4.5 star rating: Recommended 112 Reviews

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  • Address: Cape Town, South Africa
  • Hours: Open Daily - check site for ferry departure times.
  • Admission: R200 - reservations are strongly recommended

For nearly 300 years, Robben Island was a place of isolation, where political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, were imprisoned and cut off from the rest of the world. It also served as a voluntary sanctuary for lepers. Despite this unsavory past, Robben Island is an important piece of South Africa's history, as well as a reminder of the difficult road to South African Democracy and the victory over apartheid.

Robben Island was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999, and the Robben Island Museum is dedicated to preserving the memory and contributions of the freedom fighters held within its walls. The museum's exhibitions detail the life, times and struggles of its prisoners, particularly those of Robert Sobukwe and his commitment to Pan Africanism. A multimedia exhibit educates visitors on the history of South Africa's democracy.

Practical Info

In addition to its background as a political prison, Robben Island is also known for its conservation programs and wildlife. While its penguin population was nearly wiped out by the 19th century, the late 20th century saw the penguins return to prominence. Its name is Dutch for "seal island," and indeed, visitors can catch Cape fur seals in their natural environment, as well as spot southern right whales and dusky and heaviside dolphins. On land are small herds of springbok, bontebok and eland, and ostriches, lizards and three species of tortoise also roam the island's grounds.

A tip on getting there: since you take a ferry from the Nelson Mandela Gateway, space is limited and the attraction fills up fast. Do yourself a favor and get there at least 45 minutes early, or else you'll have to book a trip for the following day.

Tours & Tickets

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Full-Day Robben Island and Cape Town City Tour, Cape Town, null
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Full-Day Robben Island and Cape Town City Tour

4 star rating: Recommended 10 Reviews

A tour designed to maximize on your time in Cape Town, this tour includes all the ‘must-sees’ when in the Mother City – Robben Island, Table ...  Read more

Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $87.12
Full-Day Walk to Freedom Tour in Cape Town Including Robben Island, Cape Town, Full-day Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Full-Day Walk to Freedom Tour in Cape Town Including Robben Island

4.5 star rating: Recommended 7 Reviews

This tour offers a wealth of insight into South Africa’s history and past injustices, the legacy of the struggle and the promise of reconstruction and ...  Read more

Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $73.03
Robben Island and Cape Town City Private Tour, Cape Town, Full-day Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Robben Island and Cape Town City Private Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 4 Reviews

A tour designed to maximize on your time in Cape Town, this tour includes all the ‘must-sees’ when in the Mother City – Robben Island, Table Mountain and the ...  Read more

Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $153.32
Walk to Freedom Private Tour in Cape Town Including Robben Island, Cape Town, Private Sightseeing ... 
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Walk to Freedom Private Tour in Cape Town Including Robben Island

4 star rating: Recommended 1 Review

This tour offers a wealth of insight into South Africa’s history and past injustices, the legacy of the struggle and the promise of reconstruction and ...  Read more

Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $162.96
Cape Town Townships Tour including Robben Island, Cape Town, Private Sightseeing Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Cape Town Townships Tour including Robben Island

4.5 star rating: Recommended 83 Reviews

Experience a thought-provoking guided tour of Cape Town and Robben Island, where the late Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. Learn the sobering ...  Read more

Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $74.88
Half-Day Robben Island Tour from Cape Town, Cape Town, Cultural Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Half-Day Robben Island Tour from Cape Town

Robben Island needs no introduction with regards to the significance of its place in South Africa’s and indeed the world’s history.  As “home” to one of the ...  Read more

Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $129.75
Cape Town City Private Art Tour, Cape Town, Half-day Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Cape Town City Private Art Tour

Explore the history and evolution of the Mother City and the Cape with a special emphasis on art, culture and heritage. The program follows a traditional city ...  Read more

Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $96.16
Cape Town Helicopter Tour: Atlantic Coast, Cape Town, Private Sightseeing Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

Cape Town Helicopter Tour: Atlantic Coast

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 12 Reviews

Head to the skies on a 18-minute helicopter tour from Cape Town, and soar above the Atlantic coast, known locally as the Atlantic Seaboard. Leaving the V&A ...  Read more

Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 18 minutes (approx.)

From USD $305.83
Atlantic Beach Bike Tour from Cape Town, Cape Town, Helicopter Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

Atlantic Beach Bike Tour from Cape Town

With Table Mountain as the backdrop and the infamous Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for more than 28 years in the foreground, this tour ...  Read more

Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $120.00

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