Robben Island Tours

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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.
Location
Address: Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
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Hours: Daily
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Admission: R200
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16 Tours & Activities to Experience

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Cape Town Townships Tour including Robben Island

Take a fascinating trip through South Africa’s difficult past with a tour of Cape Town and Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison. Visit the District Six Museum to get an in-depth look at the troubling history of apartheid in South Africa, and see how that system still impacts modern life in townships like Langa and Gugulethu. See how residents of these townships work to improve their lives and communities. Take a ferry to UNESCO-listed Robben Island for a tour of the former prison for political prisoners.
  • Duration: 9 hours
From
US$85.18
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  • Duration: 9 hours
From
US$85.18

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

This small-group full-day tour of Cape Town combines history and culture with epic scenery, ensuring that you make the most out of your stay. Travel by minivan from your hotel to catch the cable car up Table Mountain for sweeping views of the city. Head back down for lunch then continue on to Robben Island in the afternoon to see where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for so many years.
  • Duration: 9 hours
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US$300.38
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  • Duration: 9 hours
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US$300.38

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

Immerse yourself in Cape Town's apartheid-era history on this half-day tour that includes visits to District Six, a local preschool, a local shebeen (pub), and meet a traditional healer. Learn about apartheid and its legacy in South Africa through a guide's enlightening commentary. Enjoy the intimate atmosphere that comes with traveling in a small group of 15 people fewer. Upgrade your tour with an additional excursion to Robben Island.
  • Duration: 4 hours
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US$43.27
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  • Duration: 4 hours
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US$43.27

Robben Island Tickets, Penguins & Cape of Good Hope Private Tour

Benefit from personalized attention and the ability to travel at your own pace on this full-day tour that includes the Cape of Good Hope, the Boulders Penguin Colony, and Robben Island. Your guide will tailor their commentary on South Africa's heritage to your interests as you travel, and you'll have plenty of time to ask questions. Tickets to Robben Island will be booked in advance to ensure your preferred day and time.
  • Duration: 10 hours
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US$189.52
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  • Duration: 10 hours
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US$189.52

ASIA TO AFRICA: Explore Cape Town & Garden Route - 6 Days

Tour Highlights : •  Visit Robben Island, Table Mountain, the V&A Waterfront and Cape Point•   Experience a Big Five Safari in an open 4x4 vehicle with experienced rangers•  Tour Oudtshoorn and visit the Cango Caves and an Ostrich Ranch•  Visit Knysna and Mossel Bay along the Garden Route•  Asian Cuisine with spicy oriental dishes   The Tour Begins in Cape Town and ends at George Airport. From George you have an option of reaching your next destination by Air, Luxury air-con Coach or a Private Road Transfer. Accommodation is in 3 or 4 star Guest Houses, Lodges or Apartments and includes daily breakfast.  Dinners and lunches are included as per itinerary.  
  • Duration: 6 days
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US$829.61
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  • Duration: 6 days
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US$829.61

Full-Day Robben Island and Cape Town City Tour

Maximize your time in Cape Town with this 9-hour sightseeing tour. With your local guide, visit all the must-sees – Robben Island, Table Mountain and a tour of the Mother City's streets. Weather permitting, enjoy a scenic ferry boat ride to Robben Island and spectacular aerial views during the cable car ride to the summit of Table Mountain. In the city, drive through the multicultural Bo-Kaap neighborhood and visit the Company Gardens. All entrance fees and round-trip transportation from select Cape Town hotels are included.
  • Duration: 9 hours
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US$105.20
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  • Duration: 9 hours
From
US$105.20

Walk to Freedom Private Tour in Cape Town Including Robben Island

Take a walk through history in South Africa’s political capital on this full-day private tour of Cape Town. Discover the city’s multi-cultural heritage with a visit to Bo-Kaap, learn more about the apartheid regime at the District Six Museum, and take a tour of Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for many years. Hotel pickup and drop-off is included.
  • Duration: 9 hours
From
US$227.71
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  • Duration: 9 hours
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US$227.71

Robben Island and Cape Town City Private Tour

Get the most out of your time in Cape Town with this jam-packed tour that includes all of the city hot spots. Check out iconic Table Mountain, explore the city and tour the famed Robben Island on this all-inclusive tour that showcases Cape Town's history, architecture, culture and traditions.
  • Duration: 9 hours
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US$221.71
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  • Duration: 9 hours
From
US$221.71

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

Discover South Africa’s complicated history on this guided, full-day ‘Walk to Freedom’ tour in Cape Town. A legacy of struggle brought the promise of reconstruction and development to this capital city. Learn about past injustices while visiting various neighborhoods and points of interest throughout the town.
  • Duration: 9 hours
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US$89.25
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  • Duration: 9 hours
From
US$89.25

Half-Day Robben Island Tour from Cape Town

Explore the most famous island prison in the world, Robben Island, on this half-day tour from Cape Town. Go deep into the history of Nelson Mandela's history and impact on the world through your guide's commentary as you have a look around the historic site. Round-trip ferry ticket from the Victoria and Albert Waterfront and admission to Robben Island are included to make for a seamless experience.
  • Duration: 4 hours
From
US$193.99
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  • Duration: 4 hours
From
US$193.99

Full Day Robben Island and Table Mountain Tour from Cape Town

Combine a boat trip to Robben Island, an cable car ascent of Table Mountain, and a tour of Bo-Kaap on this full-day tour in Cape Town. Visit two of the city's UNESCO World Heritage sites to learn about the country's and city's culture and history. Guided tour of Nelson Mandela's site of incarceration in Robben Island, cable car fare up Table Mountain, and lunch on the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront included.
  • Duration: 1 day
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US$214.55
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  • Duration: 1 day
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US$214.55

Cape Town Helicopter Tour: Atlantic Coast

Climb aboard a private helicopter for an unforgettable flight over Cape Town! During this 18-minute helicopter tour, see the majestic Table Mountain from all sides and the natural amphitheater of Cape Town’s City Bowl. Soar over the beautiful Atlantic coastline. Enjoy a bird’s eye view of area attractions like the Twelve Apostles, Lion’s Head, and maybe even Robben Island. It’s a thrilling tour of Cape Town.
  • Duration: 20 minutes
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US$143.04
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  • Duration: 20 minutes
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US$143.04

Atlantic Beach Bike Tour from Cape Town

Travel along Cape Town's only dedicated bicycle path and learn more about the city's efforts to become more bike-friendly. Cycle past wetlands and gorgeous beaches, enjoying spectacular views of Table Mountain, Cape Town, and Table Bay. Dip your toes in the ocean and observe the variety of birds in their natural habitat. Stop for lunch at a popular eatery before cycling back to town.
  • Duration: 5 hours
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US$115.00
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  • Duration: 5 hours
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US$115.00

15-Day Highlights of the Cape Journey from Cape Town

A 15 day programme which merges the almost undiscovered treasure trove of unspoiled beaches, incredible mountain ranges, rich geographical diversity, and the most astounding carpet of wild flowers in Spring which is the Cape West Coast with that of the picturesque Cape Winelands and the magnificent Garden Route.
  • Duration: 15 days
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US$4,410.25
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  • Duration: 15 days
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US$4,410.25

Cape Town City Private Art Tour

Soak up the thriving creative and cultural scene of Cape Town during this full-day, art-themed, private tour. Experience some of the Cape’s top landmarks like Table Mountain, Company Gardens and the Bo-Kaap neighborhood, while also enjoying visits to an eclectic range of the city’s top non-profit and community-focused art galleries. Most entrance fees and transport by air-conditioned minivan are both included.
  • Duration: 9 hours
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US$179.87
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  • Duration: 9 hours
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US$179.87

Cape Town & Garden Route - 7 Day Halal Safari

Tour Highlights : •   Visit Robben Island, Table Mountain, the V&A Waterfront, Hout Bay and Simonstown•   Experience a Big Five Safari in an open 4X4 vehicle with experienced rangers•   Tour Oudtshoorn and visit the Cango Caves and an Ostrich Ranch•   Visit Knysna Wilderness and Mossel Bay along the Garden Route•   Visit Masjids and Kramats in Bo-Kaap and the Cape Peninsula    The Tour Begins in Cape Town and ends at George Airport. From George you have an option of reaching your next destination by Air, Luxury air-con Coach or a Private Road Transfer. Accommodation is in three or four star Guest Houses, Lodges or Apartments and includes daily Breakfasts, Dinners and Lunches as per itinerary. Friday Prayers will take place in a mosque.  
  • Duration: 7 days
From
US$1,024.50
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  • Duration: 7 days
From
US$1,024.50


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