'Robben Island is embarrassing'

2012-09-14 14:13
Cape Town – Readers have responded to reports that ferry services to Robben Island in Cape Town are repeatedly delayed in its ferry service.

Gideon Wentzel: ”We had some International visitors in March 2012 and had intentions of visiting Robin Island, the booking office advised us that the one ferry is in for maintenance and the other ferry is fully booked for two days and we should come back the following Monday, this was unacceptable since their travel arrangements brought them to Cape Town for only three days.  

As luck would have it the cable card was also out of service for maintenance during this period. We felt highly embarrassed, the comments from them was that they understand since this is a third world country. I had to contain myself so as not to feed them to the sharks but in this case I had to accept their stupid comments. I do not belief that we are a third world country, it is only because of some stupid individuals that is placed in Management positions that has no clue how to organize a kinder party, this is effecting and demoralizing to us as citizens of the most beautiful country in the World.

I would recommend they contract this out to the private sector and I will bet my last cent that within one single day we all of a sudden jump to a first world country in the eyes of foreigners vising our beautiful heritage sites."

Sarah subramani: "Went there end May 2012. Must say the worst part of that trip was the ferry ride! Thought we were going on the fancy looking Robben Island "yacht" only to be directed onto that old boat which looked like  it transported cattle. Seriously, for the price of the ticket, you'd expect far better.

It was really tough seas that day, and holding on for dear life didn't not make it any better. Needless to say, I won't ever go back to robben island. The brighter side was that all the tourists that day seemed to have enjoyed the experience."

Glen.E.Huysamer:" This is no surprise, the whole Robin Island operation has been deteriorating for years. They should hand over the Island to SAN PARKS to operate, and let them open the entire Island to visitors.

They should send a team over to Alcatraz and go learn how to run a slick operation, and copy the set up Alcatraz has. Alcatraz earns the parks and recreations in and around SanFrancisco millions in extra dollars, all profit is then shared amongst other park area's and various conservation efforts all around the bay area. Visiting Alcatraz is an experience one can never forget, the whole Island and prison is one giant show, with tourist wearing their own earphones which they can stop and start at their own leisure as they walk through all the various spots of interest. With recordings of actual interviews of the inmates, sound bites and all the history of the Island playing in your ear. It is quite an experience, something to remember.

Robin Island is an experience you actually want to forget, you walk off feeling as if you have been swindled. When you visit San Francisca it is a must see, and every cent spent on the trip is more than value for money. And SanFrancisco citizens are all proud to direct visitors to Alcatraz, because they know it is a good show. Time to reorganize Robin Island. Untill then, I will also not recommend Cape Town visitors to waste their money on a trip to Robin Island, It is actually quite a let down and an embarrassment."

Lerato.kay: "I was in Cape Town from Sunday to Tuesday, visited Robben Island on Monday, booked an 11am ferry and it was supposed to be Sikhululekile. True to this article, we were delayed by almost 50mins, all this time we were just queing with no idea as to what caused the delay. To my utter disgust we were told to board some funny old ferry can't remember the name. When we got to the island, there was no bus to carry us around we had to start by touring the D section on foot. For real, Get your house in order. Table Mountain is still lekker I must add!"

D_MAN: "Its pathetic. Saw it on the news last night. That CEO does not know what he is going. How can the ferry be on dry dock for four months???? It does not take four months to service. Then it gets put back in the water and with in a month it gets taken out to have the engines worked on... why was it not all done when the ferry was on dry dock for four months. Guess thats what you get when it's run by BEE... Plus to go visit Robben Island is a bloody rip off for local South Africans and yet look what the Island looks like."

Chris.dixon.942: "I went to Robben Island two weeks ago on a small smelly crowded boat with limited seating. The tour was fine but Robben Island is looking shabby and dilapidated. The village has derelict buildings and knee-high weeds all over the place. It looks as if it has been totally forgotten about. The prison is clean but also shabby. It is disgraceful."

We contacted Mr Mkhize, CEO of Robben Island Museum who had the following to say, "Sikhululekile has been operating since Wednesday. The reason for the four month delay was because it was undergoing a major service necessary after 7 000km. We did the service during winter when numbers are expected to be low. We knew it was going to take a long time, but we're pleased that the main ferry is now back in action.

Regarding the upkeep of Robben Island, we are responsible for the museum and the conservation on the island. General maintenance is the responsibility of the Department of public works and I can't comment on that."


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