Robben Island, South Africa

Robben Island

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Robben Island is a UNESCO world heritage sight in South Africa, telling the story and struggle of some of Africa's greatest heroes during colonial rule times. The Island is a small land mass located 10 kilometers North off the coast of Cape Town.

The Island was discovered by Bartolomeu Dias in 1488 and for many years used as a refueling station for Portuguese sailors and later by the English and Dutch. The Island was bountiful with seals, hence the name Robben which is Dutch for seals. During the apartheid regime, Robben Island was used as a prison and housed some famous freedom fighters who were against the regime. One of these freedom fighters was Nelson Mandela, who spent 18 of his 27 years on the Island before ending the regime and bringing about true democracy in the country. 

Today The Island is a world heritage sight standing as a symbol that displays the strength of the human spirit over the ills of oppression and an unjust world.


  • Visit the prison that once held Nelson Mandela for 18 years.
  • Visit Nelson Mandela's cell.
  • Explore Robben Island and its history on a guided tour.
  • Enjoy a Ferry trip to the Island

Why Go?

Robben Island tours are incredible, offering our guests an unforgettable moment as they explore this notorious Island. The tours begin at the V&A Waterfront, where you'll hop on a ferry at the Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island. Along your journey, you'll witness the most impeccable views of the city with the iconic Table mountain serving as a backdrop. 

As you arrive at the Island you'll hop on a bus and undergo a 45-minute guided tour of the Island visiting areas such as the lepers' graveyards and the quarry where political prisoners were once put to work. Your final destination will be the maximum prison where you'll be led by an ex-prisoner on a guided tour entailing the dark history of the prison. You'll even get to visit the cell that once held Nelson Mandela for 18 years. The entire Robben Island tour lasts for about 3 - 4 hours in total, allowing you to enjoy a half-day tour on the Island.

For those that can't get enough of the Island, why not explore the Island from a different perspective through a Robben Island helicopter flight tour. The flight takes you across the Atlantic Ocean giving you an impressive bird's eye view of the cityscape, before encircling the Island from the skies. You'll get to see this amazing landmass from the skies while enjoying a relaxed flight.

When to Go?

November to March are the best times of the year to visit Robben Island as these are the summer seasons, allowing for a safe ride to the Island and enjoying a sunny day out. The best time to visit the Island is during the 9 am trip, as the ferries are not overloaded and this tends to be the coolest time of the day.

Where to Go?

On this spectacular tour, our top tour guides will fetch you from your accommodations and take you to the V&A Waterfront where you'll begin your journey to the Island. At the end of your experience, they'll be waiting for you at the entrance and take you back to your accommodation, optionally we have packages that allow our guests to combine this experience with other activities, such as taking a helicopter flight around Cape Town, visiting Table Mountain, going for a wine tasting tour in the wine country of South Africa and many more. 

Let's get in touch to tailor your tour to fit your needs from our expert travel agents.

This Destination is Famous For

Nelson Mandela held in the Robben Island prison
UNESCO world heritage sight
Symbol of freedom

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