Shore Excursion Details

Robben Island

Cape Town, South Africa

Robben Island


  • 41/4
    hrs Estimate Duration

Visit the historic & proclaimed Word Heritage Site, Robben Island, where former president Nelson Mandela was once imprisoned.

For over four centuries, Robben Island has been a place of punishment for exiles and prisoners as well as a place of confinement for lepers, lunatics and the sick. Since 1960, it has become synonymous with the political struggle against apartheid in South Africa. Political prisoners of the past have included Nelson Mandela and poet Dennis Brutus. The last political prisoners were released in 1991 and on January 1, 1997, the Robben Island Museum opened its doors to the public, with quite a number of the former political prisoners becoming island guides. In 1999, Robben Island was declared a Word Heritage Site.

Robben Island is an outcrop of rock formed by geological processes extending millions of years ago. Rising and falling sea levels have changed the appearance of the island periodically. Over the past 700 000 years, there have been 12 periods of lower sea levels during which the island has been linked to the mainland. Except for the administrative buildings and prison infrastructure, the island is primarily sand covered with somewhat limited vegetation. It is home to penguins, seals, chameleons, lizards, snakes, seabirds and a variety of buck.

Transfer via coach to the Nelson Mandela Gateway. After browsing through the Museum, board the ferry which will transfer you across Table Bay to Robben Island. Upon arrival, you will board a bus for an orientation drive. Along the way, you will see the old leper colony, a Muslim shrine and a shipwreck before visiting the limestone quarry where political prisoners performed backbreaking labor and where the former President's eyes were damaged permanently. Afterward, a former political prisoner will lead you on a guided walking tour through the maximum-security block. A visit to Nelson Mandela's former cell is also included.

After your visit to the island, you will embark the ferry for the return ride to the mainland and return to the pier by coach.

Need to Know:

Note: This tour is not suitable for guests in wheelchairs or with walking difficulties as it involves quite a substantial amount of walking and approximately 15 steps to board the ferry. Light-weight clothing, comfortable walking shoes, sun protection and a windbreaker are recommended. Government provides guides and vehicles on the island and all tours are shared experiences. Ferry ride can vary in duration depending on vessel used and it is weather dependent. Should ferry operations be cancelled due to inclement weather, you will visit the District Six museum and Bo-Kaap, and Company Gardens including walking tour & info on the Slave Lodge Museum.

VERY IMPORTANT: Passport information is required to purchase tickets, please make sure your reservation has this information. Tour ticket must have participants’ full details and correspond to passport information. All participants are required to carry their passport and present it for identification when boarding the vessel to Robben Island. Tickets are not transferable and non-refundable.

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Excursion Type:

Historical Landmarks

Activity Level:

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Tours with this activity level involve a considerable amount of physical activity such as substantial walking over cobblestone streets, uneven or steep terrain, climbing stairs, or extended periods of standing. Not recommended for guests with physical limitations. Comfortable, sturdy shoes are recommended.
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