Robben Island Cape Town


Robben Island

See where the most famous political figure was incarcerated

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A visit to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years imprisoned, promises to be a poignant experience and is one of Cape Town's most humbling tours.

The prison was still fully functioning until 1996 and the World Heritage Site is now preserved as a memorial to those, including Mandela, who served time here. Take a short boat ride from the Victoria and Albert Waterfront to visit the prison and meet former political prisoners who share their stories of their time on the island.

The rest of the island can be explored by bus, including the limestone quarry where Mandela and his fellow inmates spent their days working. A visit to Cape Town isn't complete without paying a visit to Robben Island and remembering those who resided here all those years ago during times of racial inequality.


Essential Information

  • Open:  Daily
  • Ages:  All ages
  • Useful Information: 

    Currently the ferries operate at 09:00, 11:00 and 13:00. A 15:00 ferry some times runs in peak season Passengers should arrive no later than 30 minutes prior to the scheduled times of departure, boarding gates close 10 minutes before departure time.

Top Tips from our Experts


Destination Manager

Regardless of your political stance this is a haunting reminder of South Africa's past but also a celebration of how far the country has come in such a short period of time. A visit here (best to get the first boat departure of the day) is incredibly thought provoking.