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  • Address: Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
  • Hours: Daily
  • Admission: R200

Cape Town ATTRACTIONS See all

Robben Island Tours

In 1964, an anti-apartheid revolutionary named Nelson Mandela was arrested and brought to South Africa’s Robben Island, just west of Cape Town. He would spend the next 18 years imprisoned in an 8x7-foot cell, forced to do hard labor, and permitted only one visitor a year. Even so, Mandela went on to become his country’s first black president, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, and known globally for his significant contributions to human rights and social justice.


Robben Island—where most of Mandela’s 27-year prison sentence was served—was a place of isolation for nearly 300 years, housing many political prisoners and serving as both a lunatic asylum and leper colony. Today, the island remains a tangible symbol of political freedom and a reminder of the difficult road to South African democracy. Read on to learn more about how to visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site.


The Basics

Most tours depart from Cape Town and include transport from city hotels, the boat trip to the island, and time at the former maximum security prison. Upon arrival on Robben Island, general tours start aboard a bus. Oftentimes, island tour guides are former political prisoners who can share information about South Africa’s history, as well as their own firsthand experiences. Custom and private tours are also available, while others combine a trip to the island with a Cape Town city tour or Table Mountain visit.


Best Things to Do When Visiting Robben Island

Once on the island, you’ll be able to see human rights activist and former prisoner Robert Sobukwe’s house; a 17th-century limestone quarry where Mandela and others were put to work; a leper colony cemetery; and the Robben Island Museum, dedicated to preserving the memory and contributions of the freedom fighters once held within its walls. Some tours also include access to Mandela’s cell.


Insider Tips

  • The 30-minute boat or ferry rides to the island can be choppy at times depending on the weather. If you’re prone to motion sickness, it’s a smart idea to come prepared.

  • If you need a snack, food and drink are available for purchase on the island.

How to Get There

Robben Island is set in Table Bay at the northern end of the Cape Peninsula on the Atlantic Coast about 5.5 miles (9km) off the coast of Cape Town. Ferries for general island tours depart from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront. Departure times are generally at 9am, 11am, and 1pm. Try and arrive at least 45 minutes early to ensure you make the ferry, as crowds can be large.

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

4.5 star rating: Recommended 40 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 $112.67
Half-Day Small-Group Township Tour South Africa from Cape Town, Cape Town, Full-day Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Half-Day Small-Group Township Tour South Africa from Cape Town

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 2 Reviews

Experience this guided half-day cultural tour, starts in District Six with an introduction to the townships and the damage of apartheid policies, visit ...  Read more

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

From USD $46.34
Walk to Freedom Private Tour in Cape Town Including Robben Island, Cape Town, Cultural Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Walk to Freedom Private Tour in Cape Town Including Robben Island

4.5 star rating: Recommended 2 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 $243.88
Full-Day Walk to Freedom Tour in Cape Town Including Robben Island, Cape Town, Private Sightseeing ... 
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

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

4 star rating: Recommended 20 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 $95.59
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 9 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 $237.45
Full Day Robben Island and Table Mountain Tour from Cape Town, Cape Town, Private Sightseeing Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Full Day Robben Island and Table Mountain Tour from Cape Town

After being picked up at your hotel in Cape Town, take an absolutely breathtaking full-day boat trip with a small group from the V&A Waterfront to the ...  Read more

Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 1 day (approx.)

From USD $229.79
Cape Town Townships Tour including Robben Island, Cape Town, Day Trips
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Cape Town Townships Tour including Robben Island

4.5 star rating: Recommended 129 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 $82.95
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

4.5 star rating: Recommended 5 Reviews

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 $207.77
Small-Group Robben Island and Cape Town Full-Day Tour, Cape Town, Half-day Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Small-Group Robben Island and Cape Town Full-Day Tour

Get a glimpse of both Cape Town, and Robben Island on this 9-hour tour with transport in an air-conditioned minivan. You and a group of, at most, 15 people ...  Read more

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

From USD $321.71
Skip the Line: Cape Wheel Admission Ticket, Cape Town, Day Trips
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Skip the Line: Cape Wheel Admission Ticket

Enjoy a spectacular 360-degree panoramic view of the Mother City from the iconic and vibrant V&A Waterfront on the Cape Wheel. With 30 fully enclosed, air ...  Read more

Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 30 to 60 mins

From USD $9.96

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