKL ~ HRH ~ BCV ~ Vero Beach ~ VWL
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Unread 17 Feb 19, 09:06 PM  
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What a fascinating visit to Robben Island. Though the trip over sounds a bit rough!
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Unread 2 Mar 19, 09:05 PM  
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