As you all know I LOVE South Africa and Cape Town and I love being in the tourism industry. My big mission in life is to create as many positive ambassadors for this country as possible. The media in Europe LOVES talking down on anything bad happening in South Africa and only guests of this country will go back with positive stories and tell people that they MUST come and visit and not miss out.
Since I’ve started my company in 2004, Robben Island has been a disappointing experience. Yes, tourists just want to visit, they just want to see the prison cell of Nelson Mandela but every time they come back, they come back with negative feedback about the experience. I’ve done the tour about 5 times myself over the years and I also never had a good experience. From making a reservation by telephone and being rudely assisted or on hold for ever to rude guides or even guides who asked for money while in the bus tour of the island. The English of the guides is in general very bad and they build no rapport with the people visiting. They speak too much, too fast and the information is not available in other languages. Chewing gum while talking in a microphone and offending guests with their so called ‘jokes’. It’s simply unacceptable!
I never recommend Robben Island to any of my guests. I just tell them to rather read the Mandela biographies or any other biography from the freedom fighters. Robben Island museum is a horrible place to visit. An experience that could easily be turned into something magnificent, just with a little training and customer service. But again, it’s easy money, people want to visit anyway so no one needs to make any effort. Just charge whatever you want to charge, add 10-15% each year and don’t take responsibility for anything. It’s disgusting!
I wish the Robben Island Museum could be managed by Iziko Museums or Table Mountain Cable Way who both do an excellent job giving tourists a wonderful experience.
I’m not in the know of who is responsible for what and I’m not really interested. Too much negative energy. I just know that what’s happening at Robben Island now is just absolutely wrong. I will continue advising guests NOT to visit.