• Location: Cape Town, South Africa
  • Duration: 9 hours (approx.)
From USD $ 95.26 View price calendar

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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

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

debbiekelso

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2018

Picked up promptly and had a good tour.

Kristin O

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2018

This tour was amazing!

mhawke

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2018

We were picked up from our hotel and taken to the District Six Museum, where our took us round the museum and explained the history behind it. After we were taken to the township of Lago, visiting family homes. We were taken to the waterfront and got the ferry over to Robben Island, which is a must if visiting Cape Town. Was fascinating to learn about the island and conditions from a ex-prisoner and some absolutely breathtaking views of Cape Towm

James M R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2017

One of the highlights of our trip was our tour of the townships with Zandi his full Cosi name was too much for most westerns to pronounce. Zandi arrived on time with a warm greeting. He then took us to the District 6 museum. On the way he shared historical and personal information about the history of apartheid and the significance of Area Six. At the museum he also gave us an overview of the exhibits museum.
After our museum visit Zandi took us to a township and not only provided us with the usual tourist overview, he also gave us insights into the community and helped us practice the Cosi greetings. Once at the township we visited the community center and then took a walk through the township. I must say that with Zandi I felt less of voyeur and more of a welcomed guest. This tour is a must for anyone who wants to see how the history of apartheid still impacts the daily lives of people of South Africa. We look forward to our next visit and are hopeful we will be able to tour with Zandi again.

The day concluded with a trip to Robben Island. We were fortunate to have great weather and calm seas for the ferry trip and visit. Although it makes sense, it would have been nice to know that everyone must stay inside the ferry during the 20-30 ride to the island. All ofstaff one the island was amazing and I would highly recommend the trip. The history of the island is so much more than the prison that held Mandela and they do an incredible job of sharing the islands history.

Jayne H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2017

Our guide arrived at our guest house about 10 mins before the stated arrival time. Coach was clean and our guide Anderlay and driver were both very friendly. Anderlay was very knowledgable and wanted to share his knowledge with us. There were 14 people on our tour and he made everyone feel welcome.

Robyn B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2017

Not only do you get to see the prison, but the bus takes you around the whole island which is excellent! A great tour, and so interesting to hear the ex prisoner talk about daily life in prison. The ferry ride was great too, but will be cancelled if the weather is bad, so don't leave it until the last minute to do this tour.

marywardrop

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2017

Again picked up on time...tour started off at district 6 museum, tour guide was very knowledgeable and polite...the townships of Lagos was very sad, we went to a nursery and visited a families house, the living conditions were so sad...Robben Island in the afternoon was very good...and tour finished at 5...very good value for money

Dianne G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2017

Highly recommended! Vuyo was a great guide, punctual to pick us up from hotel, friendly, informative, good driver! Good insight into townships of Cape Town, walked with local guide around Lago. District 6 museum an eyeopener to what happened during Apartheid when people relocated to separate areas dependant on race/colour and so many homes needlessly demolished. Visited a kindy wish I'd known this before hand so could buy some coloured pencils etc for children. Robben Island well organised with bus tour around island then a tour of prison with an ex - political prisoner of 7 years who gave us a personal insight into his time spent on Robben Island. Great tour to really appreciate social issues Cape Town is still struggling with.

Tony P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2017

Township tour was really good especially having such a well informed and engaging guide. Robben bIsland was a bit below par, expected something better but I don't know what. Maybe I expecting more after the township experience.

Bruno P United Kingdom

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2017

Our guide picked us up from our hotel in time, followed by a stop at the District 6 Museum and Township tour. This part of the tour was very informative and eye opening to the many contrasts in South Africa. Then the guide dropped us off for Robben Island. Robben Island is a must visit location if you're out in Cape Town! Amazing history and despite some of it's past, it's also a beautiful island!

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