Today we left just after breakfast to get back to Cape Town and check in at the hotel before our trip to Robben Island. We were booked on the ferry at 1pm. Luckily our room was ready when we got to the hotel.
We caught the ferry to Robben Island, which is 6.9 k from Cape Town.
In 1846 Robben Island was a Leper Colony, from 1961 to 1991 it was a maximum security prison for enemies of apartheid. In 1997, 3 years after the end of apartheid, it was shut down as a prison.
Nelson Mandela was a prisoner here for 18 years from 1964 to 1982. The cell that he slept in had a light bulb burning 24 hours a day, and he could walk the length of his room in 3 places. There was no bed to sleep on – it was a mat on the floor, and the toilet was a bucket.
We had a tour around the Island and an ex-political prisoner was there giving a talk about his experiences. Overall it was a pretty sobering tale, but one where hope was never lost and where the inmates had many years to talk and debate about how South Africa should be governed for the benefit of all its citizens.
After Robben Island we stopped at a Belgium restaurant. I had Fish soup plus pate. The soup was quite nice but the pate was more like a terrine than a pate that I am used to, and I didn’t really like it.
Back to the hotel to go through my gear one more time to see if there is anything else I don’t need, to try and get under the weight allowance.
Then an early night to make up for expected lack of sleep on the 9 hour plane ride to Dubai tomorrow.