4.5 star rating: Recommended 52 Reviews

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  • Location:Cape Town, South Africa
  • Duration:9 hours (approx.)

Cape Town Townships Tour including Robben Island

Take a fascinating trip through South Africa’s difficult past with a tour of Cape Town and Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison. Visit the District Six Museum to get an in-depth look at the troubling history of apartheid in South Africa, and see how that system still impacts modern life in townships like Khayelitsha, Langa and Gugulethu. See how residents of these townships work to improve their lives and communities. Take a ferry to UNESCO-listed Robben Island for a tour of the former prison for political prisoners.

Highlights

  • Full-day guided tour of Cape Town and Robben Island
  • Visit District Six Museum and learn about apartheid history
  • Travel to nearby townships, including Langa and Khayelitsha, and meet their inhabitants
  • Ferry to Robben Island and visit Nelson Mandela’s cell
  • Small group limited to 12 people to ensure a unique and intimate experience

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Cape Town Townships Tour including Robben Island

Tour one of the oldest apartheid housing schemes in the Cape

After getting picked up at your hotel, your first stop is the District Six Museum. This museum gives you an excellent look at the history of apartheid in this area, how it began in 1950 with the enforced eviction of more than 60,000 black South Africans from the district in order to make it an all-white neighborhood.

With this history in mind, your next stop is the township of Langa, the oldest township in Cape Town. Townships first sprang up under apartheid as places for non-whites to live. They were always in unsavory areas, and were essentially cut off from city infrastructure. In Langa with your guide, stop into a shebeen (tavern), go to a local market and visit a traditional healer. Next, visit Guga S’thebe Arts & Culture Centre to see the work being done to improve the lives of the Langa community, most of whom are Xhosa.

Next, head for the township of Khayelitsha. This is, by some estimates, the largest and fastest-growing township in the country. See both sturdy buildings made with bricks and mortar as well as hovels made with whatever is handy. This is a township with a budding infrastructure — including clinics and shopping malls.

Head back toward Cape Town for the last township visit, Gugulethu. This township was originally built specifically for migrant workers from the Transkei region of the Eastern Cape. Here, again, there are signs of both progress and poverty — shacks alongside restaurants and night clubs.

Back in Cape Town, enjoy some free time in the afternoon at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront where you can get lunch (own expense) before getting into a ferry to ride across Table Bay to Robben Island. The island was once a prison, where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison. Today, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site where former political prisoners give tours.

See Mandela’s cell in the prison — it’s roughly seven square feet (0.6 square meters) — and hear what life was like for him and the other prisoners there, including how he was made to dig in a quarry when officials found out he was acting as a leader during a prisoner rebellion.

Contemplate the distance Mandela traveled from these prison gates to the presidential office as you ride the ferry back to Cape Town. The tour ends with a drop-off at your Cape Town hotel.

Customer Reviews

Bill

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2016

both aspects of the day were eye opening and moving everyone should make these outstanding visits

lilybug

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2016

This tour was educational. Very sobering. Highly recommended

Judson P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2015

Van trip around Cape Town was very well done. Driver / trip leader was well informed about the area. Seeing District 6 first hand through the museum was very graphic. The visit to the Township was enlightening -- a amount of poverty is overwhelming.

The ferry ride to Robbin Island was fun to see Cape Town from another angle. It is hard to believe that Nelson Mandela could survive living there for all the years he did. It really showed the strength of his convictions to free the blacks.

Well done

YORK GEORGE

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Excellent tour of the old city and a visit to a township.

Sherman K

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Fantastic tour, highly recommended A to our tour guide.The way the tour is planned is excellent as you go to District 6 Museum first and are told about what happened when apartheid came into force in 1948, then visit a township and then spend the afternoon on Robben Island where you learn about how political prisoners where treated and got to see and walk the same halls of nelson Mandela amazing.

Myriam K

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Fantastic tour, highly recommended! The way the tour is planned is excellent as you go to District 6 Museum first and are told about what happened when apartheid came into force in 1948, you then visit a township and can see for yourselves the accommodation black people were moved to and then spend the afternoon on Robben Island where you learn about how political prisoners where treated. A real eye opener.

Nii O

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

The tour guide was just wonderful. Andyley was very knowledgeable and made us feel very safe.

Paula S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

This was a great tour which gave us the history of the townships and life for all under apartheid. It was well organised and the guide was first class. He was able to answer all our questions and took us for an intimate tour of the township. The township people were welcoming and as curious as we were and the children like all children were friendly welcoming and wanting us to interact with them.

Helena Australia

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

It was a very educational tour of Cape Town, it's history and seeing a side of Cape town that is not normally seen. Glad we pre-booked. Would recommend it to anyone who is visiting Cape Town.

Karen United States of ... 

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

The whole day tour gave you a great understanding about the formation of Cape Town from the mid 1600's up until today. It explain the government ruling and living standards from the Dutch, colored folks, and Blacks. The Langa Township tour was amazing to see. It was hard to witness the very poor living in the shanty town homes, hostels now turned into family communinal housing, the one bedroom home, and then the more affluent people living in a house with two bedrooms and a garage. What was definitely of note was they all lived near or next door to each other.

Robben Island was a 25 minute boat ride out to the island. The first hour bus ride drove you around to various places on the island. It showed you the leper colony, military cannons, limestone quarry where many prison mates worked while encampment. The second hour was a walking tour inside the prison. The tour was given by an actual prisoner. He told us his story about being sent there because of political reasons. He was sentenced to 25 years but was released after apartheid. You also got to see the cell where Nelson Mandela was housed and the other 12 objectors holdings.

A must see tour if you want to witness past history.

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Tour code: 6173CITYROB

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