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Robben Island Ticket & Cape Town Essential Museum tour including Zeitz MOCAA

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Stop At: Robben Island Museum, Cape Town Central 7400 South Africa

Soon after we have collected you from your hotel or accomodation in Cape Town and surrounding areas, we will proceed to the clock tower at the waterfront, (Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island) where you will take a ferry to Rooben Island museum maximum security prison where our former President and Father of our Nation the late President Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his life in prison. You will be with other people in the ferry. Upon arrival at the Island, an ex prisoner will take you on the tour of the prison including Nelson Mandela cell. This will be followed by a bus tour of the Island. Your tour guide will not join you. Please keep your ticket safe, as you will need to present it upon return. Since the end of the 17th century, Robben Island has been used for the isolation of mainly political prisoners. The Dutch settlers were the first to use Robben Island as a prison. Its first prisoner was probably Autshumato in the mid-17th century.From 1961, Robben Island was used by the South African government as a prison for political prisoners and convicted criminals. In 1969 the Moturu Kramat, which is now a sacred site for Muslim pilgrimage on Robben Island, was built to commemorate Sayed Abdurahman Moturu, the Prince of Madura. You will learn more from the site tour guide. The entire boat trip and museum tour will last 3 to 4 hours.

Duration: 4 hours

Stop At: Zeitz MOCAA, South Arm Rd Silo District, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town Central 8001 South Africa

Upon return from the Island, your tour guide will allow time to have a bite at a restaurant nearby (at own account) before we can explore the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA). This is a contemporary art museum located at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa. It is the largest museum of contemporary African art in the world.The public not-for-profit museum was commissioned through a public/private partnership between the V&A Waterfront and German businessman, Jochen Zeitz. The Waterfront invested over R500-million towards its construction and infrastructure development, and although not a shareholder, Zeitz has loaned his extensive art collection for his lifetime. Considered by many to be one of the world's leading collections of contemporary art from Africa and its Diaspora, Zeitz's collection includes works by such eminent artists as Chris Ofili, Kudzanai Chiurai, Kehinde Wiley, Glenn Ligon, Marlene Dumas, Wangechi Mutu, and Julie Mehretu.

The Waterfront had been investigating a number of proposals regarding what to do with the historic Grain Silo since it was decommissioned in 2001.[3] According to their CEO, David Green, the decision to transform and renovate the building for the new museum would "breathe life into the Silo district and act as a draw card to a venture that is non-commercial in nature ... specifically for the enjoyment of all the continent’s citizens".[4] While others have noted that the strategic partnership with Zeitz also serves to connect the existing properties of the Waterfronts's owners (Growthpoint Properties and the Government Employees Pension Fund) with the developing financial district in Cape Town's lower CBD.[3] The conversion of the Silo building began in 2014 under the direction of London-based architect, Thomas Heatherwick.[3]

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Castle of Good Hope, Corner of Buitenkant and Strand streets, Cape Town Central 8001 South Africa

From here, we will drive to the Cape Castle, one of the oldest building in South Africa, and a must do on your Cape Town Tours Museums bucket list.Obviously space will not allow us to delve into the rich, difficult history of this world-famous building. Save to say that the story of his Castle is a story of our young country. It is a story of joy, pain, tears, laughter, disappointment, fear, hope – and all the other human emotions that characterize us as a nation…

Built between 1666 and 1679, the Castle is known as the oldest surviving building in South Africa and has been the centre of civilian, political and military life at the Cape from approximately 1679.

In its current state, the Castle arguably represents one of the best preserved 17th century DEIC architecture on the entire globe. The 2015 – 2016 renovation of the Castle – the first in 20 years – will further enhance its appeal and position it well to become South Africa’s next UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This historical building now houses, among others, the William Fehr Collection managed by Iziko Museums of South Africa, an permanent ceramic exhibition (FIRED) and the Castle Military Museum.

The Castle was, however, not the first fort to be built at the Cape. A quadrangular (four-pointed) fort was built after the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck in 1652 where the Grand Parade and the main Post Office are situated today. This fort was completed towards the end of 1653 and its inner structures in 1656. However, constant problems were experienced: The walls of the fort, which were constructed mainly of clay, collapsed and required constant repairs. A model of this original fort can be seen in the Castle Military Museum.Jan van Riebeeck left the Cape in 1662, and was succeeded by Zacharias Wagenaer. In 1664 there were renewed rumours of war between Britain and the Netherlands. Fearing a British attack on the Cape, the Lords Seventeen instructed Wagenaer to build a five-pointed stone Castle similar to other such fortifications in Europe and the East. The Castle was planned around a central point – a water-well under the “Boog” – with five bulwarks known as bastions.

The site of the new Castle was chosen in 1665 by the Commissioner and later first Governor of the Cape, Isbrand Goske. The engineer, Pieter Dombaer, was responsible for the construction of the Castle which was built by slaves, Khoikhoi, burghers, and company workers. (Anna Ras, die Kasteel en Ander Vestingswerke, p56, 57)

The foundations were dug in 1665 and the cornerstones of the first bastion, later known as the Leerdam Bastion, were laid on the 2nd January 1666, after which building started in all earnest. Three hundred sailors, commandeered from passing ships, soldiers, local Khoikhoi, women and slaves were used as workforce, breaking stone and collecting shells which were burned in lime ovens. One often wonder what was the real human cost of building this European fortress on African soil.

Clinker bricks, also known as “Ijsel-stene”, which were brought as ballasts in Dutch ships, were offloaded at the Cape and were used as decorative features in certain parts of the Castle.

In 1667 peace returned to Europe, which caused building on the Castle to be delayed. The first bastion, Leerdam, was completed on the 5 November 1670. Buuren, Catzenellenbogen, Nassau and Oranje followed.

In 1672 the outbreak of war in Europe caused the building of the Castle to be resumed with new vigour. In 1679 the Castle was completed. It was called a Castle because, as in the case of other Castles in Europe, in addition to being a defensive structure, it comprised a small community or town on its own.

Inside the Castle walls there were among others a church, bakery, workshops, living quarters, offices, cells and numerous other facilities.

The slate used as paving in the Castle came from quarries on Robben Island. Wood was brought from Hout Bay. The cement used to build the Castle was obtained by burning shells in lime kilns at Robben Island until they formed lime. This lime was mixed with shells and sand to form extremely strong cement. (Historical Buildings in South Africa, p. 8) This means that the Castle is intrinsically linked to two of South Africa’s icons and UNESCO World Heritage sites – Table Mountain and Robben Island.

The yellow paint on the walls was chosen because it reduces the glare from the sunlight, and reflects less heat. You may recall that former president Nelson Mandela damaged his eyes whilst working in the lime quarries of Robben Island during his long imprisonment there. (Historical society of Cape Town, Newsletter 3, December 1986)

In 1982, a comprehensive restoration process was started to restore the Castle to its former glory. The process was completed early in 1993. Another exciting restoration and renovation is planned to proceed towards the end of 2014.The Castle is entered through the Main Gateway from the Grand Parade and City Hall side. This entrance was built between 1682 and 1684 to replace the original entrance which was situated between the Buuren and Catzenellenbogen bastions. There are also two smaller entrances to the Castle.

This gateway offers a window on the past. The pediment above the entrance bears the coat-of-arms of the United Netherlands, portraying the crowned lion rampant with the seven arrows of unity in its paw. On the architrave below are carved the arms of the cities of Hoorn, Delft, Amsterdam, Middelburg, Rotterdam and Enkhuizen. These were the Dutch cities in which the United East India Company had chambers. The company’s monogram, VOC, flanks the carvings on either side.

The two pilasters, the entablature and pediment above are built of a grey-blue slate from Robben Island. Built of small yellow bricks, called “Ijsselstein”, the entrance is a unique example of 17th century Dutch classicism in South Africa.

Looking at the Main Gateway from the courtyard, a baroque gable is seen above the entrance. The gable is typically Cape-Dutch and dates back to the early eighteenth century. A painting of the gable by Lady Anne Barnard (painted between 1797 and 1803) was traced to Britain and the colours scheme of the gable was chosen accordingly. The correctness of this bright colour scheme has been confirmed by the Netherlandse Monumenten Zorg. (Dutch Monument Care) (Ref: Mr Green, Restoration Architect, Dept. of Public Works). The relief work is a replica consisting of four basic military elements, which are unusual features in gable decoration namely a flag, a regimental banner, drum, mortar and a pyramid of cannonballs. It is crowned by the helmet of a knight and various weapons of a knight are also shown. On either side of the entrance are the statues of Mercury, the god of commerce and Neptune, the sea god (with the trident)......

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: City Hall, Darling Street, Cape Town Central South Africa

From the Castle of Good Hope, we will stop at the City Hall building in town, where Nelson Mandela delivered his first speech to the the public on the 11th of February 1990, as he was released from jail. We will take some memorable photos at this location before heading to our last museum, the famous district six.

Duration: 15 minutes

Stop At: District Six Museum, 25A Buitenkant Street, Cape Town Central 8001 South Africa

Our last stop will be here at this museum known as the district six museum.About District Six Museum. When the apartheid government swooped on District Six, Cape Town in 1965, forcibly removing its occupants and declaring the area a "whites-only" zone, the rich fabric of an impoverished but vibrant community was torn to shreds. After learning about the injustices which the people of district six suffered during the forced removal, we will stop lastly at Bo Kaap for photos opportunities.

Duration: 45 minutes

Stop At: Bo-kaap, Cape Town Central South Africa

Photos opportunities will be on offer in this colourful houses location.The Malay Quarter, known by some as “Bo-Kaap” and built largely by and for the artisans of Cape Town between 1790 and 1825, was subsequently occupied by people of the Moslem faith. These included political exiles from Java and Ceylon, who moved into the area around 1820. Liberated slaves moved into the area after 1834 and with them Malay people who had been living in the town. Over the years the area has come to be identified as the heart of the cultural life of the Malay people. Major influences of their life in the Cape have been their religion, the culture of their forebears, visits to Mecca and the Dutch and English colonists.

The Quarter extends over 34 ha (85 acres) bounded by Buitengracht, Rose Street, Carisbrook Street, Strand Street and the slopes of Signal Hill. The housing is made up of long continuous rows of small, mostly single-storeyed, flat roofed houses; staggered to step down the slopes. All the houses face on to the street, with access to the front door immediately off the pavement via the narrow stoeps which have low brick walls and stoep-seats at each end. The straight parapets are decorated with mouldings.The houses have stone foundations and walls of sun-dried bricks laid in mud mortar protected by lime plaster, and lime washed in various colours. Yellow-wood beams and boarding hold the roof, made up of bricks laid in clay and covered with lime plaster and kept watertight with whale-oil molasses and more recently covered with tar or bitumen. For reasons of economy the roofs of the restoration houses are of corrugated aluminium.

Two basic styles predominate the Malay Quarter - Cape Dutch and Cape Georgian - the character of the styles being very similar. The unifying elements are the windows, fanlights and doors and parapets. The design and proportions of these were Cape Dutch, and later, with the British occupations, came the Georgian style and Adam proportions.

The Cape Dutch style continued to be used in the Georgian era and these two styles became assimilated into their distinctive formThe mosques seem, both physically and metaphysically, to integrate all the elements of the area. The corner shops, a Regency (late Georgian) innovation, generate activity. The scale of the street is of the pedestrian; it is a social space, where people gather and talk and children play, reminiscent of old cities in Europe.

A part of the Malay Quarter, that is the streets Wale, Church, Shortmarket and Rose and Chiapinni Streets, was declared a National Monument [Provincial Heritage Site under current legislation] in 1966 and in 1971 the City Council began the first phase of restoration. Care is being taken that the existing beauty and unity be preserved as an example of traditional, Cape, domestic architecture. It is intended that that the cobbled streets will be restored and lamps will replace electricity poles and cables.

Restoration is proceeding apace with 48 of the 52 dwellings completed. It is planned that further dwellings are to be declared National Monuments and restored. From here , we will drop you off at your accomodation

Duration: 15 minutes
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Important Information
Departure Point
Traveler pickup is offered
We will collect you from your hotel or any address provided in cape Town
Departure Time
8:00 AM
  • Hotel Pick Up & Drop Off, Bottled Water, Robben Island Ticket, Zeitz Museum Ticket, Castle ticket
  • Entry/Admission - Robben Island Museum
  • Entry/Admission - Zeitz MOCAA
  • Entry/Admission - Castle of Good Hope
  • Entry/Admission - District Six Museum
  • Food=Drinks/ Gratuities are optional
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Additional Info
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Infant seats available
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate
Cancellation Policy
All sales are final and incur 100% cancellation penalties.
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Key Details
  • Duration: 8h
  • Mobile Ticket Accepted
  • Instant confirmation
  • Languages Offered: English, French, Portuguese
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